Order of Christian Funerals


The words below, taken from the Order of Christian Funerals, express the sure and certain hope of the community of Saint Joseph Parish that God, who created all men and women in love, will not fail us at the time of death.

"In the face of death, the Church confidently proclaims that God has created each person for eternal life and that Jesus, the Son of God, by his death and resurrection, has broken the chains of sin and death that bound humanity. Christ "achieved his task of redeeming humanity and giving perfect glory to God, principally by the paschal mystery of his blessed passion, resurrection from the dead, and glorious
ascension." (Order of Christian Funerals, No. 1)


"At the death of a Christian, whose life of faith was begun in the waters of baptism and strengthened at the eucharistic table, the Church intercedes on behalf of the deceased because of its confident belief that death is not the end nor does it break the bonds forged in life. The Church also ministers to the sorrowing and consoles them in the funeral rites with the comforting word of God and the sacrament of the eucharist." (Order of Christian Funerals, No. 4)

What to Do at the Time of Death

The circumstances that surround the loss of a loved one and the planning for funeral services may vary widely. Nevertheless, the arrangements typically follow this pattern in whole or in part.

When death has occurred, the family notifies the funeral home which they have selected.

The funeral home contacts Saint Joseph Parish and the process of preparing for the funeral begins.

The family meets with the funeral home staff to make arrangements. The funeral home will call the Parish to confirm dates and times for services which typically include:

•A vigil service or recitation of the rosary at the funeral home;
•The funeral liturgy;
•The committal service at the cemetery.
A member of the parish staff is available to meet with the family or a family representative to finalize details for the funeral services.

The Parish will provide an organist for the funeral Mass or other service in church.

Saint Joseph Parish is glad to be of service at this difficult time and will try to accommodate the needs and wishes of the family.

Some funeral homes provide grief counseling following the funeral. Likewise a member of the parish staff will be happy to meet with members of the family or to provide a referral for additional assistance.

The Order of Christian Funerals at Saint Joseph Parish

The following practical information is provided to help the family and friends of the deceased make the most suitable and helpful arrangements.

Funeral Masses are usually scheduled  Monday through Saturday.

The body of the deceased--with the casket open or closed--may lie in state for 30 minutes in the gathering area of the church before the Mass begins. The funeral liturgy begins in the gathering space ordinarily with the closing of the casket (if open while in state), followed by sprinkling with holy water and the placing of the pall. The procession into the church with the ministers, body of the deceased, family and friends then follows.

An opportunity for prayer is usually scheduled at the funeral home on the day before the funeral. A vigil service (which is a simple service of prayers, a scripture reading, intercessions, the Lord's Prayer and a blessing) is the church's preference; the recitation of the rosary may be planned and will be lead by a member of the parish or the parish staff.

Family members are encouraged to participate fully in all the services.

With regard to cremation, Catholic teaching continues to stress the preference for burial or entombment of the body of the deceased; nevertheless, cremation is now permitted. The church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites and that cremation take place after the full funeral liturgy with the body present. The celebration of the Catholic funeral liturgy may take place in the presence of the cremated remains when the body is cremated before the funeral. In that case, the Order of Christian Funerals, No. 417, clearly states that an appropriate, worthy container such as a classic urn is proper for the cremated remains. The remains are to be properly buried in a cemetery or a columbarium (a permanent place of reposition intended specifically for cremated remains); the practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea or on the ground, keeping them in the home, or dividing them among people or places is not the reverent disposition that the church requires.

In some cases, a service in the funeral home--in lieu of a funeral Mass in the church--may be an appropriate choice. Mass may not be celebrated in the funeral home.

Saint Joseph Parish neither requires nor expects a fee or donation for any funeral service. Likewise, a gift to the priest, deacon, musician or any other parish minister is neither necessary nor expected.

Options in the Order of Christian Funerals

In planning the funeral liturgy, family members have several options which they may exercise as they wish.

Music chosen for the funeral liturgy may be Christian liturgical music (hymns, psalms) or most classical music. Please refer to the music selection sheet for suggestions and return the completed sheet to the Parish Office as soon as possible.

Placing the Pall
At the beginning of the liturgy, while still assembled in the gathering space, the pall (a white cloth) is reverently placed over the casket as a reminder of the white garment the deceased received on the day of baptism. It is appropriate for family or friends to place the pall on the casket.

Scripture Readings
The family may ordinarily choose the Scripture readings from those designated by the church for funerals. If that is your wish, a booklet of selected readings will be provided; please let the Parish Office know your choices as soon as possible.

The family may ask up to three individuals to proclaim the reading(s) and the prayers of the faithful at Mass. It is usually best when readers have had some experience reading publicly. Otherwise, a parish lector will assume the responsibility for this ministry.

