Requiem Mass

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My parish church held a requiem mass for my father today; and whilst this was my first requiem mass, it felt like a memorial service.

We brought my dad’s coffin in to the church entrance and the priest blessed the coffin and we brought it to the front of the altar; the service went straight in to the first reading, second reading, gospel acclamation, responsorial psalm and then the gospel and short homily.

We then had first hymn whilst the priest prepared the bread and wine, during communion we had the offertry hymn and communion hymn, because the priest forgot to announce the entrance hymn, so we were a hymn behind each time and the priest kept saying we’ll sing it if we have time

The service lasted almost an hour, no book of gospels, pall (sp) or crucifix were placed on the coffin during the mass.

Is this a typical requiem mass:confused:
 
There is an option on how a funeral Mass begins. From the Order of Christian Funerals:
“158. If the rite of reception of the body takes place at the beginning of the funeral Mass, the introductory rites are those given here and the usual introductory rites for Mass, including the penitential rite, are omitted. If the rite of reception of the body has already taken place, the Mass begins in the usual way.”

In this case it seems that the rite of reception of the body took place at the beginning of the funeral Mass, so it was not the usual start to Mass.

But either way, there should have been an Opening Prayer, which the priest says before the First Reading. (It begins with “Let us Pray”.)

The placing of a Christian symbol on the coffin is optional. “A symbol of the Christian life, such as a Book of the Gospels, a Bible, or a cross may be carried in procession, then placed on the coffin …”. (From n. 86, also discussed in n. 134 and n. 163).

Reference: The Rites Volume One, Liturgical Press, 1990, ISBN: 0-8146-6015-0, page 974.
 
Regarding hymns, again from the Order of Christian Funerals, in The Rites Volume One, page 974:
“157. In the choice of music for the funeral Mass, preference should be given to the singing of the acclamations, the responsorial psalm, the entrance and communion songs, and especially the song of farewell at the final commendation.”

The “Song of Farewell” given is “Saints of God, come to his aid …”. But it also has “or some other song may be sung” in n. 174. Then there is the prayer of commendation, said by the priest. The deacon, or priest, says “In peace let us take our brother to his place of rest.” During this procession there may be singing, which “may continue during the journey to the place of committal” (n. 176).
 
Thank you for replying,

A lot of people commented on how confused the priest was (he is 80), my Anglican family mentioned that he did not say ‘Earth to earth, ashes to ashes’ at the graveside, but I said I think that is from the Book of Common Prayer which is Anclican, but I’m not sure what a Catholic Priest say’s at the grave.
 
Thank you for replying,

A lot of people commented on how confused the priest was (he is 80), my Anglican family mentioned that he did not say ‘Earth to earth, ashes to ashes’ at the graveside, but I said I think that is from the Book of Common Prayer which is Anclican, but I’m not sure what a Catholic Priest say’s at the grave.
“Earth to earth, ashes to ashes” IS Anglican.

I’ll tell you a funny story to get your mind off your pain.

Take yourself to the library sometime and check out that American tome of the South, Gone With The Wind, and turn to the section where Mr. O’Hara, an Irishman if ever there was one, and green to the core, is being buried. Ashley Wilkes led the graveside service, and as it was in the state of Georgia during the reconstructionist period, no priest can be had. So Ashley read from the roman missal Scarlett inherited, and read the burial rite, skipping the parts about Purgatory, unsure how to explain that Mr. O’Hara’s soul might not be immediately wafted to Heaven. All the neighbors were very disappointed at this short, beautiful, but too brief service. It wasn’t long enough, and therefore unfit for their dear friend! So Ashley ad libbed the Episcopal (Anglican) service, starting at “I am the resurrection and the life.” When he ran of out of material there, he started borrowing from the Methodists and the Baptists, having people offer their eulogies and testimonies. It seemed to me rather amusing to have this very Catholic man buried by the rites of four different churches!

I am sorry this priest is confused. I wish I could roll back time for you, so he could be made to do it right. I know you wanted the pall. I am a very strong personality, and I have looked a priest in the eye at very important occasions and told him something was missing or needed to be done. The Order of Mass was right-on, as far as its starting point. I know you wanted it perfect. I wish I could get that for you.
 
Know that in God’s eyes – because he knows your heart and the heart of the confused priest – it was, indeed, a perfect way to send your father to his heavenly home.

My thoughts and prayers are with you at this sorrowful time.
 
As weird as it may seem, some parishes don’t use a pall. When Dad died a few years ago, I asked about it, unsure about the name in French. The priest looked at me in confusion so I explained “The white cloth that is put on the coffin when it’s brought into the church.” “Oh, we don’t use that,” came the reply. Same priest was surprised that I had picked 3 readings because they didn’t usually have more than 2.
 
Thank you for replying,

A lot of people commented on how confused the priest was (he is 80), my Anglican family mentioned that he did not say ‘Earth to earth, ashes to ashes’ at the graveside, but I said I think that is from the Book of Common Prayer which is Anclican, but I’m not sure what a Catholic Priest say’s at the grave.
When the body is placed in the grave the priest says
Since Almighty God has called our brother(sister) N. form this life to himself, we commit his (her) body to the earth from which it was made.
Christ was the first to rise from the dead, and we know that he will raise up our mortal bodies to be like his in glory.
We commend our brother (sister) to the Lord: may the Lord receive him (her) into his peace and raise his (her) body on the last day.
At the grave there are many options that may precede/follow this prayer.
The Blessing of the grave (if not already blessed)
Readings, psalms, litanies and prayers

The Rite of Final Commendation and Farewell may be done at the church or at the cemetery. If the latter, it concludes the burial rites.
 
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