Catholic Ceremonies

Understanding the Catholic Funeral

It is believed that your soul continues on in either Heaven or Hell depending on how righteous a life you lived. This is a belief shared by all Christians and serves as an important function for the survivors who believe that the soul lives on after death. Catholics also believe in a third destination for the soul called Purgatory. Purgatory is a place for souls who have committed forgivable sins during their lifetime who may eventually make their way to Heaven. 

To encourage such forgiveness, the Catholic funeral is a time to appeal to God to be merciful on the deceased person’s soul. Most likely there will be a lot of talk about the deceased now being with God in Heaven. This serves as a way to comfort those who are grieving. You can expect there to be a lot of prayers while in attendance at the funeral.

Traditions

A Catholic funeral is traditionally held in a Catholic church, though it may also be held at a funeral home. The service is usually led by a Catholic priest, who will deliver a sermon likely to include commemorating snippets from the deceased’s time on Earth.

As opposed to other Christian funerals, a Catholic service tends to have more rites performed. This includes a funeral mass, which symbolizes the resurrection of Christ. Music is performed throughout the service.

Etiquette

The atmosphere is typically respectful and somber. People should dress accordingly and traditionally wear black. Men usually wear a suit and tie or at least a sports coat and tie. Women should wear a black skirt or dress or pantsuit. If black clothing is not available, attendees should wear the darkest semi-formal clothing they own. Some women continue to wear hats although it is no longer required. Men should not wear a hat in church.

Flowers are always appreciated as long as they are appropriate to a somber church setting.