The loss of a loved one is perhaps one of the most difficult experiences of our lives. At Saint Thomas the Apostle, we share with you our faith which although we are experiencing sorrow, invites us to know the hope of Jesus' Resurrection. Although arrangements for the Wake/Viewing are made with local funeral homes, the more particular choices for the Funeral Mass are made by one of the Parish Priests or Deacon together with family members.
Viewing in Church:
Because of the active schedule of our Church, please note that it is not possible to host wake-like services in Church for families not choosing a formal wake/viewing in the funeral home.
Language of Mass or Service
A variety of languages can, at times, be accommodated. Whenever possible, it is recommended that the language of those at prayer, and not the deceased loved one, be used for the Mass or service. Those that are not Catholic or not practicing, may choose a service rather than a Mass to remember their loved one.
Participation of Family & Friends
Families are encouraged to choose appropriate scripture readings and church music to dignify the Mass to be celebrated. Family members are encouraged to participate by:
- Participating in the Entrance Procession: Placing the Pall and Crucifix
- Reading from Sacred Scripture at Mass for the 1st and 2nd Readings. (Usually for those who have proclaimed scripture at Masses in the past, and who are knowledgeable of Catholic Customs)
- Share information about their loved one - so that the Priest may provide a homily that expresses the faith life of the person who has passed.
- Completing the funeral information booklet suggesting hymns for the Mass.
Eulogy: words about the one who passed
With increased regularity, families have asked to offer a eulogy during Mass. While Saint Thomas the Apostle allows for one family member to speak after Communion, the following should be considered and followed:
- Words about the deceased in Church should speak about the persons life of faith.
- The entire talk should be no more than 3 minutes so that it participates in the overall balance of the Mass.
- It is encouraged that the person wishing to speak has a conversation before the funeral with the priest visiting the wake or by calling the Parish Office to discuss their anticipated presentation.
- If many wish to speak, or if stories are not respectful of the required atmosphere for Church, families should strongly consider using the time of the wake to share about their loved one. In the same token, non-religious songs and images are more appropriate in the Funeral Home, cemetery or both.
Cremation & Catholic Funerals
Church teaching allows for Catholics to choose cremation. All Catholics are encouraged to be buried using the Funeral Ritual of the Roman Catholic Church.
For those seeking advance information on Cremation and having a Catholic Funeral please click here. Those needing information on Catholic Cemeteries in the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens please check here.