St. Edmund's Catholic Church


Address: PO Box 146
City: Hythe
Province: Alberta
Phone: 780-354 2415




General Guidelines for Catholic Funerals

The following is a general guideline for Catholic Funerals – families should consult with their Parish Pastor before making any decisions in respect to the funeral liturgy for their loved one.

Scripture Readings for Funeral Liturgies
Prayers of the Faithful (sample intercessions)
Liturgical Funeral Roles
  - Placing of the Pall
  - Cross Bearer
  - Readers
  - Gift Bearers
Vigil Prayers
Funeral Mass
Eulogy (Words of Remembrance)
Symbolic Elements (Easter Candle, Holy Water, Incense, Funeral Pall)


Catholic Bible

Scripture Reading for Funeral Liturgies

Please click on the following links to learn more

Select one reading from among the Old Testament Readings (A1 – A9)
Select one reading from among the New Testament Letters and Writings (B1 – B24)
Select one reading from among the Gospel Readings (C1 - C24)



Prayers of the Faithful

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Prayers of the Faithful (sample)

Note: Your priest or parish may have intercessions they prefer to be used.


The Response is “Lord, hear our prayer”:
(Raise right hand to invite people to repeat the response…)

R: Lord, hear our prayer.

  • In Baptism, (N. ) received the light of Christ. We pray that you might scatter the darkness and lead him/her over the waters of death. (pause)
    We pray to the Lord…. (raise right hand)
    R: Lord, hear our prayer.
  • We pray for ( ) and all family members who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, that they may have the reward of their goodness. (pause)
    We pray to the Lord…. (raise right hand)
    R: Lord, hear our prayer.
  • We pray for ( ), his/her grandchildren, and all of ( )'s family who mourn his/her loss, console them as you consoled the family of Lazarus, and grant them the hope of the Resurrection. (pause)
    We pray to the Lord…. (raise right hand)
    R: Lord, hear our prayer.
  • We pray for the Church, Pope ( ), Archbishop ( ), and for all ministers in the Church, help them to grow in holiness through the intercession of the Saints... (pause)
    We pray to the Lord…. (raise right hand)
    R: Lord, hear our prayer.
  • We pray for all gathered here to pray in faith, keep all those travelling safe, and we pray that we may be gathered together again in God’s kingdom. (pause)
    We pray to the Lord…. (raise right hand)
    R: Lord, hear our prayer.



Catholic Placing of the Pall

Placing of the Pall

The placing of the pall is a most tender moment in the funeral Mass. When the casket enters the church, the priest sprinkles it with holy water. Then a large white cloth, the pall, may be placed upon it in silence. The rubrics permit this gesture “if it is the custom.”
The pall has two meanings, both deriving from the New Testament. First, the pall recalls the baptismal garment. At baptism Catholics each receive a white garment as a sign of their Christian dignity.
Second, the pall signifies equality. The letter of James (2:1–9) discourages favoritism. It challenges people who form judgments based on how someone is dressed. The funeral pall clothes every deceased Christian in the same garment.

The pall may be placed on the casket by family, friends, or the priest.


Catholic Cross Bearer

Cross Bearer

Many parishes will ask the family to provide a family member or a friend to carry the large cross during the procession and perhaps at the recessional as well. Due to the weight and height of the cross someone who is able to carry the cross with respect and care should be selected for this role.



Catholic Lector


Members of the family may be invited to read the scripture readings. Usually the church will ask the family to provide one reader for the Vigil Prayer Service and two readers for the funeral mass (confirm this with the presiding priest).

The word of God is of great importance in the funeral rite. The readings proclaim the meaning that Christ himself gave to death, teach us to remember the dead, nourish our hope of being gathered together again in God’s kingdom, and encourage us to live the Christian life. Above all, the readings tell of God’s design for a world in which suffering and death will be destroyed. In the readings all present have an opportunity to hear God speak to them in their needs, sorrows, fears and hopes.

At the funeral liturgy the biblical readings may not be replaced by non-biblical ones. But during prayer services with the family non-biblical readings may be used in addition to readings from Scripture (see above).


Bread and Wine

Gift Bearers

Your priest may ask you to provide two family members or friends to act a Gift Bearers during the Presentation of the Gifts. The bearers will present the bread and wine to the priest during the offertory.



Woman praying

Vigil Prayer Service

In her funeral rites, the church commends the dead to God and offers Christian hope to those who mourn. For this reason, it is customary to have a gathering of the family and friends of the deceased before the Funeral Mass.

The Prayer Service may take the form of one of the vigil services contained in the funeral ritual or a similar service, such as the prayer of the Rosary. It usually happens the day preceding the funeral in the church but may take place in the funeral home.


Catholic Mass

Funeral Mass

The Mass, the memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection, is the principal celebration of the Christian funeral. While following the directives of the Church’s ritual in planning the liturgical celebration, the choice of music, colour of vestments, biblical readings and homily should reflect the family’s wishes, acknowledging as well the community aspect of faith which remains unbroken in death.

Since the proper setting for Mass is a sacred place, Mass is not to be celebrated in a funeral home or similar facility.


Eulogy – Words of Remembrance

The Order of Christian Funerals states that “a brief homily based on the readings is always given after the Gospel reading…but there is never to be a eulogy.” The homily relates Christian death to the Paschal Mystery of our Lord’s death and resurrection. Attentive to the grief of those present, the homily properly includes an expression of praise and gratitude to God for the gift of a Christian life and such virtues or strengths apparent in the deceased’s life.

With the consent of the local Pastor a brief eulogy may take place, usually at one of these times: the Vigil service, at a Reception following the mass, before the Funeral Mass begins, or before or after the final commendation and farewell at the end of the Funeral Mass.

It is recommended that the speaker should have the written text and length approved beforehand by the presiding priest.


Symbolic Elements


Paschal (Easter) Candle

First lit at the Easter Vigil, this candle burns near the casket or urn during the Funeral Mass. It represents the Light of the Risen Christ, who has overcome darkness and death by His Resurrection.


Holy Water

Holy Water

Holy water reminds us of the saving waters of baptism. At the reception of the body the priest sprinkles the casket or urn with holy water. Its use calls to mind the deceased's baptism and initiation into the community of faith. In the rite of Final Commendation it may also signify farewell.




Blessing the casket or urn with incense during the funeral liturgy is a sign of honour to the deceased, which through baptism became the temple of the Holy Spirit. The rising of the incense smoke is a symbol of our prayers and a sign of farewell of our departed one rising to God.



Funeral Pall

The funeral pall (a large white cloth) reminds us of the garment given at baptism and therefore symbolizes our life in Christ and that we are all equal in the eyes of God. At the reception of the body, the pall is draped over the casket following the blessing with holy water. Family members are encouraged to take part in the placing of the pall.



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