The Beauty of the Catholic Funeral
At Farenga Funeral Home, one of our favorite parts of living in Greater Queens and Astoria is helping families from different cultural and faith backgrounds pay tribute to their loved ones. Many in our area find tremendous peace and comfort in their beliefs, customs, and religious traditions – particularly during difficult times, such as when it’s time to plan a funeral. Certainly, our Catholic friends and neighbors are among those whose faith provides hope during life – and when saying a final farewell to a loved one.
Catholic funerals are steeped in customs and rituals that have been around for centuries. At the root, a Catholic funeral offers the reminder that death is not the end. Catholics believe when Jesus died and rose again, He did so to bring hope and eternal life to those who believe in Him. The beauty and meaning of a Catholic funeral emerges from this belief in the resurrection. From the wake (also called the viewing) before the funeral, to the funeral Mass itself, to the graveside committal, loved ones gather together to find comfort and healing.
Wake or viewing
This is an opportunity for family and friends to come together at Farenga Funeral Home and share memories of their loved one, who may be present in an open or closed casket. Sometimes, a brief vigil is conducted that includes readings, music, a short homily or reflection, and prayers for the person who died. Many in the Catholic Church find this the ideal time to share stories and memories of a loved one, and reflect in a more casual, social way.
Catholic Funeral Mass
Most often, a priest leads this service at a church. Throughout the mass, elements of the service emphasize the connection between the baptism and funeral – the beginning of the life and the end. At the opening of the service, the casket or urn is often covered with a pall, or white linen, bringing to mind the baptismal gown. The casket or urn is also blessed with holy water, similar to the blessing giving at baptism. Incense may also be used as a reminder of prayers rising to heaven, along with the soul of the deceased.
Most parishes encourage the family to select hymns and Scripture readings that are meaningful to them, and that flow well with the liturgy. Families may choose to further personalize the service, including elements that reflect the life of their loved one. Farenga Funeral Home offers countless ways to honor your loved one in a unique way, from a balloon or dove release to memory tables and video tributes. We know how important it is to infuse the personality, passions, and accomplishments of a loved one into the service itself.
After the mass, a gathering may take place at a cemetery or mausoleum. The Catholic Church prefers Catholics be buried in a Catholic cemetery, but other cemeteries may be chosen. The casket or urn is then committed to the final resting place.
If you are interested in putting your own funeral plans in place, Gus Antonopoulos and our staff are here to walk you through the process. By making these decisions now, you take control of the details while removing that responsibility from those closest to you. Our team is available anytime to answer questions and help you make arrangements so you can put your needs and wishes in writing. Contact us at your convenience.