What can I expect at a Catholic funeral?(11 Posts)
My friend's father died unexpectedly at the weekend and the funeral's on Monday. I'm going along to support him,but I've never been to a roman catholic funeral (and very few church services of any description). What should I expect - is there anything I should do or not do? I am going to wear black.
Sorry to hear that. I've been to far too many RC funerals.
Black clothes are certainly not required but wouldn't be ridiculously out of place.
If it's going to a full Requim mass it will probably have a theme, or message.
The priest will be aware that there will be many non RCs in the congregation and should guide you in when to sit/stand or kneel.
If kneeling is a problem, feel free to sit, but lean forward slightly.
Yes i agree with sauvingon - these things tend to vary. My father's funeral was very simple - there was a white cloth "pall" over his coffin which represents the baptism clothes and returning to God. My DD read a poem.
My cousin lost two of her sons (so very sad) and they are devout catholics, the services were more involved and they had a vigil, the night before where family went to pray with the coffin. I couldnt face that, the funerals were a celebration of their lives and involved lots of speeches from friends and somebody sang a favourite song.
What i am saying is, there probably wont be anything much different from a non catholic funeral really.
Sorry to hear about your friend's dad, I'm sure he'll appreciate you being at the funeral, just having friends present to give support makes a huge difference, whether they're RC or not.
As Sauvignon says, it's not usually compulsory to wear black,at my FIL's funeral in Dec my DH wanted to wear bright colours to celebrate his Dad's life but some people wore dark clothes.
Usually the congregation waits outside the Church for the coffin to arrive and the priest starts the service at the entrance of the Church before everyone files in .
If it's a full Requiem Mass the service can be quite long.
Often there will be an order of service to tell you what responses to make.
There could be a lot of singing!
As part of a full Mass there will be a Communion service, the priest may invite nonRC people to come up for a blessing instead of receiving Communion, in which case just go up with your arms crossed over your chest.
I wouldn't worry about getting anything wrong, the important thing is just being there.
Assuming it is a mass, be prepared to shake hands with everyone around you.
You'll know when because someone will offer their hand and say, 'peace be with you'. It's polite to reciprocate but if you are not comfortable just say so.
Again if it is the full mass there will be sitting, standing and kneeling. Either do what everyone else does or just remain seated.
Sorry to hear about your friend's loss - but how lucky he is to have a friend like you. My dad's funeral was last month and I was SOO grateful that my friends came and supported me - even friends who'd never met my dad! My dad's funeral was Roman Catholic.
I wouldn't wear black - (our family didn't), dark clothes perhaps. You'll be given an order of service and this may / may not include the details of the mass - with all the responses etc. If there isn't a mass sheet (with all the responses etc) then see if there's one lying around. I'm mentioning this because when we wrote the order of service we didn't include all the prayers and responses and that was a mistake as all the non-catholics / in frequent church attenders (me) got a bit lost. If poss sit next to someone who knows what they're doing! Don't worry you won't be expected to go up to communion and no one will mind.
Hope this helps sorry for rambling on a bit. Once again I think you're a great friend. Once the funeral is over that's when the grief kicks in and when your friend will really need you.
Thanks all for your help. Friend said it's going to be a celebration rather than mourning, buti cna't get my head around not wearing black! I don't want anyone to think I'm being disrespectful. I might wear a black dress with a coloured camisole underneath, so it's not too dreary but also appropriate? I guess as long as I don't wear a clown costume or something nobody will notice or care.
Hi. A requiem mass is NOT to mourn for the dead or to give thanks for their life, but to pray for their repose.
The centre of it is still mass/the eucharist/communion, and not really the dead person, though it's done in their interests. You shouldn't in fact go to communion unless you are RC, as a refusal can upset
So it's not ABOUT their life and there probably won't be a eulogy. A lot of non-Rcs find that a bit heartless...
Just stand when others do and kneel ditto. Most won't wear black.
If you insist on wearing black cheer up the outfit with a jolly scarf.
Honestly catholics are jolly folk ! (Just look at some of the Pope's bright outfits!!) JOKE
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