Funeral Liturgy Planning
“Lord, for your faithful people life is changed, not ended.”
The clergy and staff at the Cathedral are here to assist you throughout the preparation of your loved one’s funeral. We offer this Funeral Planning information to assist families in funeral preparation, for those who have just lost a loved one or for those who are making funeral preparations for themselves. This form is meant only to help with general preparation; for specific details, please ask a priest to assist you: Funeral Preparations Worksheet (legal paper).
You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Catholic funeral rites? There are many opportunities for prayer after death, such as gathering at the funeral home and viewing the body. The Church offers three formal services, all or some of which may be used:
• Vigil for the Deceased: The evening before the funeral, a Vigil may be scheduled with visitation. The Vigil is held at the funeral home or church. Devotions, such as the Rosary, and remembrances of the deceased (eulogy) are encouraged at this time.
• Funeral Mass: The Eucharist is the heart of the Paschal Mystery, when we celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord and our participation in that mystery. The Mass is offered for the person who has died. (Eulogies are not appropriate at a Funeral Mass.)
• Graveside Service: The Rite of Committal is celebrated at the place of burial or interment.
Who assists with funeral preparations? The funeral rites are planned in coordination with the family of the deceased, the Parish Staff (including the priest and music director), and the funeral home director. With assistance of the funeral home, we help the family with funeral planning. Members of our St Raphael Guild (Cathedral parishioners) also assist during the funeral as greeters, altar servers, Ministers of Holy Communion and Lectors.
When do funeral preparations begin? Before or immediately upon the death of a loved one, families should contact the Church Office. Advance preparation for funeral services is recommended; contact the Church any time to make funeral preparations for yourself or a loved one.
Does the Church recommend a Funeral Mass? Yes, a celebration of the Mass is strongly encouraged for any Catholic who has died, even though the family may not be Catholic. On days when a Funeral Mass is not permitted, a prayer service is celebrated, such as Sundays, Holy Days of Obligation, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
Is a Funeral Mass allowed on Holy Days of Obligation? Funeral Masses are not allowed on Holy Days of Obligation, which includes Sundays, Mary Mother of God, Assumption of Mary, All Saints and Immaculate Conception.
Can I choose the readings, or does the Church choose them? The family is encouraged to select readings from Sacred Scripture. Click here for selection of possible readings.
Can I choose the hymns for the Mass? The family is encouraged to meet with our Cathedral Music Director to plan all music liturgy. Please be aware that there are a fixed number of liturgical texts at a funeral Mass. Also, note that recorded, secular and Protestant music is not allowed. A Cathedral cantor will sing for the funeral. A list of most appropriate and common hymns are found here: Funeral Music Selections.
What times are available for funerals at the Cathedral? The Cathedral will make every effort to set a funeral time convenient for the family. However, the Cathedral campus can be very busy, with two schools and a noon Mass. Weekday funerals take place at 10:00 am or 1:00 pm. Saturday funerals allow for slightly more flexibility in time. Funeral Masses cannot take place on Sunday.
Can we choose to use St. Michael Chapel instead of the Cathedral? Yes, for funerals at which fewer than 100 people are expected, St Michael is ideal. The Cathedral has a capacity of 650.
If there is no visitation the evening before, can we have a visitation hour before the funeral? Though this does not happen frequently, with the permission of the pastor, a visitation can take place beginning one hour before the funeral.
Can I have friends and family members offer a Eulogy? Yes, but not during a Mass. Eulogies are appropriate at the Vigil and at the Graveside.
What if my family member wants to donate his/her body to science, what do we need to know? The Church views donation of organs as a commendable and meritorious act, as well as a donation of one’s body. A Funeral Mass takes place in the presence of the body (before donation to science). Otherwise a Memorial Mass is held if the body is not present.
Does the Catholic Church allow cremation? Yes, the Church permits cremation, [CCC 2301] but the Church still prefers burial or entombment of the deceased. Click here to learn more about the Church’s view on Cremation.
If my family and friends cannot be present, is there a live webcam they can watch? Yes, the family can request that the webcam be turned on so that the funeral can be viewed live on our website.
Does the Church charge for funerals? The Church does not charge for funerals. At the family’s discretion, an offering is often made to the celebrant. Please contact the Director of Sacred Music for information on offerings for the organist and cantor.
Can I bring flowers into the Church? Flowers may be brought into the foyer of the church. An arrangement may be placed at the foot of the table holding the funeral urn. Artificial flowers are not allowed. Flowers are NOT placed next to a coffin or an urn. The only flowers allowed in the Cathedral sanctuary are two identical floral arrangements, supplied by the family, that are large enough to place on the high altar (marble reredos). Contact Mary Kay in the church office as soon as possible to discuss this.
Can I bring pictures/portraits/collages into the Church? Such framed pictures are more appropriate at the Funeral Home, not the church. One framed photograph/portrait may be brought into the foyer of the church — NOT into the sanctuary or next to a coffin or an urn.
May I request that a priest from another parish preside at a funeral at the Cathedral? Yes, visiting priests are welcomed at the Cathedral. If they are outside the Diocese of Shreveport and presiding at the Mass, they will need to submit a Letter of Suitability from their bishop.
Read the document: Approaching Death: The Moral Choices
At the funeral Mass, we pray for the deceased…
readings may be chosen by the family, together with the priest,
so that the readings are most appropriate
for the occasion and for those who mourn.
The following readings are most commonly requested.
Funeral Mass Readings