Funerals at Holy Cross
We will help you plan the Church ceremonies for your loved one that we hope will provide faith-filled comfort to your family and friends.
The Funeral rites are a combination of public prayers as well as moments of personal prayer and quiet meditation. They are also a time to feel the support of God, your family, and close friends. In these prayers, scripture readings, eulogies, music, and special blessings, we pray for the deceased, support each other, and affirm our belief in the resurrection.
As soon as death has occurred:
Please call our parish office at (805) 529-1397 and the Funeral Home or Mortuary o arrange and schedule funeral services at the church. They will retrieve the body from the hospital or home for the appropriate preparations. They will also be able to tell you when the body will be ready for the services. It is best to contact the Church right from the Mortuary Office so that all schedules can be coordinated at the same time. That will avoid having to change plans later. Then contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and alert us that you will need assitance for the scheduled funeral ceremonies.
We will then invite you to meet with one of our trained Bereavement ministers who will respectfully help you plan the funeral ceremonies.
Cremated remains are placed in an urn and returned to the family by the Mortuary. The urn may or may not be present for the funeral service, as the family wishes. If present, it is usually placed on a small table near the altar, sometimes accompanied by pictures and other appropriate religious items. We encourage the interment of cremated remains in a cemetery where both family and friends can continue to pay their respects in the years to come. The Catholic Church does not encourage “scattering” even if the deceased expressed an interest in that custom. The funeral rites are both for the repose of the soul of the deceased and for the spiritual support of the living, as well as an affirmation of our faith in the Lord. Family and friends should have a respectful place to go in which they can continue to remember the deceased.
Sometimes family and friends will want to gather in the evening before the funeral service. This usually takes place at the Mortuary Chapel. It is an extended time for friends to visit with the immediate family and offer condolences. There may be a prayer service as well, most often led by one of our Deacons, which is a simple sequence of opening prayers, scripture readings that the family may choose, a short homily by the Deacon, a rosary, eulogies for the deceased, and final prayers and blessings. This may be followed by further sharing with family and friends as the family wishes.
Funeral Prayer Service:
This is a prayer service that has the same structure as the Vigil and is done in those circumstances where the family would prefer to have a funeral service without a Mass. It can be scheduled either in the Church or Funeral Home.
Most of the time, the funeral rites will include a Catholic Mass, in which we affirm the presence and gift of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, a sign of our unity of faith, and a promise of the Heavenly banquet we hope to enjoy with Him forever. The body may or may not be present for the Mass. If present, the ceremony begins at the entrance to the church with ceremonies that recall our Baptism because the deceased is entering a “new life” of faith just as he or she did at baptism. The casket is blessed with Holy Water and then covered with the Pall a large white baptismal cloth. After processing down the aisle, the pallbearers and family take their place in the pews and the Funeral Mass (or Funeral Prayer Service) continues.
The family may choose the readings at mass as well as those who will proclaim them. The readers will have a chance to practice before the ceremony. Your Bereavement Minister will assist with this.
These are brief three to four-minute talks that express the character and admirable virtues of the deceased. At the end of the eulogy we should have a sense of those qualities of the deceased that are worthy of emulation by everyone attending. We encourage you to consider asking one or two people, either family or friends, to give a eulogy at the funeral. We certainly understand that public speaking at this time can be a challenge. Not everyone is used to standing in front of an audience at such an emotional time. That is why preparing a written eulogy is so important. It prevents the embarrassment of any accidental disclosure of personal family information as well as ensuring the speaker will stay on track and not be distracted by grief or side stories. To help ensure a respectful and dignified eulogy, we must ask that anything spoken from the altar must be written out before hand and sent to our Bereavement Minister the day before. To protect the dignity of the deceased and the family we cannot have a eulogy that is not sent in the day before.
Our Music Director will oversee the music for the ceremony and offer guidance on appropriate selections. Music during the ceremony should be of a religious nature but some secular music important to the family can be appropriate depending on the musical style and lyrics. Some secular selections might be more appropriate at the vigil or perhaps at a reception afterwards.
This may occur immediately after the funeral or at a later date as planned with the Mortuary. At the cemetery, friends and family gather at the gravesite. The Priest or Deacon will lead a brief rite to bless the ground and offer final prayers for the deceased. It is an opportunity for further eulogies as well. If so indicated, there might be a service by the military to honor service to our country. Other ceremonies, such as releasing of doves, balloons, or playing of special music are all possible as well.
Holy Cross has a large parish hall (Cosgrove Center) that may be available for a simple reception following the services. Our Bereavement Minister can discuss that with you. It would be open right after the funeral for those who cannot go to the cemetery and remain open for those returning from there. It is a simple arrangement of tables and chairs for family and friends to have a light lunch and continue their support for each other.
We will ask your permission to continue to pray for the deceased in our Prayer of the Faithful at the Sunday Masses. This is the prayer right after the Homily and the Creed in which we mention all those who have died recently and invite the congregation to offer prayers on their behalf to God. We will also remember them on All Souls Day (November 2nd) which is the yearly anniversary Mass for all who have died that year.