When the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given, the hoped-for effect is that, if it be God's will, the person be physically healed of illness. But even if there is no physical healing, the primary effect of the Sacrament is a spiritual healing by which the sick person receives the Holy Spirit's gift of peace and courage to deal with the difficulties that accompany serious illness or the frailty of old age.
If you or a loved one is in need of the Sacrament of the Sick, please let your caregiver/hospital/nursing home/hospice staff know you are Catholic. You do not need to wait until death is near to celebrate the Sacrament of the Sick.
Please call the Parish Office at 260-665-2259 to let our priests know.
Any member of the faithful can receive this sacrament as soon as he or she begins to be dangerously ill or has reached old age. The faithful can receive the sacrament several times if their illness becomes worse or another serious sickness afflicts them. The celebration of this sacrament should, if possible, be preceded by individual confession on the part of the sick person.
Once death has occurred...
Often, the best place to start is to contact the funeral home. The staff there can give you guidance on legal procedures and other things you need to know. Let them know that your loved one was Catholic.
Funerals are for the living as well as for the deceased. This is especially true when different family members belong to different religions. Usually, a person wishes to be buried in his or her own church, and it is a sacred duty to respect the known will of the deceased. Yet it is important that the whole family can be part of the funeral, and sometimes exceptions must be made.
Catholic services for the departed consist of three parts:
A wake or a vigil is usually offered for the deceased. Sometimes called the visitation or calling hours, the wake is often held at the funeral home the afternoon or evening proceeding the funeral. At the wake, the whole Christian community offers prayer for our sister or brother who has died. The service can be done in different ways: visitations with the family, an evening prayer service, a rosary. A priest is often present, but not always.
The funeral itself takes place in the Church. There is usually a Mass. Please talk with the priest to arrange for this. The body of the deceased should usually be present for the funeral Mass - if you choose cremation, please arrange to have the cremation delayed until after the funeral Mass. Exceptions, however, can be made, and Mass can be celebrated with the ashes present. Eulogies are not part of the funeral Mass (but might be arranged elsewhere, for example at the wake).
Internment (burial) is part of the ritual. Usually all those present in the Church are asked to accompany the deceased to his or her final place of rest. In the case of cremation, the family can arrange for the priest to attend the internment of the burial urn.
Some advice on planning the services:
Both the funeral home and the parish staff want to be as helpful as we can in the planning of the funeral of your loved one. We would ask you to consider things like:
Ceremonial roles at the liturgies - there are pall bearers, lectors (readers), altar servers, communion ministers, gift bearers, ushers and musicians. You may choose to ask friends and family to fulfill these roles in honor of the deceased; the parish can also find volunteers to help. At the vigil (wake), some families choose to ask one or a few people to offer a brief reflection or eulogy.
Biblical readings - there are usually four readings from the Holy Scriptures, including a reading from the Old Testament, a Psalm, a reading from the New Testament and a Gospel. Often, the readings reflect the faith of the deceased. Many people choose readings in advance for their own funeral, and we should honor this choice. The Catholic Bishops of the United States list the common readings here. In addition, the website Catholic Sensibility lists these readings and more in an easy-to-use format.
Music - our parish organists will be happy to help you in choosing hymns and other appropriate music. You can also arrange for other musicians, in coordination with the pastor and the parish staff.
Hospitality - will you provide a luncheon or other refreshments for the funeral guests? Most of the time, our parish hall is available for funeral luncheons, and the members of the Altar and Rosary Society are very happy to prepare the meal. Just ask. You may, of course, make other arrangements instead.
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