Mass of Christian Burial

stpatsfuneralIf you are visiting this page due to the deathof a loved one, please accept our sincere condolences.  Be assured of our prayers for the happy repose of their sole, and that you and your family may be consoled in your grief.

The following information is provided to assist in the preparation of the Mass of Christian Burial at St. Patrick’s Church.

The Rites of the Church

All the baptised are entitled to the full Rite of Christian Burial.  You and your family will experience the Rite of Christian Burial in three distinct and important parts:

The Wake Service

This will take place during the visiting hours at the funeral home you have chosen, or at your family home.  A priest or commissioned member of the parish will lead this service of prayer and scripture.  At this time someone from the family, or a friend, may wish to remember the deceased by sharing personal memories, as in a eulogy.

The Funeral Liturgy

This is the most important part of the celebration of Christian Burial.  This is almost always celebrated within a Mass.  The bodily remains are honoured by being brought to the church.  We celebrate the life of the deceased in the whole context of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

The Committal

A priest, deacon or commissioned member of the parish will accompany the deceased’s remains and the family to the cemetery, where the Rite of Christian Burial will conclude with the prayers of Committal and Final Commendation.  Should one wish to speak in memory of the deceased, as in a eulogy or a remembrance, the Funeral Rite allows for such to usually take place as part of the Prayer of Commendation that will be prayed at the cemetery.

Those wishing to have their deceased love one’s remains cremated should consider having their ashes reposed or ‘inurned’ in St. Joseph’s Columbarum, located within the precincts of the church. More information is available here.

The Time and Place of the Funeral Liturgy

A funeral may be celebrated on any day of the week except Sundays and Holy Days.  There are also some restrictions concerning funerals during Holy Week.  The priest will discuss these restrictions as they apply.

The funeral liturgy is ordinarily celebrated in the parish church.

Planning the Funeral Liturgy

The funeral liturgy is one of the most beautiful and meaningful celebrations of the Church.  Your family has the option of personalising the Mass by choosing the scripture readings and by requesting specific hymns.


When choosing passages from scripture, there should be one reading, either from the Old or New Testaments.  Although you can choose from the whole Bible, the texts contained within this document are especially appropriate (READ MORE HERE).


The organist and choir mistress at St. Patrick’s is Miss Nuala Murray.  Please contact Nuala, or our former choir mistress, Mrs Rita Goldsmith, through the parish office. Local undertakers can also provide you with a list of church-approved musicians.

Please know that only sacred music is appropriate for a Mass of Christian Burial and only sacred music can be used at St. Patrick’s. Pop music, West End show tunes, Rock songs or folk songs are not permitted for the Mass of Christian Burial.  Church-approved musicians can guide you in tasteful and appropriate music choices.

Remarks of Remembrance

The parish policy is as follows: eulogies are not allowed in any circumstance. Brief Remarks of Remembrance about the deceased are permitted but only if certain rules are followed.

We encourage families to write their own remembrances of the deceased and give them to the priest-celebrant so he may properly prepare the homily for the Mass.

Remarks of Remembrance should properly be delivered by a family member or friend at the wake, burial site/crematorium or at the reception following the Mass.

However, if, in the most exceptional of circumstances, Remarks of Remembrance are to be delivered at the Mass of Christian Burial in St. Patrick’s, family members and friends are reminded of the following guidelines, all of which are strictly observed:

  • Only one person may deliver the Remarks of Remembrance
  • These remarks are to be delivered after the Rite of Final Commendation from a lectern and the person is to wait until invited forward by the celebrant of the Mass
  • These remarks must not exceed five minutes, they must be brief. We ask you to remember the proverb: ‘Brevity is the soul of wit.’ This proverb is based on the words of Polonius in ‘Hamlet’ by William Shakespeare: ‘Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit, And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief...’
  • These remarks must be prepared in advance, type-written, and limited to two pages double spaced
  • A copy must be provided in advance of the Mass to the parish office by email no later than 6pm on the evening before the Mass of Christian Burial.
  • In preparing the Remarks of Remembrance please be mindful of the following:
    • they must reflect the faithful departed’s Catholic faith and his/her relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church
    • they must not focus upon the hobbies, cooking, pastimes, sports teams, pets, alcohol consumption, etc. of the deceased
    • if humour is to be used it must be used with discretion
    • the remarks should not be simply a re-reading of the deceased’s obituary
    • there must be no use of inappropriate humour, offensive words, or foul language at anytime
    • these remarks are being offered at Holy Mass before Jesus Christ truly present in the Blessed Sacrament and should reflect proper reverence and decorum
    • remember these remarks should not be trivial, light-hearted or exceedingly humorous but rather reflect the nature of the event, namely Christian faith, hope and joy