When a priest dies

Since this is a subject my parish is now facing, I thought I’d share some details about traditions and customs surrounding the funeral of a priest. Fr. Joshua Janko blogged about this a few years ago: What are some of the traditional practices that accompany a priest when they die? Well, I should first start [Read More...]

The problem of instant canonizations at Catholic funerals

This is a common problem in the preaching at Catholic funerals, and something every priest and deacon should be wary of. This writer nails it: Laura’s funeral Mass was beautiful—that is, up until the homily. It was then that things took a turn for the weird. After speaking a few words about God’s love, the [Read More...]

A growing trend: home funerals

Here’s an interesting glimpse into this phenomenon from Jaweed Kaleem at Huffington Post.  I suspect a significant number of these funerals take place for reasons that are primarily economic.  But it can’t be denied: the experience of death and mourning, when carried out in the home, is very different—immediate, intimate,  familiar. Details:  A little over [Read More...]

Lay ministers to lead funerals in U.K.

It’s happening in Liverpool, according to The Tablet: Twenty-two Lay Funeral Ministers, men and women, have been commissioned to lead funeral services where there is no Requiem Mass and no priest available. The move, which comes into effect in the autumn, is due to the declining number of priests and the large number of funerals [Read More...]

The rite done right: making a funeral easier for everyone

It’s a recurring problem at some Catholic liturgies — notably, weddings and funerals — where a sizable number of those in attendance may not be church-going Catholics. How do you handle the blank stares and stony silences? (And the silence can be deafening, and dispiriting.  I’ve presided at a couple of weddings where, after I’ve [Read More...]

Everything old is new again: Colorado town offers funeral pyres

A practice many might consider taboo is available in one western town — and it’s believed to be the only place in the U.S. to do so. Details: Belinda Ellis’ farewell went as she wanted. One by one, her family placed juniper boughs and logs about her body, covered in red cloth atop a rectangular [Read More...]

Would you like your funeral streamed live?

Welcome to the brave new world of the YouTube funeral, where grieving friends and relatives no longer have to travel cross country to bid goodbye to the dearly departed. Now you can do it online. From the New York Times: In an age of commemorating birthdays, weddings and anniversaries on Facebook and Twitter, it was [Read More...]