Funerals at SMDPP
St. Martin dePorres Parish clergy and staff are here to assist you, the family, at the difficult time of the loss of your loved one. Our staff is available to help with the planning, and our clergy is present at the Funeral Mass to guide the family in prayer during the liturgy. Our parish community recognizes the right of every Catholic to have a Funeral Mass. We do our best, as well, to send a representative from the parish to pray with the family and guests at the funeral home, usually on the afternoon before the Funeral Mass. While some funeral homes will contact us with the arrangements you have decided upon, we still encourage you to be in communication with the Parish Office.
Many families wish to plan the funeral liturgy for their loved one. When they make the arrangements with the local funeral director, the materials for planning are given them at that time, and/ or a member of the Parish staff will contact the family. Included in these materials are suggested hymns to be sung along with the readings during the Mass. During the Funeral Mass the family can choose the first (Old Testament) and second (New Testament) readings that are proclaimed during the Liturgy of the Word. Should a family member or friend who is Catholic feel comfortable in doing one of the readings, they are encouraged to do so.
Readings for the Funeral Liturgy
In every celebration for the dead, the Church attaches great importance to the reading of the word of God. The readings proclaim to the assembly the Paschal Mystery, teach remembrance of the dead, convey the hope of being gathered together again in God's kingdom, and encourage the witness of Christian life. Above all, the readings tell of God's designs for a world in which suffering and death will relinquish their hold on all whom God has called his own. A careful selection and use of readings from Scripture for the funeral rites will provide the family with an opportunity to hear God speak to them in their needs, sorrows, fears, and hopes.
In the celebration of the Liturgy of the Word at the funeral liturgy, the Biblical readings may not be replaced by nonbiblical readings. But during prayer services with the family nonbiblical readings may be used in addition to readings from Scripture.
Music for the Funeral Mass
"Music is integral to the Funeral rites. It allows the community to express convictions and feelings that word alone may fail to convey. It has the power to console and uplift the mourners and to strengthen the unity of the assembly in faith and love. The texts of the songs chosen for a particular celebration should express the paschal mystery of the Lord's suffering, death, and triumph over death and should be related to the readings from Scripture."
Thus, while Funeral music may express "convictions and feelings," its subject must always be the paschal mystery and it must be related to the readings from Scripture.
Rather than adopting popular secular songs which are inappropriate to a liturgical setting, we should seek out good liturgical music on a paschal theme which can "support, console, and uplift participants and help to create in them a spirit of hope in Christ's victory over death and in the Christian's share in that victory." (Order of Christian Funerals, number 31)