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Mom was not a parishioner anywhere but I can book a spot at the local Catholic church. She loved being Catholic, but told me to handle her funeral any way that I wanted. I believe in God, but I am not Catholic. I don't love Catholic funerals and they don't allow eulogies at this one. Should I give her a Catholic funeral? What opinions do you have? She has Catholic family (some religious, some not) and diverse friends of various faiths. It will be a small group of 20-25

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I am Catholic, age 64. Skip the funeral mass, but have one heck of a party someplace. Invite a priest and have him say a few words. Only a few.
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Thank you so much to all of you. Many good perspectives. GB, thank you for the description. I am going with the Catholic Mass, since Mom was Catholic, it makes sense that she have her faith fully honored as well as benefit from the actual spiritual purpose of the service. The priest is giving me 5 min. for a eulogy. We will do a wake for celebration of her life at my home. I went to the church that she used to work at as a school teacher. The church is extremely beautiful, as Catholic churches can be. Spanish mission style with lots and lots of stained glass. Thank you for the kind thoughts.
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I have been to a recent Catholic funeral, more of a memorial mass, since the woman had died several weeks previously and been cremated. The priest allowed her family to "get up and say a few words" at some point during the mass. i think it depends on the priest and the church. this is the route my 93 year old mother wants - a mass, followed by "a catered breakfast across the street at the parish center." We are a large family - lots of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews - she had 17 grandchildren. All of us are very close. And, so while she (her estate) could afford any type of funeral, she wants the simpler version. So it shall be, when the time comes.
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Would an interfaith or transdenominational church do if you still want to hold a service? Forgive me for sounding flippant, but that way non-Catholic family, friends, and even funeral crashers can pay their last respects without feeling awkward.
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My condolences on the death of your mother, Niyah. I can appreciate how alien it feels for you after being away from the Catholic faith for so long. To start the decision making process of whether to have a funeral mass for your mom, you may want to start by answering whose needs do you want to meet - the survivor or the deceased. If it is your mother you want to honour, and she valued the Catholic faith and the rituals that are associated with it, then I would not feel shy about arranging for a Catholic burial. Perhaps understanding the concept of mass would make it feel less impersonal for you. When Catholics go to a church service, they celebrate mass - the coming together as a community to experience the presence of Christ, present in two main parts of the mass - the liturgy of the word (scripture readings) and the liturgy of the Eucharist (the changing of water and wine into the body and blood of Christ which culminates in Communion). The theme of a funeral mass is Christ's conquering sin through death which gives us eternal life, with a focus on praying for the eternal life of the deceased individual. The opportunity for celebrating the person's life is at the wake, before the mass. The wake, also, is part of the funeral rites in which people come together to keep watch over their loved one through prayer for God's mercy and strength in time of sorrow. The last element of the funeral rite is the burial, in which the body is laid to rest in the faith and hope of resurrection. In this sense, providing a Catholic funeral would be an act of great love towards your mother. Although shunned for many years, cremation is now accepted in the Catholic church with a preference for the funeral service first, then cremation and burial of the cremated remains rather than scattering of them. The reason for the ban on cremation was that the body was perceived as a temple of the Holy Spirit and at the time of resurrection both body and soul would be reunited. As such, cremation was perceived as a denial of the resurrection of the soul.

If, on the other hand, the goal is an opportunity to share grief and comfort from friends and family members, then a simpler alternative would better meet your needs, such as a celebration of life at a funeral home.

Tough decisions in time of grief. I will keep you in my prayers.
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Totally agree and understand, Niyah. As long as you guys are at peace and on the same page it sounds like it will be a wonderful service. Glory to God indeed.
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JB, exactly. That is my problem. One hour of pure religion. Its not my cup of tea. But, its not about me. As you know, it is about the glory of God and her return. Once home for the reception, it will be all about the glory of my Mom! She gave her whole life and was an amazing person. My husband is a composer, all our friends are singers and musicians, so then we can really have a good, celebratory time. Thank you for all the helpful comments.
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Maybe have a Rosary said in her name at your local Catholic Church
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Country mouse, thank you! Yes, it was confusing. She was very much into saying prayers on her own, but did not want to attend church even when I offered to go with her. It did not really help that she said, "whatever you want to do, is okay" I assume she meant it was for me to be comforted by the funeral and that she had some strong belief that she was going to heaven no matter what OR I suspect, she was starting to doubt her faith in an afterlife. In Catholicism, the prayers are important, as JessieBelle points out to move someone out of purgatory if they need more purification. I don't think she had strong beliefs at all about purgatory. Her practice of being Catholic was selective. She loved the saints, the prayers, the Rosary, Mary, Christ, the idea of being humble, charitable, loving. In any case, I am having the Mass. She is the eldest of 5 sisters and they are all doing the Mass when they pass; both her parents had a Mass when they passed. After the mass (one hour) we will come back to the house and we will have a short program of talking about her life and some secular music pertaining to her growing up in Texas and Louisiana during WWII. Then, we will serve lunch. I believe that the soul may be attending her own funeral, and so I don't want to just please myself, but please her soul that is looking on.
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Okay, I just went to the church. They have a smaller chapel with a beautiful statue of Mother Mary upfront. I'm going with this, I feel great about it. Thank you for considering.
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niyah, I just read a bit about the meaning of the catholic funerals. Did your mother have strong beliefs about purgatory? If she did, I wondered if the prayers could be arranged in a service outside of the church. I understand the decision that you are facing now more than I did when I first answered.
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I'm a Christian but a former Catholic from long ago. Catholic funerals are painful to sit through in my opinion and often too long and drawn out for the family to endure. I like the idea of having it at the funeral parlor (or other church or assembly) and see if the priest will come there and have a shorter service like 30 minutes. Otherwise, you're looking at an hour or more easily. It's not something I could ever see myself doing again.
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I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'she loved being Catholic'? Was ritual important to her? Did she believe that adherence to the rites was necessary for her salvation? Because if so, her saying that she would be happy for you to make any arrangements you like is a bit of a puzzle. Do you think she might have been assuming that you'd "like" what you knew she would want?!

If you decide not to opt for the local church, what are the other possibilities? I like the sound of GA's friend's experience; only if he won't allow eulogies I'm not sure your local RC priest is going to be that flexible. Still! - why not ask him and see what he advises?
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This is up to the family. We've opted for a pastor from my parents' church to speak at my parents' services, but to have the service at the funeral home with a catered reception after the service. This made everything so much easier on us. Funeral homes will let you arrange your own service and provide the things that you need, e.g. video displays, flowers, programs, guest registries, etc. The place is not so important as the people and fellowship.
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You can have a Catholic funeral without it being in the church; it's an abbreviated type of funeral. A close friend had this recently; most of her friends were dead, the elderly ones who were living would have trouble with the rising and sitting taking place during a long Catholic funeral.

So her family had a much shorter service. The priest, dressed in a business suit with the purple "sash" around his neck, came to the funeral home; spoke eloquently of the almost 100 year old generation, provided an abbreviated ritual (I don't know what it's specifically called), and the whole service was over in less than 1/2 hour. None of the elderly had to get up and sit down repeatedly.

This might be something to consider.

I think the real issue though is what do you want to provide for her and her remaining friends and family - a more formal, longer ceremony in a church or a less formal, brief get together in a funeral parlor?

The point is that they're coming to pay homage to your mother and to comfort you; they could do that in either place, even in your home if you prefer - just have an open house. I think that's what I would do, or just have a short service at a funeral parlor.
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