View Full Version : Another call to Catholics please...

10-09-2008, 05:31 PM
I didn't want to hijack the other thread.
I live in a predominently Roman Catholic Country but I don't know a great deal about it, other than what I pick up from media and odd conversations. I have a query about removal/funeral etiquette and this is one area where I really do want to do things correctly should it happen. If you wish to pay your respects either to the deceased, the family or both as, say, a neighbour but not a close friend, what is the correct thing to do? Would you call, send a Mass card, do something else? I would feel uncomfortable attending a Mass as I have an entirely different religion but what should I do to express appropriate respect? Would a Roman Catholic do something different?
As my novels are set in Ireland, this is almost certainly going to arise in my WIP!

10-09-2008, 07:26 PM
When I went to my grandfather's funeral, there were some non-Roman Catholics who attended since they were friends of the family. It was pretty much "do as the others do", i.e. when to sit, stand, and kneel during the service. There's usually a hymal in the pews that people can use to follow along with the readings and responses during the Mass. Then, during Communion, any non-RC's could go up with the rest and cross their arms over their chest to indicate they wanted a blessing but weren't taking Communion. The Priest actually explained this at that time. Or the non-RC could simply sit in the pew while the others went up.

There's usually visiting hours at the funeral home that the friend can attend prior to the Mass (usually the day/evening before). Sometimes there's something at the house of the deceased/family of the deceased. That's how it is here in the US, at least.

10-09-2008, 07:47 PM
There's usually a wake or viewing the day before the funeral at a funeral home. Friends (no matter how close) can pay their respects to the family and the deceased there. The casket gets transported to the church for a mass on the day of the funeral, prior to being taken for burial.

10-09-2008, 07:53 PM
hope this helps


10-09-2008, 08:13 PM
Deccy, if you click on the link below it should take you to a whole google page of items relating to this subject.


10-09-2008, 09:56 PM
Thanks to everyone for helping with this delicate subject - appreciated!

10-10-2008, 01:47 AM
Also, there's usually a Rosary recited at the viewing in the funeral home (or sometimes it's in the church, prior to the funeral Mass, but I don't think that's as common anymore in the US -- Ireland might be different).

I agree that having a Mass said for the deceased if you're not Catholic yourself is probably not appropriate, but otherwise anything you'd do for the family of anyone who died would be fine -- a phone call, sending a sympathy card, flowers, bringing over a meal, etc.

-- Marcy

10-10-2008, 02:18 AM
The rosary is still recited at the viewing which can be either at home of at the funeral home. BTW the viewing is held so that the person said to be dead is in fact dead. It's an ancient custom.

A Mass card would not be in order, however, a sympathy card would be a good thing.

One thing though. Unlike a Mass which is a public devotion, a funeral or a wedding or a baptism is a private devotion. If one is not a Catholic he/she should not attempt to join in the prayers, except where invited by the celebrant.

It would be appropriate to visit the family the day after the funeral.