Death in the Christian Context: A beginning, not an end
Because of this, Catholics believe that death in the entrance into eternity. Thus, there is great value in prayer for the deceased, and reverence for the body which remains. The sense of mystery and sacredness which surround the end of earthly life are all reflected in the Church’s care for the deceased and the family and community that survives them.
Private and liturgical prayer, meditation, reflection and the liturgical rites connected with the funeral unite us to the Lord’s paschal mystery and our hope of eternal union with almighty God.
The events which surround death call for a community response. Although the immediate family bears a heavy burden of sorrow, relatives, friends and parishioners provide prayerful support.
What the Law of the Church Says about Funerals
“The funeral of any deceased member of the faithful should normally be celebrated in the church of that person’s proper parish” (canon 1177, § 1).
“However, any member of the faithful, or those in charge of the deceased person’s funeral, may choose another church; this requires the consent of whoever is in charge of that church and a notification to the proper parish priest of the deceased” (canon 1177, § 2).
“When death has occurred outside the person’s proper parish, and the body is not returned there, and another church has not been chosen, the funeral rites are to be celebrated in the church of the parish where the death occurred, unless another church has been designated by particular law” (canon 1177, § 3).