Preparation of the Gifts
Family and/or friends may be designated to present the gifts of bread and wine. While there are usually only two items to be presented, any number of persons may participate in the presentation.

Distribution of Communion
Communion may be distributed under both forms (bread and wine) if there are eucharistic ministers among the family and friends of the deceased who wish to exercise their ministry at the funeral Mass. The present discipline of the Church is that only Catholic people may receive the eucharist at a funeral Mass. In the event of any question, please speak to the priest or a member of the parish staff before the funeral Mass begins.

Remarks by Family Member or Friend
It is possible for a family member or friend to speak in memory of the deceased. If this takes place in church, it must be limited to one speaker with brief, carefully prepared remarks and takes place after the distribution of communion. If this takes place at the funeral home, please notify the funeral director; it may precede or follow the prayer service and may include one or two speakers or may permit anyone present to speak in memory of the deceased.

Music for the Order of Christian Funerals

A sung responsorial psalm follows the first reading. One of the following psalms is often used:

          Psalm 23 My Shepherd is the Lord
          Psalm 23 Shepherd Me, O God
          Psalm 25 To you, O Lord, I Lift My Soul
          Psalm 27 The Lord Is My Light and My Salvation
          Psalm 103 The Lord Is Kind and Merciful
          Psalm 103 Loving and Forgiving Are You, O God
          Psalm 116 I will Take the Cup of Life, I will Call God's Name
          Psalm 116 In the Land of the Living, I Will Walk With God
          Psalm 130 With the Lord There is Mercy

Up to four hymns may be selected for congregational singing. The following are suggestions and may be found in the Journeysongs hymnal. (The number in parentheses indicates the number of the hymn in Journeysongs.) This is not a complete list but is meant as a guide for selecting music for the funeral liturgy. For songs not listed, please contact the parish musician.

          Alleluia No. 1 (#439)
          Amazing Grace (#713)
          Ave Maria
          Be Not Afraid (#706)
          For All The Saints (#526)
          Glory and Praise to Our God (#596)
          How Great Thou Art (#628)
          I Received the Living God (#815)
          In Paradisum (#139)
          I Will Lift Up My Eyes (#646)
          Keen in Mind (#589)
          On Eagle's Wings (#704)
          Only a Shadow (#707)
          Only in God (#712)
          Only This I Want (#766)
          Prayer of St. Francis (#738)
          Shelter Me, O God (#724)
          Shall We Gather At The River (#786)
          Song of Farewell (Sands) (#580)
          Song of Farewell (Old 100th) (#137)
          The Strive is O'er (#431)
          We Walk By Faith (#700)
          We Will Rise Again (#714)
          You Are Near (#722)

The Funeral Luncheon

Many families plan a luncheon which follows the committal service at the cemetery (or other funeral service). Such a gathering permits fellowship, hospitality and support at a difficult time.

Your funeral director can provide information on local establishments which can accommodate funeral luncheons.

In addition, as a ministry to the families and friends of a person who has died, the Altar Society of Saint Joseph Parish may provide a luncheon following funeral services.

The ability to provide a luncheon at the Parish is contingent on the availability of parish facilities and the existing parish calendar.

To inquire about the possibility of scheduling a luncheon, please contact the Parish Office. If the facilities are available, a member of the parish staff will be happy to contact the Altar Society on your behalf.

Members of the Altar Society will shop for and prepare the food. Outside catering is not permitted, nor may alcohol be provided or served.

The suggested donation for this service, to help defray the cost to the Altar Society, is $8.00 per person.

Mass Schedules

Weekend Mass
Saturday at 5:00 PM
Sunday at 8:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 12:00 Noon

Weekday Mass
Tuesday at 7:00 PM
Wednesday & Friday at 9:00 AM

Holy Day Mass as Published

Sacraments And Pastoral Concerns

Sacrament of Baptism
The sacrament of baptism is ordinarily celebrated on the second and fourth Sundays of the month following the 12:00 Noon Mass. Please call the Parish Office at 248-446-8700, at least two months in advance in order to make arrangements. There is a required Baptismal prep class which is normally offered on the second Monday of each month. Please call the Parish
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Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
(RCIA) is the process whereby new members are initiated into the Catholic Church through the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and eucharist, and baptized Catholics may complete their initiation. For information, call Brian Roberts, Director of Outreach Ministries Ext. 113..
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Sacrament of Marriage
Please call the Parish Office at least 6 months before the proposed marriage dates in order to arrange for the necessary preparation. An appointment is necessary before a wedding date may be scheduled.
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Order of Christian Funerals
At the time of death, contact the funeral home of your choice. The funeral home will then contact
Saint Joseph Parish.
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Registration in the Parish:
You may come to the parish office or call 248-446-8700, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM.
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Interpeter for Hearing Impaired at 5:00 PM Mass on the third Saturday of each Month.