And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom! And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with me in Paradise.”
I’ve been ‘officially’ Catholic for about 17 years now. I’ve been to plenty of baptisms, some weddings, but never a funeral.
Not until Friday.
Brett and I loaded up the children for a noon Mass with my favorite priest, and I texted my friend Angie on the way to meet us there. After arriving, and saying hello to Father Scott, he informed me that there was a Funeral Mass that day. In his parish, they have the Funeral Mass at the regularly scheduled Mass time. Since I’d driven across town, and dragged Angie out of the house, I decided to stay.
I’m so glad I did.
I’ll be the first to admit that I do NOT deal well with death and dying. Ironic for someone who has been a nurse as long as I have, but it’s true. It makes me uncomfortable.
On this day, I was able to appreciate the beauty found in death, as odd as that may sound. As a spectator, I was able to watch the family of a woman come together and celebrate her life. They found comfort and grace in her faith, and our belief that she will be reunited with Christ in heaven.
Our tradition of a Funeral Mass was amazing, from start to finish. I cried at the first reading, Proverbs 31, thinking of what a huge task is laid out before us as a wife and mother. I cried again during the homily, when Father Scott likened the Beatitudes to our challenges as mothers. And then, I sobbed during the Absolution, when a priest annoints the casket with incense, and says this beautiful prayer:
May the angels lead you into paradise: may the martyrs receive you at your coming, and lead you into the holy city, Jerusalem. May the choir of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, who once was poor, may you have everlasting rest
Watching the procession out of the church, I was touched by how this woman touched so many people. She didn’t invent the iPhone, or win the lottery, but led her life as a godly woman, wife and mother.
The funeral was a reminder to me to focus on what is truly important in our lives — namely, our relationship with Christ, and those dear to us. I may not ever be filthy rich, or wildly successful, but if I can live my life as God intended, surrounded by people I love, I’ve done a great job.
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When you told me it was a funeral Mass I almost suggested we leave – I didn’t want to intrude on that family’s grief. But I’m so glad we stayed. He had a message He wanted us to hear 🙂
Dianna Kennedy says
Are you kidding me? You know how I hate funerals.
I thought, “Well, I”ve driven across town, and dragged Angie out, too. I guess we’re staying.”
I’m glad we did, too. We learned a lot, and the kids were relatively well behaved – barefoot and all!
I have never known that the Catholics did funerals any differently. It looks like it was definitely celebrating a life lived and held a beautiful message.
Dianna Kennedy says
I had seriously never been to a Funeral Mass before – not all of my family is Catholic.
It’s beautiful, from start to finish. The casket is draped in a linen cloth, and situated in front of the altar. We have 2 Readings, and the Gospel, just like at a standard Mass. The Prayers of the Faithful included the deceased woman and her family. After everyone received the Eucharist, the priest offers the deceased Final Absolution – he asks for forgiveness for her soul, and says the prayer I listed above.
Apparently, there are gravesite ceremonies as well – with blessing of the grave, prayers, etc. Since this was not someone I knew, we did not attend.
Thanks for stopping by!
I haven’t been to one yet, either. Hope I don’t have a reason to anytime soon, though. Sounds like it waws beautiful. Are those actual photos from the funeral? They are gorgeous! Thanks for the email reminding me of the link-up!
I am not Catholic but I had to attend a funeral mass in college when a choir member died…it truly is beautiful how the ceremony is done.
We are always blessed when we act upon an urging in our heart. So happy you stayed and received such a blessing.
I think it is easier if your first funeral is for someone you don’t know. If you aren’t grieving it is easier to appreciate what is happening.
It sounds beautiful. I have been to only one Catholic funeral and I had that same feeling of holiness that you touch on here. What a beautiful gift you were given in celebrating that woman’s life.
My little parade post doesn’t really qualify for Saints and Scriptures (though it felt so like worship to invite God into our joy) but I will keep this linky in mind!
[email protected] My Ears Lord says
Having a Catholic background that led me into a personal relationship with Jesus, I can really appreciate the significance of all the Christian symbolism. When we planned my Mom’s funeral about 10 years ago, it was a blessing to incorporate readings that focused on the Lord, songs that glorified the Lord and encouraged us that He is present with us through the barren desert (Isaiah).
May you be blessed this week.
Jeanne Stone says
I am in the medical profession, and think that was a lovely post. death is part of our lives, and I always try to seek the meaning in it, both for myself and for families. Nice reflection
Having been a pastor’s wife for almost 50 years I have attended many many funerals. My husband retired from the ministry 7 and a half years ago. He is still asked to come back to his former church to perform memorial services. In fact, he did one last Monday. He has a marvelous way of talking about the deceased. Several people at the service he conducted on Monday made him promise he would do theirs when the time came. Some of them are younger than he is but he promised that if he is still around he will do it. There is such a difference between services for a Christian and a non-Christian. How sad it is to leave this life without hope.
I just got through reading a long post that was shared on Spiritual Sundays about Mormonism. I have learned a lot about different religions since I started the Spiritual Sundays blog. I think that is a good thing.
Thank you for sharing.
YOU HAVE NEVER HAD ANYONE DIE ON YOU?
i M SORRY to write this but many people like you who say they are so informed about the faith get surprised and act patronizing and uuuuhhh uhhh when there’s a funeral.
At 48, i have lost my father, all grandparents, an 18 year old cousin, 7 friends from school, and 2 uncles and at least 4 mis carriages.
I know what a Catholic funeral IS. I HAVE BEEN TO PLENTY.
Dianna Kennedy says
First off, I’ve had plenty of people ‘die on me’ — literally and figuratively. I’ve been a nurse for almost 20 years, and worked with hundreds of families who have lost their loved ones.
I’ve also lost plenty of family members, and suffered from a miscarriage as well.
As I said in my post – I had never been to a Catholic funeral before – meaning, that my family members who died either weren’t Catholic, or their families chose not to have a Funeral Mass.
I wasn’t patronizing in the least. My post illuminated the beauty of a Catholic funeral – as a reminder for those who have been, and something new for those who were unfamiliar.
Perhaps I was not clear in my wording. I do NOT claim to know all there is to know about my Faith, and I use this series as a way to share my experience and what I am learning — on a daily basis.