Divine Worship
66 Brooks Drive
Braintree, MA 02184-3839


Thomas Lyman
Coordinator of Divine Worship
Office: 617-746-5880
Fr. Jonathan M. Gaspar
Archdiocesan Master of Ceremonies and Chaplain
Diane Campbell
Executive Assistant, Secretariat for Evangelization and Discipleship
Office: 617-746-5761
Fax: 617-779-4570

Divine Worship


Presiding at the Vigil

Funeral Policy

Parish policy may not exclude priests from presiding at this rite. When no priest or deacon is available to preside at the vigil, lay ministers who have been properly prepared may preside.

  1. During the wake, the Vigil for the Deceased is the principal rite celebrated by the Church in the time following death and before the Funeral Liturgy. The practice of scheduling a specific hour for the Vigil for the Deceased is strongly encouraged when possible, in order for more of the faithful to participate in this liturgy. However, devotions such as the rosary are permitted at other times during the wake.
  2. The Vigil for the Deceased may provide a chance to take part in the funeral rites for those unable to participate in the Funeral Mass or Rite of Committal.
  3. When no priest or deacon is available, it is permissible for a trained lay minister to be designated by the pastor to preside at the Vigil for the Deceased, providing the person has been formed in an understanding of the Order of Christian Funerals, and is also skilled at leading public prayer. The Office for Worship will provide training and resources as needed and upon the request of the pastor.
  4. When the Vigil for the Deceased is celebrated in a church, a priest or deacon is to be vested in an alb and stole. A priest may wear a cassock and surplice with stole.
  5. When a wake takes place in the church, the Vigil for the Deceased with Reception at the Church (OCF #82) is to be celebrated.
  6. Particular groups may be invited to celebrate a prayer service for the deceased in addition to the Vigil for the Deceased. In the case of religious communities of men and women, the customs and rituals of the community may be integrated into the Vigil for the Deceased or there may be distinct times of prayer within the wake. The Liturgy of the Hours, Office for the Dead, found in the Order of Christian Funerals, Part IV, provides a form of a Vigil for the Deceased. Morning prayer from the Office might also be celebrated on the day of committal, following an evening Funeral Mass.
  7. The presence of a cantor or other music minister at the Vigil for the Deceased can be helpful in leading the people in prayer, particularly in the singing of the psalms and responses of the liturgy.
  8. If the church has appropriate space, it is permissible to hold the wake in the church building. This possibility is to be considered in the course of building or renovation projects.