Q: I went to a visitation this afternoon for the father of a friend. The plan was to have a rosary followed by a memorial mass. The body would then be transported back to Florida where he had been a deacon for 20 years. In Florida would be the funeral mass. The body was in the narthex and I was told that the body could not be present in the church for two masses. So the mass this evening was without the body in the church. It is the first time I had encountered this and was wondering what is the actual requirement for this type of situation?
A: I’m unaware of any law forbidding the presence of the body for two masses, but the Order of Christian Funerals only envisions one mass. Even so, it’d seem inappropriate to have a mass with the body in the narthex.