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


Scheduling the Funeral Liturgies

Funeral Policy

  1. The Funeral Mass may be celebrated at any hour of the day. Each parish should develop a clear policy on funeral schedules which is shared with parishioners and local funeral directors. It is advisable to share this policy with the surrounding parishes and with the office of the regional bishop. While local policy should take into account the daily Mass of the parish, the availability of priests, the scheduling of liturgies and other parish events, sensitivity to the grieving family should be paramount in scheduling the Funeral Mass.
  2. Priests in the Archdiocese of Boston are entitled to regular time away from the parish, which usually consists of a weekly day off. While balancing the pastoral needs of the parish with the personal needs and health of the priests, care must be taken to clearly communicate these regular days off to the pastoral staff and to local funeral directors. As priests are being asked to take on more and more, it would be beneficial to coordinate days off with other local clergy, so as to ensure a pastoral presence in the event of funerals or other unexpected pastoral needs in the parish.
  3. In the event that a family requests a funeral on a day in which a parish priest is not available because of another pastoral commitment or due to his regularly scheduled day off, the parish may allow the family to bring their own priest, provided he is a priest in good standing.
  4. Parishes with many funerals may limit the number of funeral liturgies to be celebrated on any given day. It may not always be possible to have a Funeral Liturgy on a day or hour of one's choice. If a funeral cannot be scheduled on a particular day, ordinarily the funeral will be celebrated on the next available day.
  5. If the Funeral Mass is celebrated in the evening, a sufficient length of time should separate it from the celebration of the Vigil for the Deceased. The schedule for the Rite of Committal, ordinarily the next day, should be announced and the faithful invited to reconvene at that time. With the growing number of immigrant communities in the Archdiocese of Boston, special consideration should be given to the work schedules of the family and friends of the deceased, who would often prefer to celebrate the Funeral Mass in the evening.
  6. The Vigil for the Deceased should be celebrated at a convenient time. The time for the Vigil for the Deceased should ideally be published in the obituary notice, allowing the family and friends of the deceased to participate in the Vigil as they desire.  Often this will depend on the availability of the Church’s minister who will preside over this rite.
  7. Funeral Directors are asked to respect the correct names of the various liturgical rites in written obituary notices. Proper terms such as "Vigil for the Deceased", "Funeral Mass", "Funeral Liturgy outside Mass", and "Rite of Committal" are encouraged.
  8. Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer from the Office for the Dead (OCF, Part IV) may be scheduled during the time of the wake. The Office for the Dead may be celebrated in the funeral home, church, or oratory of a religious community, or in the family home.
  9. Funeral Masses may not be celebrated during the Paschal Triduum or on holy days of obligation. Also a funeral Mass may not be celebrated on Sundays of Advent, Lent and Eastertime. While funeral Masses are permitted on the Sundays of Ordinary Time, they are to be discouraged given the realities of multiple Masses already being offered in the parishes, often by the same priest.
  10. On days when the Funeral Mass may not be celebrated, the appropriate Rite is the Funeral Liturgy outside of Mass. A pro-burial Mass may be offered on another day, that is, a Mass offered for the repose of the soul of the deceased after the remains of the deceased have already been interred.
  11. Although the Funeral Mass is ordinarily celebrated in the parish church to which the deceased belonged, it is possible to choose any Catholic church for the Funeral Mass, provided the pastor of that church agrees and the pastor of the deceased has been informed (Canon 1177). As a rule, the funeral rites for religious may be celebrated in their own church or oratory. The Funeral Mass may also be celebrated in chapels of Catholic long-term care institutions.
  12. If two or more families, or a religious community, desire it, a Funeral Mass may be celebrated for more than one person.
  13. The Funeral Mass may be celebrated at one of the regularly scheduled daily Masses in the parish. Particularly in instances where the deceased does not have a large family or circle of friends, the presence of the daily Mass community is extremely consoling to the mourners. A core group of readers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, funeral choir, and servers may emerge from the daily Mass community.
  14. When a Funeral Mass is to be celebrated as the daily Mass, every effort will be made to announce this to the daily assembly well in advance. If an announced Mass has been scheduled for a daily Mass, it is not possible to substitute a Funeral Mass without the consent of the person who has requested the announced Mass. If it is the parish’s policy to give precedence to a funeral Mass over the regularly scheduled Mass intention, every effort should be made to inform those requesting daily Mass intentions of this policy at the time of booking.