If you would like to prepare your own funeral in advance, we have booklets to help you select readings and hymns. It actually is a wonderful thing to do for your family. You might also meet with a local funeral home to select and pre-pay for your arrangements which is a real gift to your family. If you need to make arrangements for a friend or family member, begin by contacting the funeral home. The funeral home will then contact the parish or Sr. Janet to confirm date, time, and availability of the priest. Following this, those making the arrangements need to meet with Sr. Janet to select readings, hymns, and determine who may be helping with liturgical duties during the funeral liturgy: readers, gift bearers, extraordinary ministers of communion. It is Catholic practice to have a Vigil/Wake Service the evening before the funeral.
During the Vigil/Wake Service, a few simple songs and readings are shared. The presider may share some facts or memories about the deceased or the family may opt to appoint one person to share the memories or invite others to share, but this is not required. The Rosary is not a substitute for the Vigil Service. Families may certainly pray the Rosary as part of their prayer together and with friends as well either before or after the Vigil Service or earlier in the day.
Cremation: The Catholic Church does allow for cremation. The proper order is to have a Funeral Mass with the body before cremation. Some families for various reasons opt to have a Memorial Mass after the body has been cremated. The cremains are brought to the Church in an appropriate Urn or Box. The cremains should be buried in a cemetery or stored in a Mausoleum just as a deceased body would be. Cremains should not be left in the closet or on a shelf in your bedroom, or spread in the forest or flower garden.