Funeral blessing

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Lately, I’ve noticed that priests presiding at funeral Masses have been blessing the assembly after the Prayer of Commendation.  The rite simply says the the priest or deacons says: “In peace let us take our brother/sister to his/her place of rest.” There is no blessing or dismissal per se. Is this an acceptable practice?


A: There is no blessing at church after the commendation. The implication is that the same liturgy continues at the place of committal, and the prayers of blessing there conclude everything.

I’ve spoken with priests who do as you have described, and who defend their practice on the basis that most of these people are not going to the cemetery. The liturgy is not concerned about that. It encourages people to stay with the funeral all the way to the end, and it rewards those who do.

For more on funerals, see my book Light in the Darkness.