Archbp. Predergast restricts eulogies at funerals.

Archbp. Prendergast

Do you remember that a couple years about Bp. Robert C. Morlino banned eulogies in the Diocese of Madison?  HERE Some people nearly lost their minds.  Morlino was only being a “good son of the Church”, as Pope Francis describes himself, and therefore faithful to the Church’s laws and liturgical rubrics.

Sometimes, in this antinomian age of ours, it shocks people to realize that bishops and priests are not free to disobey the Church’s laws.

From RNS:

Canadian archbishop bans eulogies at funeral Masses [Thanks be to God.]

TORONTO (RNS) Roman Catholics in Ottawa are no longer permitted to deliver eulogies during funeral Masses, the local archbishop has decreed. [Rather than write, “Contrary to the Church’s law, eulogies have been given…”. ]

The Feb. 2 decree from Archbishop Terrence Prendergast reminds the faithful that Catholics gather at funerals “not to praise the deceased, but to pray for them.”

Contrary to popular belief, eulogies “are not part of the Catholic funeral rites, particularly in the context of a funeral liturgy within Mass,” the decree stated. Many Catholics, it pointed out, do not know this.

Priests are “strongly” urged to encourage Catholics to speak publicly about loved ones outside the Mass — at funeral homes, receptions, or in a parish hall. [The problem is not just eulogies by priests, but by laypeople, which are often a train wreck.]

In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Prendergast conceded that eulogies at Catholic funerals “had crept in” but that “technically, the books that guide us don’t allow them.”

Eulogies are “words of praise without reference to God,” he stated, while a Mass “is an act of faith.”

However, Prendergast said the church was facing increasing pressure from families to have more, and even multiple, eulogies at funerals.  [Once major abuses creep in, there is no end to them.]

To that end, a compromise was reached: The decree permits “words of remembrance” to be delivered, but with three conditions: They must be spoken at the beginning of the liturgy; [This is unclear: before Mass?] must be one page of text taking three to four minutes to read, with mention of the deceased’s “life of faith”; and they should be read from a place other than where Scriptures are recited.

Prendergast said Catholics have lost the “sense of the importance of the funeral Mass, that we pray for the person. [No no no.  We celebrate their lives!  By telling off-color stories and maybe opening a can of beer and releasing balloons!] Most people when they go, they canonize the person. I hope they won’t say that about me because I know I’m only going to get into heaven with the prayers of the faithful.”

Elsewhere in Canada, a similar situation arose in 2003, when the bishop of Calgary, Fred Henry, issued a pastoral letter banning eulogies at Catholic funeral Masses.

Fr. Z kudos to Archbp. Prendergast!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. vetusta ecclesia says:

    Wonderful photo of the prelate with gloves, dalmatic and gremiale.

  2. mamajen says:

    Most people when they go, they canonize the person.

    Yes! This drives me insane!

  3. mrshopey says:

    Oh, I still run into this! It is listed as “A celebration of the life of ______ will be held at St. NameaCatholicChurch”. When I ask when the Mass is I am referred to the celebration of their life thing!
    We don’t pray for the dead as we should nor have an understanding of purgatory/afterlife/what helps the Church Suffering.

  4. L. says:

    I wonder what the rules are in my diocese. When our long-serving Protestant Democratic United States Senator died, our Bishop, who at his ordination declared he was pleased to be Bishop in a state with a Democratic governor, issued a statement that effectively declared the deceased to be in heaven. Odd, that.

  5. Unwilling says:

    Bishop Prendergast is totally solid, brave, good.

    But kudos too for Bishop Henry, who is said to have anticipated the policy. He has been the first of our Canadian bishops, in many cases, to proclaim and to perform the truly Catholic thing.

    I confess that I hold a grudge against Bishop Henry — for a negative remark he made about St Thomas Aquinas in (about) 1987, which he claimed I misunderstood. Is it a sinful grudge, if I act justly toward him in all other things. His Wikipedia page (a reflection of the World) is great!

