My Loved One Has Died
First, you have our deepest sympathy, and, second, we are here to help.
As Christians we believe that life in the risen Christ undoes even the sting of death. Yet we still mourn, and our mourning calls out for ritual, a liturgy where the paschal death and resurrection of Jesus give death Christian meaning.
The stress brought about by the death of someone very close to us is often amplified by the need for immediate decision making. The presence of family members and close friends is a blessing in these difficult times. And your church community is ready to help you during this time. Please contact the church office at 512-451-5121 to discuss Funeral arrangements. If you call after hours, you will be directed to call an after hours number.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should we do after our loved one has died?
If the deceased is in a nursing home or hospital, the personnel there will assist you in contacting a funeral home for collecting the body of your family member. You will want call the church office to schedule a meeting with the clergy to plan the funeral. To effectively coordinate times, this is best done while working directly with the funeral home representative or director. If the funeral and/or burial are to take place in another city, this coordination will be handled by the funeral home staff who will be in contact with the corresponding directors at a funeral home in the city where the services are to be conducted. This is necessary when a grave must be prepared.
Should we have my deceased loved one anointed after death?
While there would be no anointing after death as the sacraments may only be conferred on the living and Canon Law is specific in this regard, nevertheless, prayers may be offered and psalms recited. In the place of anointing, priests can offer prayers of absolution and words of comfort to the family.
My spouse was not a Catholic. May we have a funeral in the Catholic Church?
Yes. If your spouse was baptized in another ecclesial community and it was NOT his or her express wish NOT to be buried from the Catholic Church, we are happy to work with you in planning a Mass of Christian burial. If it is desired that a clergyperson from a spouse’s tradition participate please contact the clergy so that this can be facilitated.
Is cremation acceptable in the Catholic Church?
Yes. It is the Church’s practice to celebrate the Requiem Mass prior to cremation. The burial or placing of the ashes in a columbarium can occur at a later date. If it was the wish of the deceased to donate their organs, the Mass is celebrated with the body, and the cremation follows. In circumstances where cremation is required prior to the funeral, a Memorial Mass can be celebrated at a later date with the ashes present.
Can the funeral Mass be celebrated in the funeral home?
The Mass is celebrated in a sacred space. Funeral home chapels are not sacred spaces and are not designed and equipped for the proper and appropriate celebration of the Holy Mass.
Can we have a memorial service in the funeral home?
The Church allows memorial services in the funeral home. This is not to be preferred to the Mass of Christian burial. In those cases where the deceased was not a practicing Catholic and the majority of the family members are also non-practicing, a simple service may be conducted by the clergy in the funeral home.
Should we have a rosary the night before?
While this is not a requirement, it is customary. It is a long standing tradition to “wake” the deceased. In our culture this is marked by the recitation of a rosary, prayers and the presentation of eulogies. Family members and friends gather to share condolences and offer support. This normally takes place in the funeral home. A Christian Wake service is also possible in which scriptures are read and prayers are offered in conjunction with the rosary.
Can we have a eulogy at the Mass of Christian Burial?
According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal #382 it states:
At Funeral Masses there should usually be a short Homily, but to the exclusion of a funeral eulogy of any kind.”
In light of this instruction, it is appropriate that such eulogies be offered at either the wake service the night before or at a reception following the burial.
How do we plan the funeral Mass?
The clergy will meet with family members to help in this process. We encourage family members and friends to review Scripture readings at that time and share information about the deceased. The church will provide the lectors and musicians. Family members are welcome to present the gifts at the offertory.
How is a funeral Mass different?
The funeral Mass starts with the family gathered around the casket at the entrance of the church near the baptistery. There we bless the casket with holy water calling to mind the fact that the deceased died with Christ in baptism and is now on the journey back to God. The casket is then covered with a pall which is a large cloth that is a reminder of how we received a white garment at baptism symbolizing our baptismal purity and the fact that we are claimed for Christ. Family members are invited to take part in placing the pall. The liturgy is identical to a typical weekend Mass except that at the end a rite of commendation precedes taking the casket from the church to the place of interment. If the Mass is celebrated with cremated remains, the ceremony at the entrance in omitted and the commendation is shortened. This follows the format of a memorial Mass and can be celebrated at any time.
Can we pre-arrange our funeral Mass?
Yes, the clergy and staff are very willing to assist you in making such pre-arrangements. This insures that your desires are made known and there is less stress on family members at the time of death. These arrangements are documented and kept on file at the church office until needed.
How much does the funeral Mass cost?
There is no required cost for the funeral Mass. There is a normal fee associated with liturgical music, an integral part of the mass. The parish music staff will guide the selecting of music, and you have assurance that the music will be of excellent quality and follow the liturgical guidelines of the Church. It is also customary to offer the clergy a stipend. The parish offers a reception and meal following the funeral rites. Donations to defray the cost of the reception are welcome.
Can we have a reception after the funeral?
Yes, the faith community welcomes the opportunity to celebrate the life of the deceased in offering a reception in their honor and for the benefit of family and friends. Please let the church office know that this is what is wanted and they in turn will contact the volunteers who provide for funeral receptions and dinners. They will try to accommodate your wishes to the best of their ability. The Church bears the expense of this reception through the generosity of the volunteers and donors.
Can we make memorial donations?
Yes, of course. It is a long standing custom to offer a memorial for the deceased. These can take a variety of forms and many church communities have several kinds of funds that benefit from memorials. Tangible memorials such as a sets of vestments, liturgical items, or such items typically carry the name of the deceased along with the name of those making the memorial in their name. The clergy can help you in discerning a fitting memorial to the deceased.