If you are visiting this page because you have recently been bereaved, we want to offer you our condolences at this sad time.
A funeral marks the close of a human life on earth. It commends the deceased to the mercy of God through the death and resurrection of Christ.
"The Church offers to the Father, in Christ, the child of his grace, and commits to the earth, in hope, the seed of the body that will rise in glory." Catechism of the Catholic Church second edition.
THE FUNERAL PALL
If we listen carefully to the texts used at a funeral liturgy, we discover that there are several references made to the baptism of the person who is now deceased. One reference occurs at the very beginning of the liturgy, during the rite of the reception of the body.
A pall is a heavy cloth used to cover the coffin during a funeral service. There are two reasons that palls are used. The first is to symbolize the clothes worn during baptism and the second is to show that all are equal in the eyes of God since the pall covers all coffins completely.
Normally the funeral directors, members of the family or friends of the deceased drape the pall over the coffin after the priest greets the body at the beginning of the funeral liturgy.
This identity of the deceased person as a Christian is considered by the Church to be fundamental and primary and it is the focus in a special way. For this reason the General Introduction to the Order of Christian Funerals says that only Christian symbols may be on or near the coffin during the funeral liturgy.
To emphasize the importance of the person’s baptism, a funeral pall is used at all our funeral liturgies.
BLESSING OF GRAVES AND INTERCESSION OF THE DEAD -
Weather permitting, the Ceremony to honour our dead is normally held outside. If you do not have someone belonging to you buried in either graveyard, you are very welcome to come along and join in prayer for all the dead. When your grave has been blessed, and you have prayed for your deceased loved ones, perhaps you could then do the same for others who have no one present to pray for them.
So many people see in death nothing but a cruel separation from loved ones. In death there is certainly the very real pain and sorrow of physical separation. It is equally true that our loved ones remain with us. They do not just go off to some dark and distant place. They simply continue into eternal life. We do not see them because we are still in the darkness of this world. Their spiritual eyes, filled with the light of heaven are always watching us as they wait for the day when we shall share their perfect joy. We are born for heaven and we end this life of tears to begin our life of endless happiness.
The tears that dampen our eyes in times of mourning are tears of homesickness, tears of longing for our loved ones. But it is we who are far away from home not they! They are still with us, lovingly and tenderly waiting for the day when we, too, will enter the doorway to our eternal home.
It is a mistake to see death as separation and nothing more. For us who believe, death is a preparation for eternal union with those we love, in the peace and joy of heaven.
Every year, on the last Sunday in June we have the Blessing of graves to remember those we love who have died. Everyone is very welcome to come to this service, and we would ask you to bring along a small bottle of holy water to sprinkle on the grave of your loved one.