The Church encourages the family to be fully involved in planning their loved one's funeral liturgy. In the liturgy, the life of faith of the deceased is celebrated; we commend him or her to the Lord, we support and pray for all those who mourn, and we seek strength in the promise of the Lord that he will not forget his own. In planning the liturgy, the family are invited to:
- Provide the priest with some biographical information about the deceased that will help him in preparing the funeral homily.
- Select the readings and responsorial psalm for the funeral Mass. One or more family members are encouraged to read.
- Choose or compose the general intercessions, which come after the homily. One or more family members should read the general intercessions.
- Choose family members or friends of the deceased to bring the gifts of bread and wine to the altar. Tthe presentation of the gifts is not the time to carry up personal memorabilia or symbols of the life of the deceased. The best time is at the beginning of the Mass or during the final commendation and farewell).
- Choose the hymns and music for the funeral Mass.
- If you decide to have a eulogy in honour of the deceased, there are a number of things to keep in mind. It should be short, no longer than 5 minutes; it should be delivered by a family member or close friend of the deceased; it should contain only words of tribute to the deceased and of thanks to those who have helped or supported the deceased's family during this time; it should take place after communion, before the final commendation and farewell.
Receiving Holy Communion at a Funeral Mass can be a delicate matter for many people, such as those living as partners but not married in Church and for people who have ceased to be regular Mass attenders. The action of receiving Holy Communion is an expression of faith and a sign of commitment to the Catholic way of life. If this faith or commitment are lacking it is inappropriate to receive Holy Communion. If would be wrong therefore for those are non-practising Catholics to feel they are obliged to receive Communion at a Funeral Mass. They should not think that they under compulsion to do what they see the rest of the congregation do at this point in the Mass.