Funerals and Memorials - Types of Funeral Masses

Types of Funeral Masses

Funeral Mass with body or ashes present: The funeral Mass is held at the church. The remains are treated with great respect (including ashes). At the entrance to the church the body is sprinkled with holy water, a white pall is placed over the casket, and crucifix is placed on top. These are reminders of our baptism and our faith in the promise of eternal life. This is followed by a procession into the body of the Church. In the case of cremation, an urn of ashes may be carried in procession or placed on a table at the front of the church before the service begins. A flag may be placed on the casket upon departing the Church for the graveside service.

Memorial Mass (no remains present): The memorial Mass is held in church just like a funeral Mass, but no remains are present. The opening of Mass is like a more usual Mass with an opening song, greeting and penitential rite.

Memorial Service (no Mass): This service may be held for a deceased Catholic whose family is not Catholic. A priest or deacon can lead the memorial service following the outline for The Liturgy of the Word with a brief tribute and music.