There are a variety of ways of celebrating a funeral in a Catholic context. The first and best option is a funeral Mass in Church. This does not need to be very long, but the sacred nature of the liturgy needs to be respected. Therefore the order of Mass must be followed and secular music is not permitted. A relative or friend of the deceased may speak briefly in their memory at the beginning of the service. This should be a reflection on their qualities rather than a potted history of their entire life. It needs to be copied to the priest at least a day before the Funeral Mass. Long, anecdotal ‘eulogies’ are best performed at the wake or social gathering afterwards.

A funeral Mass is followed either by burial or cremation. Ashes should be buried at a later date and the priest can perform a brief prayer service on this occasion.The body can be brought into church the previous evening, though this is not necessary.

The priest can also conduct a service at the crematorium, and it is worth noting that cremation does not have to follow. Since this is a secular environment the priest can either offer either a simple Catholic liturgy, or conduct a semi-secular service in accordance with the family’s wishes.