“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)
At St. Mark, we grieve with you at the loss of your loved one and are here to console and minister to you. The funeral liturgy is the central liturgical celebration of the Christian community for the deceased. When one of its members dies, the Church encourages the celebration of the funeral liturgy at a Mass. At the funeral liturgy, the Church gathers with the family and friends of the deceased to give praise and thanks to God for Christ’s victory over sin and death, to commend the deceased to God’s tender mercy and compassion, and to seek strength in the proclamation of the Paschal Mystery. The funeral liturgy, therefore, is an act of worship and thanksgiving.
What to do when a death occurs?
When a loved one dies, it can be a time of great stress and emotion. It may be difficult to make decisions or know what to do, especially if the death is sudden. Making a phone call to the parish at 206-364-7900 is one of the first steps. Fr. Mulholland or a staff member will walk you through the process.
- Call the parish and speak to Fr. Mulholland. He will confirm which dates/times he is available for the funeral liturgy. We are unable to provide funerals on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, or Holy Days. The Funeral Mass time is 11 AM.
- Notify immediate family members who are not already present. Even before the funeral arrangements are confirmed, someone should telephone those most closely affected by the death. Follow up calls with details can be done later, either personally or through a trusted friend or relative.
- Contact a funeral director to make arrangements for the body to be taken to the funeral home. Set up an appointment with the funeral home and let the representative know which date and time Fr. Mulholland is available for the Funeral Mass. If you need help finding a funeral home, please call Veronica Olson in the parish office and she will be happy to provide recommendations.
How is the funeral liturgy planned?
A normal Christian burial, as outlined in the Order of Christian Funerals, consists of three separate ceremonies: the Vigil Service (viewing and/or rosary), the Funeral Liturgy/Mass, and the Rite of Committal. Once a date is confirmed with Father, you will meet with funeral director Veronica Olson to plan the liturgy. Call 206-364-7900 or email her at [email protected] to schedule a time to meet. To ease the burden on the family and to ensure the sacredness and reverence of the Liturgy, the parish provides the Altar Servers, Sacristan, Lector, Musicians, and Priest – all of whom are specially trained to serve at Funeral Masses.
- Vigil/Rosary: The vigil viewing of the deceased and/or rosary can be done at the funeral home the night before the funeral. The Church is not available for vigil viewings the night before, however, the praying of the rosary and/or a viewing can take place at the Church on the day of the Funeral, 30 minutes prior to the Funeral Mass. Either a family member, friend or the parish lector can lead the rosary.
- Eulogy: One designated individual may give a 5-7 minute remembrance of faith talk/eulogy right before the Funeral Mass begins. As the Order of Christian Funerals (OCF 27) states that “there is never to be a eulogy” within the context of the Mass, if you would like to present a eulogy, we welcome it either before the Mass as previously stated, at the funeral home vigil the night before, at the reception after the Mass, or at the burial.
- Presence of the Body: It is the Church’s preference that the body of the deceased be present for the Funeral Liturgy. Cremation and proper committal should normally occur after the Funeral Mass, however we offer funerals for both full body and cremation presentation. The Catholic Church’s Order for Christian Funerals states: “The Christian faithful are unequivocally confronted by the mystery of life and death when they are faced with the presence of the body of one who has died…The body was once washed in the waters of baptism, anointed with the oil of salvation, and fed with the Bread of life. The presence of the body brings forcefully to mind the Church’s conviction that the human body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, destined for future glory at the resurrection of the dead.”
- Committal Rite: Let Fr. Mulholland know at which cemetery the burial is to take place and at what time. The committal normally takes place right after the Funeral Mass or reception. “The Rite of Committal, the conclusion of the funeral rite, is the final act of the community of faith in caring for the body of its deceased member. It should normally be celebrated at the place of committal, that is, beside the open grave or place of interment. In committing the body to its resting place, the community expresses the hope that, with all those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, the deceased awaits the glory of the resurrection. The Rite of Committal is an expression of the communion that exists between the Church on earth and the Church in heaven: the deceased passes with the farewell prayers of the community of believers into the welcoming company of those who need faith no longer, but see God face-to-face.” (USCCB)
- Liturgical Music: Contact our Music Director, Greg Teeter to discuss music options and song selections. You can reach him at [email protected] or 206-420-2616. Our professionally trained cantor will provide the singing.
- Scripture Readings: The family may choose the First Reading from the Old Testament and the Second Reading from the New Testament from the Order of Christian Funerals which we will provide to you at the funeral planning meeting. Fr. Mulholland will choose the Gospel reading as he will base his homily on this passage. The Music Director will choose the Psalm as the cantor sings this with accompaniment. One of our trained volunteer parish lectors will proclaim the readings and the prayers of the faithful.
- Gift Bearing: The family has the option to choose two individuals who will be comfortable to bring up the gifts of bread and wine at the Offertory time of the Mass. Veronica Olson will give them instructions and practice with them before the Mass. If you do not wish to have anyone bring up the gifts, the altar servers will present the gifts.
- Reception: Hospitality after the funeral is a top priority at St. Mark Parish. Friends and family gather together to share memories and enjoy a simple meal. Our funeral committee provides coffee, punch, desserts, salads, utensils, plates, napkins, cups, decorations and seating for up to 90 people in Sullivan Hall. There are many local venues that you can rent if you are expecting more people than that in attendance and we will be happy to provide you with suggestions. If holding a reception at St. Mark, the family is asked to cover the out-of-pocket cost for pre-made sandwiches that we order and deliver from Fred Meyer Catering.
Parish Donation: Any amount helps to provide this ministry and a range of $250 to $300 is customary to the Church. $10 for each Altar Server is also appropriate (3 servers total).
Reception: The family assists with the cost of the sandwiches, as follows:
- Food for 50 people: $150
- Food for 75 people: $225
- Food for 100 people: $300
Music: The Liturgical Musicians stipends should be separate checks and are:
- Greg Teeter (organist): $175
- Cantor (singer): $175
Call or email: 206-364-7900 or [email protected]. Ask for Veronica Olson or Fr. Mulholland.