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PLANNING A FUNERAL MASS OR FUNERAL PRAYER SERVICE: Saying Goodbye in Prayer
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. –Mt 5:4
death of a loved one is a life-changing event that requires many decisions to
be made in a short amount of time. Staff at Pax Christi are here to guide and
support you as you work with the funeral home, plan the funeral Mass or funeral
prayer service, a meal, and a burial service. We continue to support you in the
days and months following your loss.
We have provided information about the most common questions
to guide you through many of your initial decisions. We will review
these items with you at the funeral planning meeting.
When the death of a loved one occurs, an immediate
family member or funeral home staff member should call our main number
During office hours, ask for the Director of Care and Support Ministry. If contact needs to be made after hours or on
the weekends, again dial the main number and follow the prompts
(pressing 6) to be connected to the person on call.
Funerals are celebrated for those who were members of the
parish family of Pax Christi, members of the immediate family of a
parishioner (spouse, parent, child or sibling) or residents of one of
our local care centers. In other situations, a funeral may be celebrated
at Pax Christi at the discretion of the pastor or associate pastor.
There are no set charges for a funeral. However,
families are encouraged to make an offering to the church after the
funeral. This helps defray the cost of the worship aid, luncheon,
instrumentalist, and cantor. Donations are made directly to Pax Christi.
If additional musicians are requested, the family covers those added costs directly.
Funeral home staff must be present during the visitation and
funeral service. Funeral home staff are responsible for the body or
cremains, will greet your guests, manage flowers and cards (often with
monetary donations), and distribute worship aids.
The Vigil for the Deceased
This may take place the night before at a local funeral
home and/or on the day of the funeral at Pax Christi. We recommend
having a minimum of 30 minutes for visitation prior to the Mass or
Planning a Funeral Mass or a Funeral Prayer Service
Funerals can take place Monday thru Friday (based on
building schedule and availability of a presider) with the exception of
Holy Days. Most families choose an 11:00am funeral at Pax Christi, with
lunch immediately following at noon in the Dorothy Day Social Hall.
The Thomas Merton Chapel comfortably holds 90 people and provides a more
intimate setting. All other funerals take place in the main worship
A Funeral Coordinator is here to assist you and your family
as you plan or pre-plan a celebration of life. The coordinator will guide you
through the entire process of selecting scriptures and music as well as
be available the day of the funeral. A Funeral Assistant will also be
present on the day of the funeral to prepare the church and assist with
the liturgical needs.
Below is a link to our funeral planning guide to help in the
planning a Funeral Mass.
Funeral Mass Planning Guide
The Rite of Committal
This ceremony happens at the cemetery at the time of burial.
Arrangements can be made for gravesite prayers during the planning
meeting or at a later date. Pax Christi can arrange for a priest,
deacon, or member of our pastoral staff to offer prayers at the
Cremation is allowed by the Catholic Church. The cremated
remains should be treated with as much respect as the body. The
following link has some helpful information: Clarification on Church Law Regarding Christian Burial and Cremation
What to Expect the Day of the Funeral
Staff and volunteers will be on hand to coordinate your service and luncheon hospitality.
During the visitation and luncheon, we can have memorial
tables set up for flowers, photos, and mementos that capture the life of
the deceased. Flowers can also be placed near the altar during the
service. After the service we ask that you take your arrangements with
Guest priests are always welcome to preside or
concelebrate at a funeral Mass, but must be arranged directly by the
family. It is customary to offer an honorarium. Priests that preside
outside the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis require a letter
from their diocese stating they are a priest in good standing.
Request for cantors and/or instrumentalists outside of Pax
Christi must be prearranged with the Director of Worship and Music,
prior to the service.
If a video is requested, it must be downloaded onto a disk,
using Microsoft Office, and brought in for testing in the days before
the funeral. These cannot be tested for compatibility on the day of the
The Funeral Hospitality Ministry brings forth the caring
presence of the community by providing the gift of a meal for family and
friends following the funeral liturgy of a loved one. During funeral
planning with Pax Christi staff, family members arrive at an estimated
number of guests for the meal. The meal is prepared and served by
parishioners with sandwiches provided by Pax Christi; salads and
desserts are generously donated by Funeral Hospitality volunteers.
After the meal, the Funeral Hospitality volunteers cleanup and pack any
leftovers; the family is encouraged to take home the leftovers to have
If you would prefer to use a caterer, they must be familiar
with our kitchen. Caterers are responsible to do the set up, serving,
and cleanup on the day of the funeral. Check with Care and Support Staff
for suggested caterers.
We recognize that not everyone mourns the loss of a loved
one in the same way, and there is no timeline for grief. In the months
following a death, we remember and connect with bereaved parishioners
in a variety of ways:
Bereavement materials are continually distributed to
families in various ways. Some resources are quite specific to the
death one has experienced. Others are about prayer, the various
dimensions of grief, healing, and preparing for the challenges of a new
normal without the person who died. Information about grieving and
healing is also available on the resource rack in the back of the
worship space and on the kiosk inside Entrance #3.
Pax Christi partners with the Southwest Grief Coalition to provide support and education for those who are grieving. Three
series are offered each year, hosted in rotation by Pax Christi and four
other area churches. Each series is seven weeks long; each weekly
session consists of a light meal, an expert speaker exploring some
dimension of grief, and facilitated small groups specific to particular
Pax Christi’s annual Memorial Mass is celebrated in early
November near the Feast of All Souls. All those who have experienced
the death of a loved one within the year are personally invited to this
special liturgical celebration of remembrance followed by a meal. Names
of all those whose funerals we celebrated at Pax Christi in the
previous 12 months are read aloud during the Prayers of the Faithful at
For more information about Pax Christi’s bereavement aftercare, contact the Care and Support Ministry.