Memorial Mass

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: The sister of a colleague has died at age 100 and had donated her body to medical facility.

For the  funeral or memorial Mass, (to be held this Saturday in Hebron, NE) is there any special ritual or consideration for the liturgy?

+Presidential prayers from the funeral ritual?
+Readings as usual
+Like cremation, have a photo on a stand in front of altar to incense or holy water??
+Family bring up gifts at presentation of gifts?
+Other possibilities??

Thanks for any suggestions.


A: I’m sorry to learn of the death of your colleague’s sister. She must have been a very caring person to donate her body for further research.

This Mass uses only the missal, not the Order of Christian Funerals. The missal’s last section is called “Masses for the Dead,” and the first part is “For the Funeral.” Anything from that part pertains.

Readings may be taken from the similar section in the lectionary, as for any funeral Mass.

It would not be appropriate to sprinkle blessed water on a picture or to incense it. Those actions pertain to human remains to show their sanctity.

The family may certainly bring up the gifts.

In some cases, after some time, a medical facility returns what remains to the family. At that time it would be appropriate to say the prayers of final commendation in the presence of the remains of the deceased.