At Sacred Hearts – St. Stephen Parish

A Catholic funeral, like all funerals, is a time of sadness and mourning. However, in the Catholic faith there is joy in the belief that a funeral represents the passing of the beloved into eternal life. It is our goal to make this process as easy as possible. A funeral should reflect the life of the one that has passed before us and should uplift those who are left behind

Death and passing on to eternal life are mysteries at the center of the Church’s belief. Although American culture generally recoils from death and tries to deny it, “In the face of death, the Church confidently proclaims that God has created each person for eternal life and that Jesus, the Son of God, by his death and resurrection, has broken the chains of sin and death that bound humanity.” (Order of Christian Funerals, #1)

While the family is encouraged to participate in the planning of a Funeral Mass, please note that only a Licensed Funeral Director may call and Book a Funeral Mass with the Parish directly. 


CREMATION While the Church recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the dead be observed, cremation is permitted as long as it has not been chosen for reasons contrary to Catholic teaching (Canon 1176.3, Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2301).

  1. It is preferred that the Funeral Mass or the Funeral Liturgy outside Mass be celebrated in the presence of the body of the deceased prior to its cremation. (OCF Appendix Cremation, #411-438.
  2. If cremation has already taken place before the Funeral Liturgy, the Funeral Liturgy is celebrated in the presence of the cremated remains of the deceased person. The cremated remains of the body are to be placed in a worthy vessel. The funeral urn or ossuary may be carried to its place in the entrance procession or placed on this table sometime before the liturgy begins.
  3. Cremated remains should be treated with the same respect given to the remains of a human body, and should be entombed or buried, whether in the ground or at sea. The scattering of cremated remains on the ground or on the sea or keeping any portion of them for personal reasons is not the reverent final disposition that the Church directs. It should be noted that burial at sea of cremated remains differs from scattering. An appropriate and worthy container, heavy enough to be sent to its final resting place, may be dropped into the sea.

Click to download the funeral mass form. Funeral Mass form


Planning and Participating in the Funeral Mass

The preparation of the liturgy can provide consolation for the mourners. However the preparation of the liturgy should never become a burden for the family. The Order of Christian Funerals recommends that family members be involved in some of the liturgical roles, unless they prefer not to be involved and designate others such as the priest or regular ministers of the church.

Family members are encouraged to:

Process as honorary pallbearers to the Altar

Act as Readers (2 readers)

Select the readings from the list provided (2 readings)




Bring forward the gifts in the Offertory procession (indicate ho w many people will bring up the gifts)

Select the music from the list provided (4 hymns in total)

Eulogies – One speaker chosen by the family may offer a five-minute remembrance of the deceased at the Funeral Liturgy before the final commendation, especially if there was no vigil or wake service. The remarks are to be simple, brief, and must be written down. Care must be taken to follow this. Ideally, the text should be shared with the priest beforehand. Within the context of a liturgy, the tone should remain one of faith and hope. The Vigil for the Deceased is a more fitting time for multiple individuals to share remembrances of the deceased.


Music selected for the Order of Christian Funerals should be appropriate for Christian prayer and conform to liturgical directives. The texts of the music should express the paschal mystery of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection. This is especially important for the Song of Farewell. Popular non-religious songs are not to be used in the liturgy.

The offering for the funeral Mass does include the organist who also serves as the singer. However, if you would like to customize the musical accompaniment with the addition of a trumpet, violin, other singers or other instruments, you may contact the parish and the Music Director, Mr. James Lake, will arrange for these at an additional charge per musician.

You may select four of the following:

OPENING HYMNS (Select One) Alleluia Sing to Jesus, Amazing Grace, Be Not Afraid, Blest Are They, For All the Saints, I Heard the Voice of Jesus, I Am the Bread of Life, Holy Holy Holy, Holy God We Praise Thy Name, Here I Am Lord

OFFERTORY AND COMMUNION HYMNS (Select Two) Ave Maria, Be Still My Soul,  Come to Me, Eye Has Not Seen,  Hail Mary Gentle Woman, Hosea, How Lovely Is Your Dwelling… I Am the Bread of Life,  As Grains of Wheat, Eat This Bread, One Bread One Body,  Only This I Want, Prayer of St Francis, Precious Lord Take My Hand, Shepherd Me O God, The Lord is my Light, Where My Father Lives, You Are Mine, Panis Angelicus, Shelter Me O God, Taste and See, The Supper of the Lord, Unless A Grain of Wheat

CLOSING HYMNS (Select One) On Eagles Wings, I Know That My Redeemer Lives, Jerusalem My Happy Home, How Great Thou Art, Lead Me Lord, Let There Be Peace on Earth, Sing With All The Saints (tune of Ode to Joy), The King of Love My Shepherd Is, Resta Con Noi, Go In Peace