“I am the resurrection and the life … whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” JN 11:25-26
If You Have Lost a Loved One
If you are accessing this page because of a recent death in your family, please accept the condolences of our parish. It is our privilege to walk with you at this important time. Please know that as soon as we receive word of your loved one’s passing, they will be remembered aloud and by name at all the next weekend’s parish Masses. All those buried from St. Mary’s also receive a special remembrance at the annual All Souls Mass on November 2nd. May the light of Christ’s own Resurrection console you and fill you with hope in this hour.
The Funeral Mass
The Funeral Mass is the right of every Baptized Catholic. It represents the most powerful gift of prayer that the Church can provide one of her departed sons or daughters. The Funeral Eucharist is both a foretaste and a promise of the banquet of eternal life God promises His children in heaven. It unites us to Christ and through Him to our loved ones who have gone before, strengthening our faith that we shall see them again in glory.
Arranging a Funeral at St. Mary’s
The first step is to contact your funeral home. They will contact St. Mary’s on your behalf to schedule a funeral. Once this has been done, a priest or deacon of St. Mary’s will call the next of kin to set up a meeting to plan the Funeral Mass. This meeting allows informed choices to be made so that the Mass will be as appropriate and meaningful for the family as possible.
Though every effort is made to accommodate a Funeral Mass request, there are a very few days each year when the Church’s liturgical calendar prevents this. Examples are the Sacred Triduum, and certain Holy Days. Also, an already scheduled major event such as a Wedding, First Holy Communion, Confirmation Mass, etc., may require that a funeral be held on other than the requested day. Wednesdays are also not usually available for funerals, since St. Mary’s is covered that day by outside, visiting clergy.
Planning the Funeral Liturgy
If you are using the local funeral home, Chesmore’s in Holliston, they will provide you with a St. Mary’s Funeral Planning Form in anticipation of your meeting with the deacon or priest. You may also access a printable copy of the form by clicking here. At your meeting, the priest or deacon will provide a number of possible Scripture Readings. However, you may also review these in advance by clicking here. Both an Old Testament and New Testament reading are needed, while the clergy who is preaching usually chooses the Gospel. You are most welcome to suggest a Scripture reading other than those provided. Also, as they learn more about your loved one, the clergy may have additional reading suggestions available.
As a parish of the Archdiocese of Boston, St. Mary’s is bound by the Archdiocesan policy regarding eulogies. This means that only one eulogy, of 3-5 minutes length and delivered by a single speaker, may take place at the Funeral Mass in the church. Please respect this policy, as the parish has no discretion in this matter. Also be aware that additional eulogies may take place at the Wake Vigil Service or at the graveside.
Unless otherwise directed, St. Mary’s will engage our parish organist and a qualified cantor to provide music ministry at your loved one’s Mass. This is done as soon as the funeral home contacts us to schedule the funeral. Music is a moving and beautiful part of your loved one’s farewell. At your meeting with the deacon or priest please feel free to request one or two pieces of specific sacred music special to your loved one or family. Please note that in accordance with Archdiocesan policy, only sacred music (religious hymns) may be offered at the funeral Mass. If requested, however, secular music may be offered at either the Wake Vigil Service, or at the cemetery Committal Service.
Very occasionally, a family requests cremation of their loved one. In such a case, we encourage you to schedule the cremation for after the Funeral Mass. This allows us to honor the intact earthy remains of your loved one in the church. After the Funeral, the body can then be cremated, and buried a few days later. A priest or deacon will then also be on hand for the graveside committal prayers.
If for some reason the body is to be cremated before the Funeral Mass, then please schedule the Mass on a date that allows the ashes to be returned and present at the Mass. They can then be buried immediately following the Mass.
When it comes to cremation, it is very important that the ashes be buried either right after the Funeral Mass, or as soon as possible thereafter. Catholics bury their dead – whether whole or cremated – as a sign of our faith in the Resurrection to eternal life. Jesus was buried in the earth and rose to new life three days later. For this reason we likewise commit our loved ones to the earth, looking to the day when in Christ they shall rise again. Burial also gives the departed’s family the great and necessary blessing of having a place to visit, the grave, where they can pray, honor the departed, and feel especially close to them. In the case of cremains, burial also assures that these will remain safe and reverenced for years to come.
If your loved one’s grave is in any of the Holliston cemeteries, then a St. Mary’s priest or deacon will preside over the graveside prayers. If the grave is not local, a priest from the town where the grave is located may assist in this way. If your loved one does not yet have a grave, your funeral home will explain options. If you are interested in arranging for a new grave at St. Mary’s cemetery, please just have the funeral home call us at 508-429-4427.