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Requiem mass versus Requiem liturgy

(5 Posts)
Cheadle Tue 17-Oct-17 14:38:02

Have a funeral arranged next week for my deceased uncle. The service will be in the Catholic church.

Parish priest has just phoned me to suggest he will do a Requiem liturgy instead of a Requiem mass. The liturgy apparently takes about 45 minutes as opposed to approx. one hour for a mass. The priest kept repeating that it would not be such a long, tiring day for us if we opted for the liturgy!

To be honest, I'm not even sure what is meant by a 'liturgy'. Can anyone advise me if this is similar to a mass?

My uncle, whose funeral it is, is a Catholic but was not a church attender so he is not known to the priest. I'm actually thinking maybe that's why the priest is trying to save himself 15 minutes on the day. I am also not a mass attender myself, but know the priest through various funerals he has conducted for family members in the past.

For some reason, I'm feeling a bit annoyed at the priest's suggestion. I wonder if his fee will be reduced accordingly? Somehow, I doubt it.

Then again, maybe I've got it all wrong and perhaps a liturgy will be okay, I really don't know.

Can anyone offer any advice please?

semideponent Tue 17-Oct-17 15:07:26

Did your deceased uncle have any particular wishes? If he wanted a Catholic requiem, I expect he assumed it would be a Mass.

I'm a trained catechist, so here goes:

Liturgy is the official prayer of the Church - all the sacraments (Baptism, Confession, Confirmation, Eucharist, Matrimony, Holy Orders, Anointing are normally performed within liturgies). There are non-sacramental liturgies as well (like the daily prayers you'd observe in a monastery, for instance). So Mass is a liturgy but not all liturgies are Masses.

So either way, your uncle will be prepared for cremation/burial with the prayers of the Church in which you assist and participate (that sounds dry - I'm using Church terminology here). I don't know what a requiem liturgy involves - it's possible that it does include communion using previously consecrated hosts. Maybe it doesn't. I'm sure the priest could advise.

If it were me, I'd push for a proper Requiem Mass. Within Catholic theology, the Eucharist is understood to be summit and source of the sacraments; the one from which all others and the liturgy as a whole derives its force and meaning. Moreover, rituals, in the Catholic faith, do matter: the purpose of a requiem is to pray for the soul of the dead person. The 'deeper' ritual of a Mass is a good way of doing that.

I'd also find out whether the priest is expecting to do the requiem himself...there are some liturgies that are often performed by deacons if priests aren't available. However, deacons can't say Mass. It doesn't sound as if that's the issue, but it might be.

Cheadle Tue 17-Oct-17 16:51:48

semideponent, thank you very much for your detailed response. My uncle wanted a full Catholic service. My father (who does attend mass and whose brother it is who has died) has just spoken to the priest.

What he's managed to find out is that the main difference between the requiem mass and the requiem liturgy is that there is no opportunity to receive Holy Communion at the requiem liturgy.

At this point, my father advised him that in that case we wished to proceed with the Requiem mass. The priest apparently didn't sound too impressed and the call ended a bit abruptly. Oh, well.....

semideponent Tue 17-Oct-17 17:48:56

Oh well, put in the most prosaic terms, an extra 15 minutes is only an extra 15 minutes... at worst, it's a perfectly reasonable request and at best something the priest should be glad to do. Good on your father for saying what the family wanted - I really hope it all works out.

Cheadle Tue 17-Oct-17 18:06:40

Thank you.

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