The Funeral Liturgy (Mass) is our great “Thank You” to God who created us, died for us, and who is calling each of us back to Himself. In this step the focus shifts slightly from emphasis on the deceased to God’s saving works though Jesus Christ. The Mass, particularly at the time of death, is truly a special moment, a holy moment, a God-moment.
Celebrating the funeral liturgy at Mass in the parish church is the normal way in which most Catholics experience the Order of Christian Funerals. The Eucharist looks forward to our participation in the heavenly banquet, where we are united with Jesus, the saints, and all those who share eternal life. Jesus said, “whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood shall live forever.” (John 6:54) The Eucharist is truly the central point in a Catholic funeral. Its effectiveness is greatly enhanced when the family participates in appropriate ways: clothing the casket with the pall, selecting the Scripture readings, serving as lectors or extraordinary ministers, singing the responses and the hymns and, most especially, receiving Holy Communion.