  6. southern orders says:

    I had a strict policy of allowing a “brief” two to five minute remembrance following the Prayer after Holy Communion which could only be given by one person who had to be a practicing Catholic and the content had to be approved. While it improved the quality of these comments and limited it to one person, often the preparation of the comments did not occur so that one never really knew what was going to be said. Sometimes the content was good and to the point and did not dwell upon canonizing the individual, but at other times things were too saccharine and too much like therapy for the one giving it and indeed a canonization. But the straw that broke the camel’s back was one that was given very recently that went 20 minutes and glorified some of the sins of the deceased and in a humorous way but had no place in any Catholic facility let alone a Mass. . After that I’ve made a policy of no comments before, during or after the Funeral Mass. I recommend if family members and friends wish to make remembrances that it occur at the funeral home, during visitation and following the final blessing of the Vigil for the Deceased and departure of the priest or deacon.

  7. ejcmartin says:

    I noticed on the Archdiocesan document that it was undersigned by the new Auxiliary Bishop Riesbeck. If he is the future leadership of the Church in Canada then I truly have hope.

  8. Way to go Archbp. Predergast! Can we please have more announcements like this in every diocese?

    It is the worst lack of charity not to pray for the helpless deceased.

    People think it is ‘mean’ not to allow eulogies, and that we must give the impression that so-and-so was a ‘good person’ and is in a ‘better place’, is in heaven, is ‘okay’ and all that. How is it not meaner to forget the needs of the helpless deceased with prayer?

    At my funeral I want it to be known that I was a scandalous evil-doer with examples so that everyone will pity me and pray for me in every way for as long as possible. I have warned my son and my husband that I will haunt them if they don’t pray for me.

    Drowning sorrows at the wake, telling funny stories, playing favorite music and all that is fine. Just don’t forget to pray for the dead at Mass!

  9. Magash says:

    We, as an institutional Church, have lost the sense of sin as an impediment to salvation. When we have catechists and priests who insist that no one, or only Stalin and Hitler go to Hell is it any wonder that people believe that the departed get an automatic ticket to Heaven?
    Like many of these problems the silence from the Bishop’s Conference and the Vatican Congregation on this point is the real problem. A high profile, unambiguous declaration, through an official document that cannot be finesses would solve the problem. Yes I know the teaching of the Church on this matter has already been put to paper. However a new reinforcement of this policy across the Universal Church, as did the bishop’s statement, would cause a number of speckle flecked nutties in the mainline press that would make it impossible for liberal prelates and members of the laity to claim they didn’t know. A similar statement on vestment colors appropriate for a funeral would have a similar statement.
    Personally I have left a letter to my spouse (or others should she not be able to carry out my final requests) that it is my wish to have black vestments used at my funeral Mass if possible. Since at the present time I doubt such vestments will be available I have suggested purple as a substitute. I have explicitly stated that barring martyrdom that I do not wish for white vestments to be used as I most certainly do not expect to be entering Heaven on my death and pray that purgatory is open to me. I have asked a stout friend to assist whoever is carrying on the arrangements and to act to the up most of his ability to see my wishes are carried out.

  10. Heorot says:

    Deo gratias. Euge, serve bone et fidelis.

    +Prendergast used to be the Archbishop here in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He personally joined in with many rosary and Good Friday processions, and founded a faithful community of diocesan Franciscans. In Ottawa, he allows the FSSP into his diocese (St. Clement’s parish in St. Anne’s church), and does good things like this. An astonishingly excellent Jesuit. This recovers the sense of the sacred.

  11. Faith says:

    When my husband’s friend died, the pastor said No Eulogies. The people were INCENSED! The critical comment that bothered me the most was “One more reason NOT to Come Home to the Church!”
    The man that died was a bachelor from a large family. He was the only one in the family that was devout. But his family didn’t know this. The deceased belonged to the parish where he lived. The family didn’t know this, nor would it ever occur to them, that it mattered. The family came together from all parts of the country to the town where they grew up. The deceased was buried in the family plot and the funeral was at the church where all the family had received their sacraments. (Not the deceased’s parish.) The pastor could tell that the family didn’t know squat about their religion and contention arose. The entire town was upset that the pastor said No Eulogies. The family said “After all the money we’ve poured into this parish!” Well, that must have been years and years ago because none of them went to church anymore, nor do any of them live in the parish to contribute. Anyway, after the Mass, one of them came up and gave some words of remembrance. It was beautiful. I spoke to the Mass celebrant and he said it was a pastoral decision, to allow it. I think it was a very, very, wise move. Funerals can be a great evangelizing tool. Think about it. Most of the people in the congregation don’t have a clue. They don’t know that the Mass is the best prayer for the dead, there is, whether they’re non-Catholics, or fallen away Catholics. An explanation of the symbolic importance of incense, pall, holy water, and candle would be beneficial. And I agree with the pastor above–“Words of Remembrance” are pastorally necessary. You can’t eulogize at the wake because people are in and out. Wakes can last for days, how can anyone eulogize there? You can’t eulogize at a funeral collation because most people go back to work, etc. and don’t go. The best place is after the celebration of the Mass, before the recessional. Friends are gathered there, and though they may not understand and appreciate the Mass, the kind words regarding their deceased friend are most appreciated, where everyone has gathered together to pray for him.

