2039 Mt. Diablo Blvd.,
94596 Walnut Creek, CA
In our Catholic tradition, death is a part of life. The Catholic funeral services (Vigil, Funeral Mass, and Committal) are a celebration of life as well as a celebration of the entrance into everlasting life. As you plan the services for the person you love, we offer you our support, our prayers, and our assistance.
At the death of a Christian, whose life of faith was begun in the waters of baptism and strengthened at the eucharistic table, the church intercedes on behalf of the deceased because of its confident belief that death is not the end, nor does it break the bonds forged in life. The church also ministers to the sorrowing and consoles them in the funeral rites with the comforting word of God and the Sacrament of the eucharist (Order of Christian Funerals, #4).
|Funeral Vigil –||Sometimes called the Wake, the vigil for the deceased is the official prayer of the church for the deceased, and the first of the three major rites celebrated by the Christian community. The vigil is celebrated between the time of death and the funeral liturgy, often on the day before or the evening before the funeral Mass. The vigil may take place in the home of the deceased, at the funeral home, or in the church. A priest, deacon, or layperson may preside at this liturgy.|
|The vigil takes the form of the liturgy of the word. It centers on readings from sacred Scripture, songs, psalms, and intercessory prayer. A brief homily or reflection by the presider is also included. The vigil service is the preferred time for family and friends to offer stories, reflections, and eulogies on the life of the deceased. In this vigil, we remember the life of the deceased, celebrating the person and the effect they have had on all of us.|
|Funeral Mass –||The funeral Mass is the central liturgical celebration for the deceased. The Christian community reaffirms in sign and symbol, word and gesture, that through baptism we share in Christ’s death and resurrection, and look forward to the day when we will be raised up and united in the kingdom of light and peace. The funeral Mass is normally celebrated the evening before, or on the day of the burial or committal. Catholics will recognize in the funeral Mass all of the same elements that they celebrate throughout there life in every Mass.|
|The final commendation immediately follows the prayer after Communion. At this time the deceased is entrusted to God’s tender care. While an extended time of remembrance is most appropriate for the vigil, if desired, one family member or friend may offer a brief prepared eulogy before the final commendation begins. The song of farewell is the climax of the rite of final commendation. This song, sung by the assembly, has a specific function: to affirm the hope and trust in the paschal mystery. The body may be incensed during or following the song of farewell. The prayer of commendation concludes the rite.|
|The procession is then formed and the body is carried to the place of burial or committal.|
|Rite of Committal –||Funeral rites conclude with the rite of committal.|
|The burial or committal takes place as soon as possible after the funeral Mass. The rite of committal takes place beside the open grave or place of interment. If this is not possible, it may take place at a cemetery chapel. A priest, deacon or lay person may preside at this service.|
|Though brief, the rite of committal assists the bereaved at this most difficult time. This rite includes a short Scriptural verse, the prayer of committal, intercessions, Lord’s Prayer and a blessing. The lowering of the body into the grave or placement into the tomb or crematorium may take place following the prayer of committal or at the conclusion of this rite. Those who wish may offer some gesture of leave-taking at this time.|