This weekend is a time when people recognize the brave men and women who gave their lives in the Armed Forces of our nation. The roots of Memorial Day are found during the Civil War when women in the South began placing flowers on the graves of their beloved dead. Today we not only remember the War dead but all the faithfully departed.
Now is an excellent opportunity to think about our own funeral. Where do you want your funeral to be held? Several years ago a wonderful faithful Catholic widow died but since her children had fallen away from the practice of the Catholic faith they held her funeral at an Evangelical Church. The family then had the nerve to ask if the Catholic parish could host the luncheon. Now I know this may be an extreme case but it reminds us that sometimes those planning the funeral may not value the importance of the Mass. During a Funeral Mass, the merits of Christ’s sacrifice celebrated at the altar are applied to the deceased, healing the soul from the wounds caused by forgiven sins. We commend the souls of the deceased into the hands of God. We pray that God will forgive their sins and remember them with love.
If your surviving family members are away from the Catholic faith I would encourage you to write out your instructions for your funeral. Share your instructions with your family members, your pastor, and whatever funeral home you would like to use. In this way, there might to an opportunity to welcome family members back to the Catholic Church because mom or dad had a Funeral Mass.
Blessings, Father Dooley
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT Do I value the Mass and see it as healing for the wounds of sins? Does my family attend Catholic Mass? Would it be helpful to survivors to know what I want for my funeral?