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


The Funeral Liturgy Outside Mass

Funeral Policy

The Church identifies the Funeral Mass as the most fitting expression of prayer on behalf of the deceased. In consultation with the parish priest, some families may choose not to celebrate a Funeral Mass but rather the Funeral Liturgy outside Mass. This form of celebration might be more suitable especially for those families who are away from the regular practice of the faith. In any event, parishes should offer to celebrate a memorial Mass at a later date following the burial of the deceased.

  1. The Funeral Liturgy outside Mass (OCF #177-203) is celebrated when a Mass is not possible or not deemed appropriate. It is ordinarily celebrated in the parish church, but it may also be celebrated in a funeral home, the home of the deceased or cemetery chapel (OCF
  2. #179). The pastoral advice of the parish priest is essential in determining what is appropriate.
  3. The family may choose to celebrate a funeral outside of Mass, and schedule a memorial Mass at a later date, when it is determined in consultation with the parish priest that this form of the funeral liturgy is a more suitable form of celebration.
  4. When the funeral liturgy is celebrated outside Mass, the community nonetheless gathers to hear the message of Easter hope proclaimed in the liturgy of the word and to commend the deceased to God. An invitation to a priest to "say some prayers" at a service does not constitute the liturgy of the Church.
  5. The readings are chosen from those approved for Masses for the Dead.
  6. Although the Order of Christian Funerals includes the possibility of Holy Communion in this form of the liturgy, this practice is not encouraged in the Archdiocese of Boston.
  7. Music is an essential element of this form of celebration, which includes the entrance or gathering song, the responsorial psalm, the gospel acclamation, and especially the song of farewell at the final commendation.