The Archdiocesan Policy on Ecclesiastical Funeral Rites and Instruction on Ecclesiastical Funeral Rites presuppose Church law on Ecclesiastical Funeral Rites as contained in the Code of Canon Law, canons 1176-1185; the Statutes of the Eighth Synod of the Archdiocese of Boston, Statutes IV:F1-4; the Policy on Stipends; the Policy on Offerings on the Occasion of Liturgical Celebrations; the General Instruction of the Roman Missal; the Appendix to the General Instruction for the Dioceses of the United States of America; the Order of Christian Funerals; and the Ceremonial of Bishops.
Upon recommendation of the Office for Worship and having heard the Presbyteral Council, I hereby promulgate the following Policy on Ecclesiastical Funeral Rites and Instruction on Ecclesiastical Funeral Rites for the Archdiocese of Boston:
1. With due regard for Canon 1184, the Catholic Faithful departed are to be given the Ecclesiastical Funeral Rites of the Catholic Church, which ordinarily includes the Vigil for the Deceased, the Funeral Mass, and the Rite of Committal.
2. Care is to be taken that the poor are not deprived of proper Funeral Rites, including the Funeral Mass.
3. The only Ecclesiastical Funeral Rite in English approved for use in the Archdiocese of Boston is the Order of Christian Funerals (1989).
4. Rituals in other languages must be approved by the appropriate Episcopal Conferences prior to their use in the Archdiocese of Boston.
5. Regarding Ecclesiastical Funeral Rites, catechumens are to be considered members of the Church.
6. Pastors, administrators, members of team ministries, and parochial vicars have the faculty to grant Ecclesiastical Funeral Rites, including the celebration of a Funeral Mass, for a baptized member of a non-Catholic Church or ecclesiastical community, provided such is not contrary to the previously expressed will of the deceased and the minister of the deceased is unavailable.
7. Pastors, administrators, members of team ministries, and parochial vicars to have the faculty to grant Ecclesiastical Funeral Rites, including the celebration of a Funeral Mass, for a child who dies before Baptism provided the parents intended to have the child baptized.
8. When no priest or deacon is available to preside at the Vigil for the Deceased, a lay minister, properly prepared by the Office for Worship of the Archdiocese of Boston, may preside at the Vigil for the Deceased.
9. A Funeral Mass may be celebrated only in a church or in a chapel of a religious community or of a Catholic long-term care institution. A Funeral Mass is not to be celebrated in a private home or in a funeral home.
10. A Funeral Mass may be celebrated on any day except holy days of obligation, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday, and the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and the Easter Season.
11. An announced intention Mass cannot be replaced by a Funeral Mass without prior consent of the person who requested the arranged intention Mass.
12. Regarding cremation, it is preferred that the Funeral Mass or Funeral Liturgy outside Mass be celebrated in the presence of the body of the deceased prior to its cremation.
13. Pastors, administrators, members of team ministries, and parochial vicars have the faculty to permit the celebration of the Funeral Mass in the presence of the cremated remains of the deceased.
14. The Funeral Mass or the Funeral Liturgy outside Mass may be celebrated in the presence of the cremated remains of the deceased person provided that the cremation was not chosen for motives in opposition to Catholic doctrine.
15. The homily at a Funeral Mass, as at all other Masses, and at a Funeral Liturgy outside Mass may be preached only by a bishop, priest, or deacon.
16. Ordinarily the Funeral Liturgy outside Mass is to be celebrated in a church or approved chapel.
17. The Funeral Liturgy outside Mass may be used when the Funeral Mass is not permitted or when the pastor and the family judge that for pastoral reasons the Funeral Liturgy outside Mass is the more suitable form of celebration.
18. Following the prayer after Communion and before the Final Commendation, only one speaker, a member or a friend of the family, may speak for not more than five minutes in remembrance of the deceased.
19. Cremated remains should be buried or entombed in accord with the tradition of burying the dead