Funeral Rite

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. — Matthew 5:4

We are never ready for the death of a loved one. At Saint Bonaventure Church it is our hope to ease your burden by offering the following information to help you plan the liturgy for your loved one who has passed to eternal life.  When a loved one dies the parish priests and staff are available to assist you in making preparations for the Catholic funeral. Please call the St. Bonaventure parish office at 714-846-3359 ext. 0. Before setting a date for the funeral, it is important to first call the office to check availability.

Catholic Funerals

The celebration of the Christian funeral brings hope and consolation to the living. While proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and witnessing to Christian hope in the resurrection, the funeral rites also recall to all who take part in them God’s mercy and judgment and meet the human need to turn always to God in times of crisis.  —Order of Christian Funerals, #7

Every Catholic, unless specifically excluded by the norms of law, is entitled to the Church’s ministry at the time of death.

A child who dies before baptism or a stillborn or miscarried child may be given Catholic Funeral Rites if the parents intended to have the child baptized.

The Church encourages the burial of Catholics in Catholic cemeteries. Burial in the blessed ground of a Catholic cemetery is a sign of baptismal commitment and gives witness, even in death, to faith in Christ’s resurrection. To foster and respect family bonds, non-Catholic members of Catholic families may be interred in a Catholic cemetery. For information about Catholic Cemeteries visit


The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the dead be observed; it does not, however, forbid cremation unless it has been chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teachings. —Code of Canon Law, 1176

Cremated remains should be treated with the same respect given to the remains of a human body, and should be entombed or buried, whether in the ground or at sea. The scattering of cremated remains on the ground or on the sea or keeping any portion of the remains in individual containers as a remembrance is not the reverent final disposition that the Church directs. It should be noted that burial at sea of cremated remains differs from scattering. An appropriate and worthy container, heavy enough to be sent to its final resting place, may be dropped into the sea.

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From Death to Life

Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.  — Matthew 28:5-6

The model for Catholic funerals is the Easter journey of Jesus Christ from his death to his resurrection. Following his example, we are encouraged to celebrate the funeral in three stages: Vigil, Funeral Mass and Rite of Committal.

Vigil for the Deceased

The Vigil is often the time when family, friends and members of the parish community gather for prayer and support in remembrance of their loved one.

Funeral Mass

The Funeral Mass is the central liturgy of the Christian funeral. The Funeral Mass, at which a priest presides, takes place in the parish church, normally on the day of the burial. The Eucharist, for Catholics, is part of the Mass.

The Funeral Liturgy Outside Mass

The Funeral Liturgy Outside Mass is celebrated when a Mass is not possible or not deemed appropriate. Pastoral advice from the priest is essential in determining what is appropriate.

Rite of Committal

The Rite of Committal is the final act of the community of faith in caring for the body of its deceased member. It is celebrated at the graveside, mausoleum or cemetery chapel, by a priest, deacon, or qualified lay person.

For a complete list of important information in funeral planning, please see Funeral Planning below.

 Back to Funerals

Planning a Catholic Funeral 

at St. Bonaventure Church


Selection of Readings

A priest will help families select appropriate Bible passages for the Funeral Mass using the booklet “Through Death to Life” by Joseph M. Champlin. Family members or friends may serve as lectors. Those chosen to read should be comfortable with public speaking.


A priest will help families select appropriate music for the Funeral Mass using a list of approved songs provided by St. Bonaventure Music Ministry. Since sung music within the funeral rites is “sung prayer,” secular music (live or recorded) is not permitted during funeral liturgies. An instrumentalist, a cantor, and even a choir, where possible, should assist the full participation of the assembly in the songs, responses, and acclamations of the funeral rites.

Words of Remembrance

The Funeral Rites provide the opportunity to share words of remembrance about the deceased. The remembrance should concentrate on the loved one’s faith and hope in Jesus Christ. Words should be brief, less than five minutes, written and reviewed by the presider beforehand. At the Funeral Mass there should not be more than two speakers. The following is necessary information when planning your loved one's funeral:

People needed

q  2 people for readings and intercessions

q  2 people for gifts

q  Family members for the pall

q  Contact phone numbers

q  Arrive 30 minutes before the funeral


q  If it is expected there would an abundance of flowers you may want to have a charity in mind in lieu of flowers.


q  One approximately 8 x 10 and a small one for the memory board.

Biography with the following information

q  Where Born

q  Baptized

q  Heritage

q  Schools

q  Careers and where worked

q  Married – how long

q  Children and names

q  Grandchildren and names

q  Characteristics

q  Hobbies

q  Died (when, sick how long)

q  Anointed

If deceased is to be cremated – cremation takes a minimum of 5 days to obtain the ashes.

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Information to help you when meeting with the Priest to plan the funeral for your loved one.

  1. A family member or friend may be invited by the Priest to come forward prior to the beginning of the funeral Mass to say a few words of remembrance (not to exceed five minutes or one page of typewritten material).

  2. A funeral Mass may be celebrated in the morning, afternoon or on some weekday evening depending on the availability of the Church and Priest.

  3. The Scriptural and Vigil service is the preferred form community prayer the night or day before the Funeral Mass and may be held in the mortuary or in the church.

  4. The Rosary may also be prayed in the Church or mortuary.

  5. The family is invited to choose the Old Testament, New Testament, and Gospel readings during the funeral planning meeting. A book of various readings will be made available for review at this time.

  6. Normally the Responsorial Psalm is sung and is chosen by the Music Director. If the family has a preference the Music Director will try to accommodate them.

  7. Family members or friends may read the Old Testament Reading, New Testament Reading, and the Funeral intercessions. Copies of the chosen readings will be made available so that the readers will be able to practice the readings, and acquaint themselves with the microphone before Mass begins. Scripture readings are read from the ambo (pulpit).

  8. The family will also be asked to choose gift presenters.

  9. The gifts of bread and wine may be brought to the altar by members of the family or by friends.

  10. If a large number of people are expected to receive Communion an additional Eucharistic Minister will be prepared to assist.

  11. The priest may extend to the congregation an invitation to accompany the family to the cemetery if burial is after the Mass.

  12. The priest will notify you of all fees for services.

For information about Cemeteries

Catholic Cemeteries