In my Father's house there are many dwelling places...

— John 14:2

The Vigil

  • The Vigil usually takes place at a mortuary service the night before the funeral.

  • The presider may be a priest, a deacon, or a lay minister.

  • The Vigil usually includes an opening invitation and prayer, a reading or a gospel or both, a reflection, a series of petitions concluded with the Our Father, and the final blessing.

  • The Rosary may be recited as part of the service.

  • Eulogies may be offered at the end of the Vigil, if not saved for the funeral the next day.

The Funeral

  • The funeral Mass takes place in a Catholic church or chapel.

  • The body of the baptized Catholic, kept in a casket, may be present.

  • Eulogies may be offered after Holy Communion. Please discuss with the presider regarding number and time limits.

  • Note: Holy Communion is reserved for practicing Catholics.

The Readings for Mass

  • First Reading is taken from the Old Testament and may be read by a practicing Catholic family member or friend.

  • Responsorial Psalm may be sung by the cantor or read by the first reader.

  • Second Reading is taken from the Epistles in the New Testament and may be read by a family member or friend.

  • The Gospel is read by the presider or his assistant deacon or priest.

Family may choose the readings and gospel by clicking on them as highlighted above.


  • Organist and cantor are available.

  • Please discuss music with parish staff.


  • Family provide flowers.

  • Please discuss with parish staff to ensure proper reception of delivery and arrangement in church.

Portrait Photo

  • An easel is available for use.

  • Please check with parish staff.

For further reading, go to the U.S. Bishops' site.

The Burial

  • The burial, arranged by the family with the mortuary service, takes place at the cemetery.

  • The celebrant of the rite may be a priest, a deacon, or lay minister.

  • Prayers of blessing of the grave and farewell are used.

  • The Rite is usually less than half an hour long.


Information on the U.S. Bishops' Site

  • Advanced plans are available.

Check List

Preparation for Mass

  • Biography

  • Readings and Readers

  • Petitions and Reader

  • Eulogy and Speakers

Incense (Body present)

Holy Water