Rite of Christian Burial


The church offers us three services at the time of a death in the family, each service builds on the other.

1. VIGIL SERVICE — At the Vigil Service, usually conducted either in the funeral home or in the parish church on the eve of the Funeral Mass, the faithful keep watch with the family in prayer to the God of mercy and find strength in Christ’s presence.  The Vigil is a Scripture or Evening Prayer Service.  This service is often the first gathering of the faithful friends with the family and those we cannot attend the Funeral Mass because of work or some other reason.

2. FUNERAL MASS—The tradition of the Church has always been the celebration of the Mass with the body present.  This is the norm and it is encouraged that all have the Funeral Mass with the body present.  Christians respect and honor the body of the dead, which in Baptism became the Temple of the Holy Spirit.  The Funeral Mass includes the reception of the body, the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the Final Commendation & Farewell.  Recently the directives of the church have stated that we are to give the same respect to the remains in an urn as we do to the body in a casket.  This means we welcome those families who wish the body of their loved one cremated.

3. RITE OF COMMITTAL—For the final disposition of the body, it is the ancient Christian custom to bury or entomb the bodies of the dead in a cemetery, which means “resting place”.  The Rite of Committal is the conclusion of the funeral rites and may be celebrated beside the open grave or place of internment.  The faithful express the hope that, with all those who have gone before marked with the sign of faith, the deceased awaits the glory of the resurrection and passes into the welcoming company of those who see God face to face.


Tells Us About your Loved One Revised 01-13

The Funeral Mass may not be celebrated in funeral homes or cemetery chapels. Funerals may be celebrated any day except solemnities of obligation, on Holy Thursday and during the Paschal Triduum and the Sundays of Advent, Lent and the Easter Season. In the Diocese of Orlando, it is the pastoral practice to refrain from celebrating funerals on all Sundays.

The parish, in consultation with the Funeral Director and the family, determines the appropriate time for the funeral rites.  Members or friends of the family are encouraged to be actively involved in the planning and celebration of the funeral rites.  Planning of the funeral liturgy takes place during a visit with one of Our Lady of Lourdes’ Bereavement Ministers at an appropriate time after death and before the vigil service.  However, if pastoral and personal considerations allow, the period before death may be an appropriate time to plan the funeral rites with the family and even with the family member who is dying.

The family is asked to pick out two readings (one Old Testament Reading and one New Testament Reading).  Suggested readings are listed below.  We encourage you to choose family members or friends to proclaim these readings as well as the Prayers of the Faithful.

Words of Remembrance give your family an opportunity to share the special qualities and memories of your loved one.  Eulogies and Words of Remembrance are not part of the Funeral Mass Liturgy.  Therefore, we do not allow this to take place during the Liturgy.  We suggest this be done either at the Vigil Service, Cemetery or following the Liturgy at a Reception.

Flowers as symbols of resurrection and hope are to be used in moderation.  However, they should never be placed on or around the casket during the Funeral Mass.  Likewise, the flag should never cover the casket in church.

Personal memorabilia is never placed on the altar nor carried with the gifts of bread and wine when mass is celebrated.  A picture of the deceased may be placed in the sanctuary.

Texts of Sacred Scripture for Vigil and Funeral Mass

In every celebration for the dead, the Church attaches great importance to the reading of the Word of God. The readings proclaim the paschal mystery, i.e. the dying and rising of Jesus. They teach remembrance of the dead, convey the hope of being gathered together again in God’s Kingdom and encourage the witness of Christian life. Above all, the readings tell of God’s design for a world in which suffering and death relinquish their hold on all whom God called His own.

The Family can choose from the following readings:

links will take you to the readings on the USCCB website,

Note: The readings do not always encompass the whole chapter.

First Reading—Old Testament Readings : Choose One

A Reading from the Book of Wisdom (3:1-6, 9)

A Reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (25:6, 7-9)

A Reading from the Prophet Isaiah (43:1-7)

A Reading from Ecclesiastes (3:1-12)

A Reading from the Book of Lamentations (3:17-18, 22-26)

A Reading from the Second Book of Maccabees (12:43-46)

A Reading from the Book of Proverbs (31:10-31)

Second Reading—New Testament Readings : Choose one: 

A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (6:3-4, 8-9)

A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (8:31-35; 37-39)

A Reading from the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians (15:51-57)

A Reading from the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians (13:4-13)

A Reading from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians (4:13-18) 

A Reading from St. Paul’s 2nd Letter to Timothy (4:6-9)

A Reading from the Book of Revelations (21:1-7, 14:13)

A Reading from the Letter to John (4:16-21)

A Reading from the Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians (2 Cor 5:1,6-10) 

A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians (3:20-21) 

Scripture Readings for Young Persons : 

A Reading from the Book of Wisdom (4:7-15)A Reading from the first letter of St. John (3:1-2)

A Reading from the First Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians (1Thess.4:13-18)

Sacred music for the Mass of Christian Burial should contain text which speaks of resurrection, hope and trust in a loving God.

Listed below are some suggestions for Music to be used for the Funeral Liturgy.

Opening Hymn
All Creatues of Our God and King (LASST UNS ERFREUEN)
Alleluia Sing To Jesus (HYFRDOL)
Be Not Afraid
Holy God, We Praise Thy Name
I Know That My Redeemer Lives (Scott Soper)
O God, Our Help in Ages Past (ST. ANNE)
We Shall Rise Again
We Walk By Faith

Psalm 19: Lord, You Have the Words
Psalm 19: Your Words, Lord, Are Spirit and Life
Psalm 23: The Lord is my Shepherd
Psalm 25: To You, O Lord
Psalm 27: The Lord Is My Light

Preparation of the Gifts
Be Not Afraid
Here I Am, Lord
How Great Thou Art
Hosea (Come back to me with all your heart)
Prayer of St. Francis (Make me a channel of your peace)
The Lord is My Light
You Are Mine
Your Words Are Spirit and Life

Blest Are They
Bread of Life
Eat This Bread
Gift of Finest Wheat
I Am the Bread of Life
One Bread, One Body
Taste & See
Unless A Grain of Wheat

Rite of Commendation
Song of Farewell (Old Hundredth)
Song of Farewell (Sands)O Loving God (O Danny Boy)
May the Angels Be Your Guide

Recessional Hymn
All Creatues of Our God and King (LASST UNS ERFREUEN)
Alleluia No. 1
Alleluia! Alleluia! (ODE TO JOY)
Alleluia, Sing To Jesus (HYFRDOL)
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say (KINGSFOLD)
Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee (ODE TO JOY)
On Eagle’s Wings
O God, Our Help in Ages Past (St. ANNE)
Open My Eyes
We Shall Rise Again