The funeral liturgy

Patrick H. Daly

A priest writes on the many pastoral considerations necessary in planning and celebrating a funeral. Much work goes into honouring the dead by making the funeral a liturgy tailored to the needs of the living. Patrick H. Daly is parish priest of Caversham in the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

There are no obsequies without a corpse and a coffin, there is no Requiem Mass where death is not the principal focus of attention, and yet the funeral liturgy is a celebration of life and is shaped by the needs of the living. Many dioceses in England and Wales now provide the elderly or those anxious about how their families may cope with their eventual death with Instructions for my Funeral Mass, but these helpful forms are less designed to indulge the whims or preferences of the dead than to make the funeral liturgy a life-enhancing experience and a meaningful liturgy for the living who attend it.

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