Q: We create worship aids for funerals, and on the front we have put “Mass of Christian Burial.” Was that and is that the correct terminology? What if there has been cremation and the remains are not being buried right away. What do you call the mass?
A: The liturgical books call it “Funeral Mass” in all instances. I’m not sure where the expression “Mass of Christian Burial” originated, but it is not in the liturgical books. And as you point out, it does not always precede a burial. The term may have come about to distinguish this service from a “Memorial Mass,” a term commonly used to describe a mass following burial. But that term isn’t in the liturgical books either. Just “Funeral Mass” and “Mass for the Dead.”