I read obituaries and it is interesting to read them. Some are minimalistic just stating the necessary. Others are biographies of the person’s many accomplishments.

More and more I am seeing that cremation is the preferred method of “disposing” of the remains and that there is no Christian burial. In fact, there seems to be a lot of simple “disposing” across the religious and non religious spectrum. In the south, the Bible Belt, this is a tsunami of a wave to say the least washing away the belt line altogether.

Funerals now are all about the deceased. This was always true in Protestantism that is non-sacramental. Since there is no Requiem Mass, the funeral was always simply a eulogy of the greatness of the person and prayers for comfort. Although I once attended a Protestant funeral as a priest sitting in the congregation and the preacher asked us to close our eyes and reflect if we were saved and if we died tonight would we go to heaven. Then he said, keep your eyes closed and raise your hand if you are saved. I didn’t raise my hand!!!!

But now for my rant. In the good old days prior to the revision of the funeral rites of the Catholic Church, most obituaries stated that a “Requiem Mass would be celebrated for the happy repose of the soul of…”

But now I am seeing all kinds of descriptions for the so-called “Mass of Christian Burial” even when there is no burial, such as “Funeral Mass celebrating the life of so and so”. Please note it dosen’t say Funeral Mass celebrating the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.” 

I prefer in my obituary, “Requiem Mass for the happy repose of the soul of Father Allan J. McDonald, a sinner. “

This is what one owner of a cemetary teaches his customers. What is interesting is that some insurance companies won’t cover some “celebration of life” celebrations, which I didn’t know:

How Does a Celebration of Life Differ from a Funeral?

By: John W. Moles
For many people, the passing of a loved one is marked in just one way; a funeral service. But in recent years, there have been additions of alternatives to the traditional funeral that have helped people to better accept and memorialize those that made a difference in their lives. One of these newer forms of memorializing is called a “celebration of life.” But what is it? Is it any different than funeral?
The Traditional Funeral
The funeral itself has been with humanity for as long as civilization itself. Some archaeological evidence suggests that humans undertook some kind of funeral ritual as far back as 50,000 years ago. The specifics of funeral details have changed over the centuries according to technology and culture. Cremation, for example, is much more widespread in western cultures than it was 100 years ago. Environmental concerns have now also made concepts such as “green burials” a more popular alternative in recent years.
The basic funeral concept, however, remains the same. A funeral is a way for the bereaved to give a last farewell to a loved one, usually in the form of a ceremony at which a body is present and committed to a final state. In America, this usually means either a burial of the body, or a cremation where the ashes are then kept in an urn permanently, or scattered in some location meaningful to the deceased or bereaved. Funerals, in other words, are ways to mark the actual death and commitment of a body.
The Celebration of Life
As the name implies, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a somber event. A celebration of life is a way to for people to commemorate and enjoy all that was good about the life of the deceased. In most cases, a celebration of life will occur without the body present. And while a funeral will usually take place within a small timeframe after someone has passed on, a celebration of life can occur weeks, months or even years after a body has been buried or cremated.
The celebration of life is also far less structured and formal. Funeral services will usually occur in a religious building or funeral home. A celebration of life can occur anywhere, in a home, a favorite vacation spot, or a destination the deceased wanted to visit. It doesn’t have to include a formal eulogy, and there’s no requirement for people to dress in black.
The Choice Is Yours
Some people choose to hold a funeral and then conduct their own celebration of life at a later date. Others try to combine the two, especially if there’s a preference for a less traditional, conventional funeral. However, it’s important to keep in mind for insurance payment purposes that the less traditional nature of a celebration of life may exclude it from coverage by some insurance companies. Compared to the more well-established costs of a traditional funeral, a celebration of life has many extra cost factors.
Ultimately, the choice is up to you or the wishes specifically laid out in advanced by the one that has passed on. If you live in Bellingham, WA, and want to get some professional, experienced advice on funerals and celebrations of life, contact us at Moles Farewell Tributes and let us see how we can help you today.
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  1. It often requires a Herculean effort to arrange a fitting Requiem Mass in NO World these days. I’m sure many of us know that from bitter experience.
    NO World, at best, looks askance at the pre conciliar Rite but just might allow one as a concession. At worst, some have pressured the bereaved to actually resort to making arrangements at a parish far away via a good, sympathetic priest.
    The funeral directors I’ve dealt with have never once given me any resistance but then what any parish does is immaterial to their specific services. And, since their profession is competitive they do feel pressured to accommodate what yahoo barbarian next of kin dream up, just as the article mentions.
    NO World places too much pride of place on emotion, trumping the spiritual purpose of a truly Catholic funeral: to unite grief with supplication for mercy on behalf of the deceased. In an era of mindless Pollyanna posturing at the expense of preaching the Four Last Things (there are some exceptions, of course – not every NO priest is a doctrinal nitwit), one can expect little else.
    The place for celebrating fond memories is at the reception, not in the church, proper, during the Mass.

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