Memorial Mass

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Recently, a former member of our local community died.  While his funeral and burial will be celebrated at our province infirmary, we are planning a Memorial Mass for him locally.  He was beloved in the wider area and served as chaplain to the local fire and police departments.

While the current police department chaplain is a diocesan priest and can easily concelebrate,  the current fire department chaplain is a female minister at a local Congregational church.  Might we invite her to join the procession and vest, or is it wiser and safer to ask her to do the Universal Prayer?

Thanks, as always, for your insights and expertise.


A: My condolences to all of you on this loss. Sounds like a sad moment for the local community.

Here are some thoughts I’ve compiled about WEDDINGS, but I think the basic principles may help you:

The minister of the non-Catholic party may be invited to participate at the request of the couple and with permission of the bishop. The Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism says,  “Upon request of the couple, the local Ordinary may permit the Catholic priest to invite the minister of the party of the other Church or ecclesial Community to participate in the celebration of the marriage, to read from the Scriptures, give a brief exhortation and bless the couple” (158). It also notes, “Where there is a common agreement among the participants, those who have a function in the ceremony may use the dress proper to their ecclesiastical rank and to the nature of the celebration” (113).

You may find numbers 108-115 helpful.