|Pastors Desk |
A MESSAGE FROM FATHER MONTY: The Order of
Christian Funerals -
In 2010, I sent a letter to all the funeral directors
in Clarion County. Several obituaries published in local newspapers and on-line
were troubling. In each instance, the obituary identified the deceased as a
member of our parish but their funeral rites were not in accord with the Order
of Christian Funerals.
In my letter, I reminded the funeral directors that
the Order of Christian Funerals lists three major stages of a Catholic funeral:
Vigil for the deceased – which usually takes place at the funeral home;
The Funeral Liturgy or Mass of Christian Burial – which takes place at the parish church of the deceased;
Rite of Committal – which takes place at the site of burial or entombment.
These rites, while flexible and open to adaptation, are to be publicly observed. They are not to be omitted.
Sometimes choices are made by families in desperation and grief. Often the choices made are an indication that the children of faithful Catholics are no longer participating in the life of the Church and are making choices out of lack of exposure to the pastoral practice of the Church.
In my letter to the funeral directors I wrote, “…may I ask that if a family employing your services indicates that their deceased loved one is a member of our parish but their obsequies will not be in accord with the rites of the Roman Catholic Church as outlined in the Order of Christian Funerals that you notify me immediately?”
That notification would provide me an opportunity to offer the sympathy of the parish community and give the grieving family an opportunity to “celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God for the gift of life which has now been returned to God, the author of life and the hope of the just.”
One of the things I love about Immaculate Conception parish is the sensitivity with which funerals are observed. Our funeral team members sensitively minister to the family and friends of the deceased. Our parish musicians strive to form our prayer with music that is appropriate, yet meaningful to the mourners. A faithful group of parishioners attend funerals to provide comfort and consolation for the family and to fulfill one of the corporal works of mercy: to bury the dead.
In our parish, we strive to follow the goal envisioned in the Order of Christian Funerals:
“At the death of a Christian, whose life of faith was begun in the waters of baptism and strengthened at the Eucharistic table, the church intercedes in behalf of the deceased because of its confident belief that death is not the end nor does it break the bonds forged in life. The Church also ministers to the sorrowing and consoles them in the funeral rites with the comforting word of God and the sacrament of the Eucharist.
“LAST RITES” – So, what are your “last rites”? Your mass of Christian burial. From the Vigil for the Deceased at the funeral home, to the Mass of Christian burial (or Funeral Liturgy) at the parish church, to the Rite of Committal at the cemetery we celebrate your “last rites” – and your “last rights” – as a baptized member of the church.
“LAST RIGHTS” - Often the adult children of faithful Catholics make choices that are at odds with the pastoral practice of the Church. Newspapers often carry obituaries that state “there will be no calling hours”, “services will be private and at the convenience of the family, or “there will be a celebration of life at a later date.” Wait a minute! The rites of the Church are more ancient and more effective than these modern contrivances. The pastoral practice of the Church in the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, Viaticum and the Order of Christian funerals is to celebrate, console, and bring comfort with the promise of the glory which awaits all of us. Make your wishes known to your children and your funeral director—in writing and in advance.
PARISH FUNERAL TEAMS – Today’s Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed is the perfect day to thank our parish funeral teams for their dedicated service to grieving families in our parish. The members of our three teams visit the family at the funeral home, attend the wake service and assist at the funeral Mass. They are (first named is the team captain)
Team I Ginny Judy, Diane Knight, Jane Mohney, Patty Rapp, Elwood and Mary Lou Steele
Team II Jean Kahle, John and Sally Doran, Carol Lapinto, Pat Magness, Stella Miller
Team III Grace Troese, Jean Amato, Rita Amsler, Lorraine Cramer, Barb Lowrie, Madge Copenhaver (sub)
IN REMEMBRANCE...NOVEMBER BOOK OF THE DEAD- Stop after Mass to write the names of your loved ones who have died in our November Book of the Dead. This book, which commemorates all of our "saints”, will rest near the baptismal font and paschal candle for the entire month.
FALL FLOWER MEMORIALS – The floral arrangement at the altar is given for the Glory of God and in memory of your deceased loved ones. Thank you for your support of the 2014 “Fall Flower Memorial” fund.
TURKEY BINGO – The Immaculate Conception School P.T.O. is sponsoring this popular event on Monday, November 3, 10 and 17 at the Meisinger Center. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. Pizza, hot dogs, nachos, and desserts will be sold in the cafeteria from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Bingo starts at 6:00 p.m. and ends at 8:30 p.m. Prizes include vouchers for a turkey. There will be a 50/50, Rip-Off Tickets and a basket raffle. Bring the family out for an evening of fun at P.T.O. Turkey Bingo.
NOVEMBER COMMUNION CALLS - The Eucharistic ministers will be bringing Holy Communion to parish shut-ins, on Friday, November 7. If a member of your family is unable to get to Sunday Mass and would like a visit call the parish office this week.
VETERANS DAY PROGRAM – All veterans and their spouses are invited to attend the annual Veteran’s Day program at the Immaculate Conception School on Tuesday, November 11. Breakfast will be served at 9:00 a.m. in the cafeteria. The program begins at 10:00 a.m. in the Meisinger Center. The program is free and open to the public.
CAMPUS MINISTRY CORNER
Check the Campus Ministry Facebook page at Clarion University Campus Ministry for upcoming gatherings and posted photos.
FAMILY CENTERED FAITH FORMATION – Check out the Knights of Columbus on-line resource called Building the Domestic Church: The Family Fully Alive. Published in September, it is part of the K of C’s yearlong preparation for the 8th World Meeting of Families September 22-27, 2015 in Philadelphia. Pope Francis is expected to attend this event. It is chocked full of ideas for families for prayer and spiritual growth. The theme for November is “Because God rested on the seventh day, we want to celebrate Sunday as a Family”. To read more go to www.kofc.org/familyfullyalive (Click of “Getting Started”, “Monthly Themes and Meditations”, “Catechesis” or print a PDF/Adobe version of the whole program.
THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
Key Passage: “And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but I should raise it on the last day”. (John 6:39).
Adult: What comfort do you find in Jesus’ promise to lose no one the Father has given him and to raise up all who believe in him?
Child: In what special ways do you keep All Souls Day?
WHAT KIND OF STEWARD AM I? As we practice stewardship, we find that we grow spiritually and that our faith is deepened.
SAVE THE DATE:
Nov. 1 Reverse Raffle
Nov. 3-10-17 Turkey Bingo
Nov. 3-13 "Best of Ireland" Parish Pilgrimage