Parish Life

Funeral Rites

Funeral rites offer Christian worship and thanksgiving to God. We pray for the deceased, and support the bereaved. The model for Catholic funerals is the Easter journey of Jesus Christ from death to resurrection. This is why we are encouraged to celebrate the funeral in three stages: prayer vigil, funeral liturgy, and committal.
Funeral practice varies considerably, and the Church provides several options from which we can choose freely. There is always flexibility here so please discuss your needs with Father Jonathan.

Prayer Vigil
This is the principal rite celebrated between death and the funeral itself. It is the first stage of the farewell journey helping to prepare the bereaved for the final leave-taking. The Vigil or wake may be held in the home of the deceased, the funeral home, or in another suitable place. It may also be celebrated in church. The body of the deceased may be present, but this is not necessary. The form of the service is a simple Liturgy of the Word of God or Evening Prayer.

Funeral Liturgy
This part of the funeral rites is the main celebration of the Christian community for the deceased person. It is usually celebrated in the parish church where the local community gathers for the Sunday Eucharist. Sometimes people may celebrate the Funeral Liturgy in a crematorium or cemetery chapel. Two forms are possible: a funeral Mass, (also called the Requiem Mass) or a funeral liturgy outside Mass.

The Church encourages a Mass since the Eucharist remembers and celebrates Christ’s own death and resurrection. However, while the Eucharist is our central liturgy, it is not always the best option for every funeral. To celebrate a funeral without Mass is a truly valid form of Catholic worship.

The rite of committal usually follows on immediately from the funeral liturgy. This final act of leavetaking is celebrated at the graveside or at the crematorium. When a body is cremated the funeral liturgy is concluded with the interring of ashes
sometime afterwards

Please tell your family and/or put in writing your wish to have a Funeral Mass in your Church in the event of your death.

O Lord, support us all the day long of this troublous life,
until shadows lengthen, and evening comes, and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over, and our work is done.
Then, Lord, in thy mercy, grant us a safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at last.
Cardinal Newman

In the event of a death of a parishioner or family member please inform the Funeral Directors that you would like a Funeral Mass in the Church.

For more information about funeral rites please contact the parish office or priest, Father Jonathan.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace

Blessed Sacrament Church, 29 Fore Street, Heavitree, Exeter EX1 2QJ
Telephone: 01392 274724 Email: