Catholic Funeral Customs 0

catholic funeral customs

The Catholic Church is one of oldest religious institutions in the world and boasts a worldwide following of around 1.29 billion people. It has had a major impact on western thought, society, culture and politics, and has shaped the way many individuals think about death. Here, we take a look at the religion’s beliefs concerning death and explore the Catholic funeral customs.

Many of our funeral directors cater for Catholic funeral services. Find and contact a funeral director near you today.

Catholic beliefs

Catholics believe that each person’s soul is immortal and that, at the moment of death, the body and soul separate. While the body, devoid of the spirit that animated it, begins to decompose, the soul is taken to be judged by God. It is then either granted eternal life in Heaven or damned to an eternity in Hell.

However, not all of those granted access to Heaven are quite ready to pass through the pearly gates. Those who have lived a just enough life to reach Heaven but that are still due punishment for some as yet accounted for sin, spend time in Purgatory. Purgatory is a temporary state that purges the soul of sin and fully prepares an individual for Heaven.

catholic funeral customs

Catholic funeral customs

Catholicism maintains its own distinct traditions that differentiate it from other Christian traditions. When death is imminent, a priest is usually called to administer the dying person’s last rites. Traditionally, there are three stages to a Catholic funeral. The vigil – where friends and family gather to watch over the deceased’s body or cremated ashes and pray that their soul reaches heaven. The funeral mass – which takes place at the church and involves the casket or urn being carried to the front of the church and a memorial service led by the local priest. Finally, there is the burial – where the remains of the deceased are taken to their burial place and a priest commits them to the Earth.

Etiquette and other customs

catholic funeral customs

Catholicism is a large and widespread religion that can differ from region to region and that is also open to doctrinal differences. This means that what’s acceptable in a Catholic funeral on one occasion, may not be on another. For instance, in some Catholic communities, cremation is not acceptable. However, in recent years, Catholic religious authorities have shifted their position and many churches won’t have a problem with cremation.

The Catholic Church holds no objection to organ donation, as mainstream religious doctrine supports the idea that once brain function ceases, the soul has departed the body. Likewise, embalming the deceased’s body is common practice if a vigil is to be held and the Church is in no way opposed to embalming.

As a non-Catholic attending a Catholic funeral, you can take part in the entire ceremony but won’t be expected to take Holy Communion, as it’s a practice reserved for those of Catholic faith. After the funeral service, it is common practice for a less formal memorial event to take place at a relative’s home, a pub or another local venue. However, such an event is not a formal part of the service and not all Catholic funerals will end with one.

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Baptist Funeral Customs 0

Baptist Funeral Customs

The Baptist churches have their origins in the reformation movement in Europe. Baptism spread from Amsterdam to England and then across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States, where the largest Baptist congregations are now based.

The fundamental principle on which Baptism differentiates itself from other Christian churches is ‘believer’s baptism’. Whereas other parts of the Christian faith baptise infants at a very young age, Baptists believe that you need to be able to personally affirm your faith if the process is to hold any spiritual significance. Here, we take a look at the beliefs, customs and traditions surrounding Baptist funerals.

 

Baptist beliefs

There is great variety in tradition, custom and belief among Baptists and this fact is reflected in Baptist funerals. While all Baptists are joined in the belief that only those who profess their faith in Jesus Christ should be baptised, other theological differences aren’t as divisive as in other sects of the Christian faith. This means funeral services can be personalised to a greater extent to reflect the life and opinions of the deceased. It also means there are diverse opinions on what death means. However, most Baptists believe that those people with faith in Jesus Christ will find salvation in him and go on to live forever by his side in heaven.

 

Baptist funeral customs

Diversity of belief between Baptist congregations means that some funerals will be joyous celebrations, while others will be more sombre affairs. The first step in organising a Baptist funeral is contacting the local deacon or pastor. They will assist in organising the funeral and ensure everything is as it should be.

Baptist Funeral CustomsA viewing service is common amongst Baptist congregations. This gives friends and family the opportunity to pay their respects and usually takes place a day or two before the funeral. The funeral itself is led by the local deacon or pastor. Often the casket is closed at the beginning of the service. In many cases, the service and readings will focus on the power of God and His role within everyone’s lives. It’s not unusual for there to be little said about the deceased’s life. Music and the reading of scripture both play an important part in Baptist funerals and both religious and popular music may be heard.

Once the service is complete, it is traditional for prayers to be said and scripture read by the grave site. Once the coffin has been lowered into the ground, the mourners often disperse and reconvene at a reception at the family home, the church or a public space. Food is sometimes provided and it’s usual for mourners to contribute to the meal.

 

Baptist Funeral etiquette and other customs

Traditionally, mourners are expected to dress respectfully in black and clothes that reveal too much skin are not considered appropriate. However, some families may ask mourners to dress in brightly coloured clothes in honour of the deceased. Sending flowers to the family of the deceased is also common, although individuals may be asked to donate to charity instead.

5 More Things to Do When You Retire 0

write your memoirs

While some reach retirement and wish to put their feet up and enjoy a well-earned break, others like to seek new enthralling experiences. Regardless of which camp you fall into, the chances are that they’ll be a number of things you’ve always wanted to try, or to return to. So if you’re retired, or are on the verge of retirement, and are seeking some inspiration on how you could fill your days, here are 5 more things to do when you retire – following on from on first list which you can find here.

 

Of course you should always give consideration to your own practical needs too, which is why you may want to consider a funeral plan to ensure your family isn’t faced with a financial burden. As the previous selection had an international flavour and involved a lot of travelling and sightseeing, we’ve decided to orientate this one around activities that are a little closer to home.

 

  1. Get active

Though lots of people want to slow down and take things easy when they get to retirement, there are quite a few who take it as opportunity to do a little more physical activity. While work commitments may have prevented you from jogging, swimming, cycling or working out when they were employed, retirement allows you to get active and perhaps tackle some of the physical challenges you didn’t have time for before. Whether it’s training for a half marathon, trying to beat your personal best in the pool or taking up a new sport, there are numerous ways you can work on maintaining your fitness into old age.
get active when you retire

 

  1. Give something back to the community

 

It’s often the case that individuals reach a certain age and feel that they’d like to give something back to the local community. In many cases, they’ve lived and worked in a community that has seen them through the good times and the bad, and, with time on their hands, they’re now in the position to help out. This can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including helping out with the local junior football team, becoming a Brown Owl in a Brownies group or by volunteering at a social centre.

 

  1. Write your memoirs

One of the activities that appears most frequently on bucket lists is writing a book. While you may or may not have it in you to write an entire work of fiction, you’ll definitely have something to say about your own life. The great thing about writing a memoir is that, even if no one else reads it, you produce a written record of the highs and lows of your life to pass on down to your children and grandchildren.

  1. write your memoirsLearn a foreign language

It’s never too late to learn something new and picking up a language can be one of the most satisfying and enjoyable things you’ll ever do. Whether you just want to get by while on holiday or are aiming for complete fluency, learning another language is life changing in a number of ways. Not only does it radically alter the way you communicate with others, it will also change the way you view your own language.

 

  1. Grow your own food

Finally, many of those yet to reach retirement dream of the day they’ll be able to spend their mornings pottering around their allotment, tending to their plants and vegetables. Growing your own food is an absolute pleasure and is incredibly rewarding. Being able to watch a plant grow all the way from seed to edible vegetable is a fascinating and tasty experience that will keep you beautifully busy for years on end.

grow your own vegetables when you retire