Graveside service

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I was preparing for a graveside service for a parishioner. There will be no funeral Mass or any other funeral service than the graveside. I have never done a rite at the cemetery where there wasn’t some form of the funeral liturgy prior. To prepare, I looked in The Order of Christian Funerals with Cremation Rites. Paragraph 317 (pg. 179) says, “When no funeral liturgy precedes the rite of committal, the rite of committal with final commendations is used and similarly adapted.” In going through the Rite of Committal with Final Commendation section, I noticed that the Intentions and Our Father are not part of the rite. This feels wrong to me. Did I miss something? The comment on page 179 gives a list of “adaptations” however they do not include adding Intentions or the Our Father. Am I being too literal in accepting only the adaptations listed? Or are those two portions left out of the rite intentionally?


A: I’m very sorry to learn about the loss of one of your parishioners.

The paragraphs you are citing are actually from the funerals for children. However, the ones for adults are basically structured the same way.

I’ve checked the Ordo Exsequiarum, which indeed says that if the final commendation takes place at the gravesite, then it replaces the prayer of the faithful there and concludes the service (paragraph 54 and 74). It offers the Lord’s Prayer as an alternative to the concluding prayer, so it is not required in the typical edition even when the final commendation is part of the funeral Mass.

I’m guessing that this was to simplify the proceedings at the cemetery, and not to duplicate elements of the service.I generally think it’s best to follow the services the way that the liturgical books give them to us. In your case, I’d feel free to add any of the sections suggested.