Funeral Planning

It is our belief that death is not an end but rather a beginning.  Our parish community knows that the death of a loved one can be a time of great pain, confusion, sadness and loss. Please be assured that the St. Thomas More Parish Family is here to offer you comfort and support.

Although death brings a deep sense of sadness and loss, faith can provide solace and strength. This time offers an opportunity to encounter God in a new way and to deepen our belief in God’s love for us and for our loved one.  It is time for us to support and console one another, especially in our belief in the promise and gift of eternal life. 

When we, as Christians, encounter death we are drawn to prayer, praying for those who have died and those who loved them. The prayer that supports Catholic Christians at the time of a death is called the funeral rites. The Church through its funeral rites commends the dead to God's merciful love and pleads for the forgiveness of their sins. At the funeral rites, especially at the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice, the Christian community affirms and expresses the union of the Church on earth with the Church in heaven in the one great communion of saints. Though separated from the living, the dead are still at one with the community of believers on earth and benefit from their prayers and intercession. At the rite of final commendation and farewell, the community acknowledges the reality of separation and commends the deceased to God. In this way it recognizes the spiritual bond that still exists between the living and the dead and proclaims its belief that all the faithful will be raised up and reunited in the new heavens and a new earth, where death will be no more.  Funeral rites include:

  • Prayers at the Vigil (Wake)
  • Mass of Christian Burial (The Funeral Mass)
  • The Committal or Burial

This resource is meant to provide hope and bring comfort and consolation to those planning a funeral liturgy.


Introductory Rites

The Mass begins with the priest and assisting ministers greeting the family at the church doors by the baptismal font.  This is fitting since we begin our Christian journey in baptism and now, we sprinkle the casket with holy water as a reminder of that Sacrament.

The pall (the large white cloth) is placed on the casket by family members-also a reminder of the white garments we wear at baptism.

Mass continues with the Gathering Song and Opening Prayer after which we prepare to listen to the Liturgy of the Word.

Liturgy of the Word

The First Reading is chosen from the Old Testament.  A family member may proclaim the reading.  Please choose one of the following:

Click here to view choices for the Old Testament Reading


The Responsorial Psalm follows next.  The psalm is sung by a cantor.  Please choose one psalm to be sung:

 Click here for Psalm 23:  Shepherd Me, O God

Click here for Psalm 27:  The Lord Is My Light

Click here for Psalm 63:  I Long For You, O Lord

Click here for Psalm 116:  In The Land of the Living

The Second Reading is chosen from the New Testament.  A family member may proclaim the second reading. Please choose one of the following:

Click here to view choices for the New Testament Reading

The Gospel Reading is read by the priest or deacon and is chosen from one of the four Gospel writers.  Please choose one.

Click here to view choices for the Gospel Reading


During the Homily the celebrant often refers to the thoughts that have been provided by family or others that show how the loved one lived out the Christian way and values.

Prayer of the Faithful is a litany of prayer for those who have passed away, for those of us who mourn them, for those who care for the sick, for the poor, and for peace in our world.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Preparation of the Altar and Gifts. The family is encouraged to choose family or friends to bring up the gifts.  The gifts normally carried up are bread and wine.  A chosen song is also sung or played during this time.

Eucharistic Prayers and Acclamations.  The priest prays over the gifts and calls the Holy Spirit to bless them as we prepare to receive them in Communion

Communion may be distributed by family members who are trained Communion Ministers.  A chosen song is also sung by all at this time.

Final Commendation

The Casket is incensed as we sing a Song of Farewell followed by Prayers of Commendation in which the priest commends the deceased into the hands of our Lord.  He then prays “In peace let us take our brother/sister to his/her place of rest,” as the funeral procession will be proceeding to the place of burial.
The casket is prepared by the funeral directors and the procession leaves the church as we sing a final song.  The family follows behind the casket.  The pall is removed at the doors of the church. 

 Please fill in reading and song choices on the form below or click here for a printable form.