where heart speaks to heart
The participation of the community in the funeral rites is a sign of the compassionate presence of Christ, who embraced little children, wept at the death of a friend, and personally endured the pain and separation of death in order to render it powerless over those he loves. Christ still sorrows with those who sorrow and longs with them for the fulfilment of his Father’s plan for a new creation where tears and death will have no place.
Funerals at Saint John Henry Newman
With regret we have to announce that the church cannot currently be used for funerals although we will assist with arrangements that can be made for grave side services or those taking place at the crematorium. Having said that Fr Peter will happily arrange for memorial Masses once these present restrictions are lifted.
When someone dies and the doctors have issued a death certificate a well chosen funeral director will provide a lot of helpful advice and support. On behalf of the next of kin they liaise with the parish to arrange a suitable date and time for the funeral Mass or Service. They also provide the clergy with contact details so that we can arrange a meeting or make a pastoral visit to discuss the funeral with relatives.
Funerals held in church allow
for the richness of Catholic symbolism to be incorporated in the ritual and prayers. Many of the symbols remind us of the beginning of our Christian life in Baptism. The coffin is sprinkled with Holy Water it is then draped in a white cloth known as a pall
on which are placed a Bible and crucifix. It is positioned close to the Easter Candle to remind us that death is a prelude to our new life in Christ.
All our funeral services follow the rites of the Catholic Church. At their heart is listening to the
Scriptures in which are found words of comfort, faith and hope. Prayers are offered for the one who has died but also for their relatives and friends and for all who have died. There are many
hymns that are suitable for funerals and families can receive help in selecting those most appropriate for this occasion.
We encourage families to arrange a Funeral Mass whenever the person who has died had a strong attachment to their faith. We are also happy to arrange a funeral Mass with families who will draw extra comfort in this way.
A Funeral Service without Mass is still a proper Catholic Funeral. It can be particularly suitable when the majority of mourners are not Catholic. Both forms of funeral can be held with great dignity in church.
Occasionally families ask for a service to be held at the crematorium alone. In these cases we advise you bear in mind that a limited time is allotted. Longer services require booking additional periods. Your funeral director can explain this in greater detail.
Although we do not exclude the possibility of one suitable piece of recorded music being played in tribute to the person who has died, it is not our custom to play more than one piece in church.
here appropriate, arrangements can be made for members of the family or a friend to give a personal tribute on behalf of the family. This can be a short poem or reading or a brief tribute to the one who has died. This must be written down and should avoid the use of words or phrases that would be inappropriate in a church or might embarrass anyone present.
We seem to live and die as the leaves; but there is One who notes the fragrance of every one of them, and when their hour comes, places them between the pages of his great book.
John Henry Newman (Letters & Diaries XXI, pp 50-51)
Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come. Rabindranath Tragore