Pre-Planning a Catholic Funeral

The death of a loved one entails numerous, time-consuming tasks that put a lot of pressure on grieving family members.

Pre-planning a funeral can ease most of the stress that will fall upon your family.

Pre-planning a Catholic funeral, however, may require certain aspects to be fulfilled for a traditional ceremony to take place. This might seem quite daunting, especially when religious beliefs are involved.

Thankfully, Catholic funeral ceremonies involve the whole church community coming together to help carry out the funeral rites. With the help of your local church, family members, and a funeral director, you’ll be able to pre-plan an intimate and traditional ceremony.

Making the end-of-life plans

A well-thought-out will or document that states the specifics of how you want the ceremony to be held, the choice of casket, and all the papers indicating that you have already paid for the funeral service will ease the process.

Make sure you inform a family member or friend who you completely trust, about the documents in the event of your demise.

Contacting the funeral director

A funeral director will act as a guide throughout the entire ceremony. They’ll assist in working with the church and cemetery to confirm a date and time of the service and burial or cremation.

Contacting the funeral director in advance would ensure the proceedings are carried out according to your wishes.

Getting in touch with the church

Get in touch with the pastoral staff of your church and provide them with the information of your funeral director as they will be working closely together.

It’s an essential duty of the local Catholic church to assist and plan a funeral, so don’t hesitate to contact them well ahead of time.

Deciding between cremation and burial

Most Catholic churches would prefer burial over cremation. If you prefer to go ahead with a cremation, however, inform the clergy of your decision.

Whether you choose to be buried or cremated, the church will hold a liturgy or mass beforehand.

Choosing a pre-funeral service

You can either choose one or all three Catholic services that will take place the evening before the funeral or on the morning of the service:

  • The Rosary: this is a 20-minute recitation of the Rosary led by a family member or church leader
  • The Vigil for the Deceased: this is a Catholic prayer service of scripture readings that takes place after death and before the funeral
  • The Wake: this is when funeral attendees are allowed to view the body and say their final goodbyes

Settling on the type of funeral service

You will have to choose between two Catholic funeral service options. Both services include selected readings from scripture:

  • Christian burial mass is the most common and preferred service and must take place in a Catholic church
  • Funeral liturgy outside mass is known to follow the same format as the first option, but it can be conducted in any church or chapel.

Planning the Rite of Committal

If you choose to go ahead with a burial, the priest will accompany your family to the cemetery where prayers will be recited to bless the burial. You might also have to plan a funeral reception that follows.

Drafting the obituary

Your family will be extremely busy attending to last-minute funeral arrangements and may forget to write an obituary and funeral notice.

Draft an obituary notice that can be shared among the community, or if you prefer for it to be private, it can be published in your church’s newspaper.

Pre-planning a Catholic funeral doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process

Pre-planning a Catholic funeral can seem quite bleak, but with the support of your local Catholic church and family and friends, making future funeral arrangements can be a seamless experience.

With a pre-planned funeral that follows your religious beliefs and traditions, your loved ones can be more present at the ceremony and cherish the memories y’all shared.

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