Mass of Christian Burial

If you are visiting this page due to the loss of a loved one, please accept our sincere condolences. The following information is provided to assist in the preparation of the Mass of Christian Burial at St. William and St. Lawrence Churches. 

The Church encourages you to be as fully involved as you can in planning your loved one’s funeral liturgy. It is the final journey of your loved one. In the liturgy, we celebrate the faith life of your loved one; we commend him or her to the Lord, we support and pray for all those who mourn, and we seek strength in the promise of the Lord that he will not forget his own. Provide your priest with some biographical information about your deceased loved one that will help him in preparing the funeral homily.

The Rites of the Church

All the baptized are entitled to the full Rite of Christian Burial.  The family of the deceased will experience the Rite of Christian Burial in three distinct and important parts:

The Wake Service

This will take place during the visiting hours at the funeral home.   At this time someone from the family, or a friend, may wish to remember the deceased by sharing personal memories, as in Remarks of Remembrance (see below).

The Funeral Liturgy

This is the most important part of the celebration of Christian Burial.  This is almost always celebrated within a Mass.  The bodily remains are honored by being brought to the Church.  We offer the Sacrifice of the Mass for the soul of the deceased in the whole context of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

The Committal

Pastor 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 Remarks of Remembrance, the Funeral Rite allows for such to usually take place as part of the Prayer of Commendation that will be prayed at the cemetery.

The Time and Place of the Funeral Liturgy

A funeral may be celebrated on any day of the week except Sundays and Holy Days.  There are also some restrictions concerning funerals during Holy Week.  The priest will discuss these restrictions as they apply.

The funeral liturgy is ordinarily celebrated in the parish church.

Planning the Funeral Liturgy

The funeral liturgy is one of the most beautiful and meaningful celebrations of the Church.  Your family has the option of assisting at the preparation of the Mass by choosing the Scripture readings and by requesting specific hymns.


When choosing scriptures, there should be one reading from the Old Testament, and one reading from the New Testament. 


Please know that only sacred music is appropriate for a Mass of Christian Burial and only sacred music can be used at Saint William and Saint Lawrence Churches. Pop music, Broadway show tunes, rock songs or folk songs are not appropriate for the Mass of Christian Burial.  

Remarks of Remembrance

The parish policy is as follows: Eulogies are not allowed, but brief Remarks of Remembrance about the deceased are allowed only if certain rules are followed. Eulogies are not permitted at a Catholic Funeral Mass. Instead it has become customary for many families to offer brief Remarks of Remembrance at the Mass of Christian Burial.

If Remarks of Remembrance are to be delivered at the Mass of Christian Burial in Saint William and Saint Lawrence Church, family members and friends are reminded of the following guidelines:

  • Only one person may deliver the Remarks of Remembrance
  • These remarks are to be delivered after the prayer after the Rite of Communion from the lectern and the person is to wait until invited forward by the celebrant of the Mass.
  • These remarks must not exceed five minutes, they must be brief.
  • These remarks must be prepared in advance.
  • In preparing the Remarks of Remembrance please be mindful of the following:  they must reflect the Catholic faith of the faithful departed and his/her relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church; they must not focus upon the hobbies, cooking, pastimes, sports teams, pets, alcohol consumption, etc. of the deceased. If humor is to be used it must be used with discretion. The remarks should not be simply a re-reading of the deceased’s obituary. There must be no use of bawdy humor, offensive words, or foul language at anytime since these remarks are being offered at Holy Mass before Jesus Christ truly present in the Blessed Sacrament and should reflect proper reverence and decorum.  Remember these remarks should not be trivial, light-hearted or exceedingly humorous but rather reflect the nature of the event, namely Christian faith, hope and joy.