Planning the Mass:
Click here to print The Sacred Heart Planning Booklet, a booklet for specific planning of the funeral. Please read the following section below before beginning your plans.
Some Pastoral Considerations:
The Catholic Church celebrates the Rites of Christian Burial chiefly for two reasons (as given in The Order of Christian Funerals, article four):
“The Church intercedes on behalf of the deceased” and
“The Church ministers to the sorrowing and consoles them with the Word of God and the Sacrament of the Eucharist.”
Responding to this directive of the universal Church, Sacred Heart Parish takes seriously its responsibility to minister to those who have died and to their families and loved ones. We do so in several ways, most notably, in the way we celebrate the liturgical rites provided for the deceased. Sacred Heart Parish celebrates the Rites of Christian Burial for all those who seek them. While it is expected that the Rite of Christian Burial be celebrated for baptized Catholics, the Catholic Church also permits the rites to be celebrated for unbaptized children (of Catholic families) as well as baptized members of non-Catholic communities of faith. While the Catholic Church continues to encourage the ancient custom of burying the dead, cremation is permitted. Please note that it is the Church’s expectation that out of respect for the remains of the deceased, the ashes of cremated persons should be buried or entombed.
The Rite of Christian Burial provides for a variety of prayerful celebrations. While the traditional practice is the celebration of a funeral Mass, circumstances may dictate a preference for a service of Scripture and prayer in the funeral home (and/or at the cemetery). This might be appropriate where the family or loved ones are not of the Catholic faith, or where the deceased has never been an active Catholic. If there are questions regarding this matter, the pastoral staff would be happy to discuss them with the family.
Some Parish Guidelines:
We welcome the presence of other deacons and as priests as concelebrants at funeral Masses. If the family requests another priest to conduct the entire funeral, the family should contact the priest, verify his availability, and ask him to contact Fr. Trask to confirm his willingness to celebrate the Rite of Christian Burial at Sacred Heart Parish. Unless we hear from the priest/deacon we will not assume his presence. (Additionally, if the desired priest/deacon is not a cleric of the Diocese of Cleveland, it will be necessary for him to obtain a Letter of Suitability from his Diocese in order to obtain faculties [eg. permission] to celebrate, or assist at, Mass in the Diocese of Cleveland.)
Normally the clergy of Sacred Heart do not conduct any type of concluding service in the funeral home immediately before the body is brought to the church for the funeral. If a flag covers the casket when it is brought to the church, it will be removed so that the funeral pall (large white cloth) may be placed upon the casket. If the family wishes, funeral flowers may be brought to the church for the funeral and left there following the funeral as a memorial to the deceased (usually this is limited to two baskets or arrangements). During Lent and Advent when the churches are not decorated with flowers; they will be removed following the funeral. For nearby burials, a member of the Parish Staff will accompany the remains and the family to the cemetery, where the Rite of Christian Burial will conclude with the prayers of Committal and Final Commendation. Should one wish to speak in memory of the deceased, as in a eulogy, the Funeral Rite allows for such to take place at the cemetery just prior to the Prayer of Commendation that will be prayed at the cemetery.
Parish Funeral Procedures:
Phone calls regarding funerals are accepted at any time. Contact with Sacred Heart Parish should be made by phoning Fr. Trask (440.987.9873) or the parish office (440.707.6707).
Families may participate in Funeral Masses at Sacred Heart Parish in the following ways (all of which are optional):
• Selecting the scriptural readings, petitions, and hymnody used at the Funeral Mass
• Placing the pall (white cloth) over the casket at the beginning of the liturgy
• Reading the scripture readings, as well as the petitions
• Being part of the offertory procession with the gifts (two gifts – though more than 2 people may participate in the procession)
Fr. Trask prefers to meet with family members to share stories about the deceased; he finds this quite helpful as he seeks to prepare his funeral homily. Although the homily is not an eulogy, nor does the church intend it to be such, this story telling offers Fr. Trask some insights into how the deceased responded and lived according to the call of God. Any family members wishing to participate in this story-telling are welcome to meet with Fr. Trask at the rectory. In addition to sharing stories about the deceased, Fr. Trask will also take the opportunity to talk about the selection of scriptures and hymns (the points which follow) and may offer some suggestions on appropriate passages – given the stories that have been shared.
Your selections of readings, petitions, and hymnody should be returned to Fr. Trask at your earliest convenience – via fax (440.987.9669), dropping them by the parish office, or sending them to him via email to:
Those selected to read the Sacred Scripture at a funeral should be appropriately dressed and able to read in a manner which can be understood by all in the congregation. Aware that many family members are grieving and would find it difficult to proclaim the scriptures with dignity, several members of the Sacred Heart Parish Community have made it their ministry to be available to proclaim the scriptures at funerals. Should you wish one of these parishioners to proclaim the scriptures at the funeral of a loved one, please indicate such to Fr. Trask.
Please note that, because the Psalm Response is ordinarily a sung response, the organist/cantor will usually sing it following the first scriptural reading.
Hymnody for Funerals
Sacred Heart Parish will provide an organist and cantor for the funeral liturgy at the church. Family members are welcome to request specific Sacred Hymns or Music. Because liturgy is the live praise of God, recordings are never appropriate with Mass/prayer at the Church. Additionally, secular music is not appropriate or permitted with Mass or prayer at the Church. Recordings, however, may be played at the funeral home or at the cemetery; when played at the cemetery, they may be played as people gather at the graveside or just prior to the Prayer of Commendation.
Guidelines for the Reception of Communion in Roman Catholic Churches (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops – usccb.org)
As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive holy communion. We are encouraged to receive communion devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason when there is no opportunity for confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition including the intention of confession as soon as possible.
For Fellow Christians:
We welcome our fellow Christians to the celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us close to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions that separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear in keeping with Christ’s prayer for us “that they may all be one” (John 17:21). Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to holy communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires the permission of the diocesan bishop.
For Members of the Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church: They are urged to respect the discipline of their own churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, canon law does not object to their reception of communion.
For Those Not Receiving Holy Communion:
All who are not receiving Holy Communion are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayer for unity with the Lord Jesus and with one another.
We also welcome to the celebration of the Eucharist those who do not share our faith in Jesus Christ. While we cannot admit them to Holy Communion, we ask them to offer their prayers for the peace and unity of the human family.
The Sacred Heart Funeral Planning Booklet is a downloadable document. Press here to review the PDF and print or download the document.