As a Christian community, we mourn together, pray together and hope together whenever a member of our parish passes away from this world. Just as we celebrate our entrance into the Church through baptism, we want to celebrate returning to our heavenly home.
As soon as any member of our parish first begins to be in danger of death due to sickness or old age, a caregiver should arrange for the parish pastor or a chaplain to visit and celebrate the sacraments of Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion. If death draws near, these sacraments are celebrated as the Last Sacraments on the journey to the next life.
PARISH FUNERAL POLICY
- When a member of the faithful passes away, a relative or friend should contact a priest to arrange a fitting time for the Vigil, Funeral and Committal.
- Funerals are public rites, in which all members of the parish are invited to participate.
- Catholic priests from other parishes are welcome to offer funerals in our church. If the desired priest is from another diocese, he will need to present a letter from his bishop to our parish pastor. A deacon can offer the Vigil and Committal, and, if there is to be no Mass, the Funeral.
- If the Rite of Committal is to occur in a different parish, the local pastor should be informed as soon as possible.
- The family may provide liturgical ministers such as altar servers, lectors and cantors, especially if these are Catholics who actively provide this ministry in their parish.
- The Funeral Mass is offered in the parish church, rather than at a funeral parlor. Otherwise, it is possible to offer a Funeral without a Mass at a funeral parlor.
- Alteration of the church interior with pictures, mementos, etc., requires supervision from the parish sacristan.
- Music, including use of parish musical instruments and/or our sound system, takes place under the supervision of our Director of Liturgical Music. The parish provides musicians for the funerals of registered parishioners. All other musicians must be approved by the DLM. The music itself must be sacred music approved for liturgical use by the bishop of Knoxville. No other music is permitted inside the church.
- In accordance with the Roman Ritual, texts for the funeral rites are selected by the officiating priest or deacon after consultation with the family.
- Cremation is permitted, but the Church prefers, if possible, that the body of the deceased be present for the Vigil and the Funeral Mass, even if cremation follows.
- One friend of the family may speak briefly in memory of the departed. This takes place following the Prayer after Communion, and not during the Communion meditation.
- If the departed was a registered member of our parish, then the parish will usually offer to provide a reception for visiting mourners, to take place after the Committal.