PLAN A FUNERAL
OPENING THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS
The parish community of Saint John Vianney extends our prayers and heartfelt compassion to you and your family at this difficult time of loss. The Christian life of faith is not a guarantee that we will be free from hardship and suffering; it is a guarantee, however, that we will never carry our crosses alone. What our Catholic faith teaches us is that Christ will be with us even in the moments of trial; the love of Christ will never leave us, especially at this time of loss and grief.
We begin our preparations with a prayer:
to whom mercy and forgiveness belong,
hear our prayers on behalf of your servant,
whom you have called out of this world;
and because they have put their hope and trust in you,
command that they be carried safely home to heaven
and come to enjoy your eternal reward.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
A THREE STEP PROCESS
Step 1 – Contact a Funeral Director
The first step in the preparations for a funeral is to contact a local funeral director. The funeral director or undertaker will guide you through the initial steps of care for the deceased person and help you select a date and time for the funeral liturgy to be celebrated at Saint John Vianney. The funeral director will contact Saint John Vianney on your behalf to confirm the church’s availability. Finally, the funeral director will make all the arrangements necessary for burial at a local Cemetery or other sacred grounds of your choosing.
As of 1963, cremation has been permitted in the Catholic Church. Please consult the Archdiocesan Guidelines for more information.
Step 2 – Contact Saint John Vianney Parish to Meet with a Priest
Parish Office Phone Number: 610-642-0938
The second step in the process is to contact Saint John Vianney Parish Offices directly to schedule a meeting with the parish priest. The purpose of this meeting will be to pray for the loss of the loved one and to plan the funeral liturgy. The funeral rites of the Church are meant to "commend the dead to God’s merciful love and plead for the forgiveness of their sins” (Order of Christian Funerals).
Step 3 – Planning the Funeral Liturgy
The parish priest will offer to you and explain a funeral packet of materials designed to help you plan a beautiful funeral liturgy. The items for your consideration are:
1. Selection of Hymns
Generally, the Funeral Liturgy (Mass) will include five (5) hymns: (1) Entrance Hymn, (2) Offertory Hymn, (3) Communion Hymn, (4) Meditation Hymn, and (5) Recessional Hymn. The list of hymns for your consideration may be founded here.
2. Selections of Readings from Sacred Scripture
Generally, there are two readings from Sacred Scripture that are proclaimed from the pulpit before the proclamation of the Gospel. Please consult the list of possible First Readings here and select one. Also, please select a practicing Catholic, who would be able to read well, to read the First Reading. Please also consult the list of possible Second Readings located here and select one. Also select a practicing Catholic, who would be able to read well, to read the Second Reading
3. Responsorial Psalm
The Responsorial Psalm will be sung by the cantor. In the Liturgy, it takes place between the First and Second readings. Please consult the list of possible refrains.
4. General Intercessions (Prayer of the Faithful)
Following the Homily, the General Intercessions are prayed. Please consult a list of typical general intercessions that are prayed and customize the respective petitions, including the one petition with the addition of deceased close family members. Also, select a practicing Catholic, who would be able to read well, to read the General Intercessions.
5. Offertory Gift Bearers
At the Offertory time, the gifts of bread and wine for the Mass may be brought up by family members or friends of the deceased. Kindly select two, three, or four gift bearers from family or friends.
6. Eulogy/Words of Remembrance
A family or a friend may choose to share a few memories about the deceased person (it is optional). At St. John Vianney, these memories are ordinarily offered a few minutes before the Funeral Liturgy begins. Firstly, this helps the people present put into the context of the life of the deceased loved one, and it permits everyone present to pray in a special way for their peaceful repose. Secondly, given that this is typically given by a close family member, the timing permits them to be less anxious throughout the ceremony and avoid the nerves throughout the prayers. These memories should be short and concise, no longer than 3-5 minutes, and given that it is in a Church setting, the stories should be appropriate for that setting. It is beneficial that these memories be written down due to the possible emotional state one can experience while sharing. The parish respectfully requests that if a family chooses to have words of remembrance that a copy be shown previously to the ceremony to the priest for review.
If you have any questions regarding funeral preparations, please contact the Parish Office.
Resources for the Grieving Process
We are happy to share the following resources that may be helpful to you as you mourn the death of your loved one. For a list of resources, please click here.