Diocese of Toledo, Ohio

Browsing From the Pastor

Exercising Our Easter Faith

   In the manner in which we relate to matters pertaining to our own deaths, we have an excellent opportunity to witness to our Faith in the Risen Christ. As a way of honoring a person who has died and as an opportunity to witness to our belief in the Resurrection of the Body, the Church encourages us to insist that we want our bodies to be buried when we leave this world. While the Church strongly encourages the burial of our bodies, cremation is permitted.

   We witness to our Faith in the Risen Christ in a proactive manner as we choose the cemetery in which we want to be buried and purchase our grave lots sooner rather than later. By doing this, we can save the persons whom we leave behind from going through  a lot of added stress when we die. Choosing to be buried in a Catholic cemetery offers an excellent opportunity to witness to our Faith in death as well as we try to do this while living here. If we choose to be buried in a non-Catholic cemetery, hopefully we will insist that the place of committal be blessed in the manner in which the Church directs this to happen.

   We express our Faith in a proactive way as we indicate in writing that we insist that the Catholic Funeral Rites be observed when we leave this world. This includes the Vigil for the Deceased (often prayed at the funeral home), the Funeral Mass (which is normally celebrated in our parish worship space), and the Rite of Committal, which is celebrated at the cemetery. By insisting on this, we are witnessing to our Faith or evangelizing. For many non-Catholic persons, a Funeral Mass in our parish church provides a unique occasion for these persons to be exposed to the upbeat nature of the Catholic Faith. As a non-Catholic person myself at the time of Bobby Kennedy’s funeral, an event that was nationally televised, I was deeply impressed by the upbeat nature of the Funeral Mass that was celebrated.

   We also witness to our Faith in the Risen Lord as we express in our will that a sum from our estate be designated for the Lord’s work as this is carried on in and through the Church. Obviously, what we can offer will be influenced by needs of loved ones whom we leave behind, but precisely for those who must carry on without us, we witness to our faith when we die by designating a significant financial gift for the Lord’s work.

   In the invitation to plan elements of our Funeral Mass ahead of time, we witness to our Faith in the Risen Lord in a proactive manner. We can indicate Scripture Readings to be used at our Funeral Mass, select hymns to be sung, and choose Petitions for the Universal Prayer (Prayer of the Faithful). Please contact the parish office for material that can enable you to plan elements of your Funeral Mass ahead of time.

   Even as we will hopefully want to witness to our Easter Faith in the way that we relate to all of the Lord’s blessings in this life, I hope that we will relate to our approaching death as a powerful occasion to witness to our Faith by the proactive manner in which we prepare for this significant occasion.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor  


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