Mass of Christian Burial


“May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.”

The funeral liturgy may be celebrated on any day of the week except Sundays, Holy Days of Obligation, and certain days during Holy Week. The priests are available to meet with the family of the deceased to choose the readings for the funeral liturgy or the family may leave it to the priest to choose the readings.

The Church of St. Augustine has organists, musicians, and soloists available for the funeral liturgy. Guests organists, musicians, and soloists are not allowed to replace our own musicians. The family is welcome to request specific sacred hymns or music for the funeral liturgy. As the music enhances the worship and liturgy, only sacred hymns may be played or sung in the funeral liturgy. Secular music may not be played at a funeral liturgy. If the family chooses not to request any specific hymns for the funeral liturgy, our organist will choose appropriate hymns based on the liturgy, the liturgical season, and the readings.

The funeral liturgy focuses on Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection and the hope that we have to share in the rewards of Christ’s saving action. As such, eulogies or reflections on the life of the deceased are more appropriately shared with the family and friends at the vigil or committal and are not allowed within the funeral liturgy at the Church of St. Augustine. For clarification, please read an article by Bishop Tobin linked here.

“The rite of committal is an expression of the communion that exists between the Church on earth and the Church in heaven: the deceased passes with the farewell prayers of the community of believers into the welcoming company of those who need faith no longer but see God face to face.”

The rite of committal will be led by the priest at the cemetery where the remains are being interred. If someone wishes to speak in memory of the deceased, it may be done at the conclusion of the rite of committal at the cemetery.

The Church permits cremation as long as the Church’s teaching on the resurrection of the body is upheld. The Church prefers that the body of the deceased be brought into the church for the funeral liturgy and that cremation take place following the final commendation of the funeral liturgy. When it is not possible, for serious reasons, to bring the body of the deceased into the church before cremation, it may be possible to celebrate the funeral liturgy in the presence of the cremated remains.

“The body of the deceased Catholic Christian is also the body once washed in baptism, anointed with the oil of salvation, and fed with the Bread of Life. Thus, the Church’s reverence for the sacredness of the human body grows out of a reverence and concern both natural and supernatural for the human person…A further expression is the care traditionally taken to prepare the bodies of the deceased for a burial that befits their dignity, in expectation of their final resurrection in the Lord.” Given the innate dignity of the human body the cremated remains are to be buried in a cemetery or interred in a niche. The cremated remains may not scattered or be kept at the home of the family. The place of final interment must be known at the time that the funeral liturgy is scheduled. When the body is brought into the church for the funeral liturgy, the priest will arrange to meet the family at the cemetery at a later date to preside over the rite of committal as the cremated remains are interred.