Funerals

In the face of death, the Church confidently proclaims that God has created each person for eternal life and that Jesus, by his death and resurrection, has destroyed death forever. Our faith in the Paschal Mystery (the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) reveals itself through the dying and death of each Christian.

When a loved one dies, often much has to be done in a relatively short period of time, and sensitivity by all involved will enable the funeral to be planned in a positive and helpful atmosphere. At St James, we make every effort to provide you with information, assistance and support during this difficult time.

Christians celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise and thanksgiving to God for the gift of a life which has now been returned to God, the author of life. The Church, through its funeral rites, commends the dead to God’s merciful love. The celebration of the Christian funeral brings hope and consolation to the living. The time of death and mourning is also a time of prayer. It is a wonderful time to thank God for the life of the one who has died, to pray for eternal life for him or her and to ask for strength and comfort for those who mourn.

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The following points are designed to assist you during this time and also invite reflection upon the meaning of what we do and believe at the time of a Christian’s death.

Preparation of the Funeral

At the time of death, the family will make contact with a funeral director who is then responsible for liaising with the Parish for the booking of the funeral. Whilst every effort is made to accommodate the requests of the family, funeral services at St James are normally celebrated between 10.00 am and 1.00 pm Tuesdays to Fridays.

At times, we are asked about costs. A contribution to the celebrant and a donation to support the church is given through the funeral director. Here at St James, the minimum stipend for the celebrant for the funeral Mass or service is $250 and a minimum of $200 is provided for the use and support of the church.

As an expression of our faith in Jesus Christ we invite families to actively participate in the Funeral Mass if they wish. Family members may choose the Scripture readings for the Mass, cover the casket or coffin with the pall which symbolises the white garment we received at our baptism, place other Christian symbols on the coffin or casket (such as the crucifix and the bible), pray the Prayers of the Faithful, present the bread and wine at the preparation rite, and help select hymns for the community to sing.

The texts of the funeral rite are available from the celebrant or from this website funerals.mssp.org.au. Families are invited to choose their scripture readings, and other options, to personalise their funeral celebration.

Eulogies

A eulogy or short tribute to the life of the deceased loved one may be offered by a family member or close personal friend who knows the deceased well. It differs from a homily and should concentrate upon the faith life of the loved one, highlighting his or her virtues and qualities. The eulogy is normally held at the commencement of the funeral mass and should be brief (kept to less than five minutes) and be in good taste. The sharing of memories with good discretion and warm humour are appropriate. Please ensure that you indicate to the celebrant at the time of the funeral planning if you wish to deliver a eulogy. The eulogy must be submitted in writing to the priest at least 24 hours in advance of its deliverance.

 

Music

Music is integral to the funeral rites. It allows the community to express convictions and feelings that words alone may fail to convey. It has the power to console and uplift the bereaved and to strengthen the unity of the assembly in faith and love. The music at funerals should support, console and uplift the participants and should help to create in them a spirit of hope in Christ’s victory over death and in the Christian’s share in that victory.

Our recommended musicians for funerals at St James are “Celebrating with Harmony” who will help you to choose the music for the funeral. Costs and payment arrangements are to be discussed directly with the musicians. To book “Celebrating with Harmony”, please contact: Belinda Hyland on 0402 946 705

 

Final Thoughts

At times when death catches us off guard, we may not always remember that the Funeral Rites are liturgical rites of the Church. Therefore, we know you will understand if we cannot always accommodate some requests. There are other moments outside of the liturgy, such as the wake, when you can share these things with your family and friends.

Funerals are a special time for God’s grace and mercy, a time to open your heart, receive His blessings and place your hope in the resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.

 

http://funerals.mssp.org.au/