  12. JaneC says:

    I pray that our bishop will make a statement like this soon. Some of the eulogies at funerals I’ve been to recently (in my capacity as a musician) have been totally over-the-top. On one occasion, a visiting priest allowed a family member to hit a golf ball up the center aisle of the cathedral! Our very good pastor pretty much had a kitten when he found out about that, but it was after the fact and there was nothing he could do.

    Thankfully, none of the Catholic funerals in my family have featured eulogies in the church. When planning my grandparents’ funerals, my mother had the sense to remind everyone that eulogies could be given at the reception or at the burial.

  13. Ellen says:

    When my dear mother died last year, her nephew said the funeral Mass. His sermon touched on death, judgement and the need to pray for the dead and he concluded with some charming anecdotes about my mother. It was an excellent sermon and it resulted in many, many Mass offerings for the repose of her soul.

    When I go, I want prayers. Lots and lots of prayers.

  14. slainewe says:

    Better late than never.

    The eulogies that break my heart are from feminist daughters who never understood their now-deceased self-sacrificing homemaker mothers. Their eulogies take the form of a litany of every time their mother DID NOT imitate the Virgin Mary, as though to say, “See, Mom was really a feminist just like me. She was just bound by the generation in which she lived.”

    I can only hope that the humiliation of having sins long confessed broadcast in church as virtues, over their dead bodies, reduces their purgatory. But what does is do for the eulogizer? Eulogies seem simply an occasion of sin.

  15. Robbie says:

    This needs to happen more often. A funeral Mass is not a canonization of the departed. Heaven’s not the 19th hole!

  16. Imrahil says:

    Good thing what His Grace does here. Interesting general point, anyway.

    For one thing, the Archbishop is providing a somewhat helpful definition of what this “eulogy” thing banned by the rubrics is.

    Eulogies are words of praise without reference to God.

    Some might in fact say that this is a rather lenient definition. A good preacher can say everything in reference to God – and ultimately rightly, because ultimately everything does have a reference to God. Hence the phrase that there is no limit to what sermons can touch – except the limit of ten minutes.

    – Let’s follow that modern principle of “collecting people where they are” (and implied: give them what they wish) for a moment. What, in fact, do funeral attenders wish for?

    I don’t know, perhaps Americans are so very different from what I perceive among my own fellowcountrymen as general human traits. But I cannot see how anyone who actually makes a look into people’s faces and attitudes can possibly think they wish for a “celebration of the life of N. N.”. They wish to “pay the last honors” to their loss. They in fact also wish to pray for him (though indeed a combination of bad catechesis and an antipathy to what they perceive as “technical theologian terms” and “pious stuff” make drive the preciser thoughts of Purgatory and of expiation from their minds – still it is rather remarkable that, for a’ that and for a’ that, they still wish to pray for them). They wish, yes, to remember the good things that could possibly be said about him (which does not mean that they need to be actually said). They do remember that he was a human being with failures, at least in this general form, possibly more in detail – but de mortuis nihil nisi bene. They then want to sit together for a meal (in Germany somewhat macabrely referred to as “corpse feast”, Leichenschmaus, because the term for corpse is also the dialectal term for funeral). And after that, say the customary goodbye to their relatives with the formula “hopefully we see each other soon, but on a more joyful occasion”.

    They will open a can of beer, or two, or three. But what is even more sure is that they will cringe in horror from the thought of releasing balloons.

    We, having hope, can grieve like men. No need to go into the shrilly excentricities as the heathens did who had no hope.

    What, then, is to do?

    First, only what the law allows. – I’ll treat this as a given, and the following is said under the hypothesis that it conforms to the law.

    Second, certainly no downright eulogies (in the sense of the Archbishop’s definition) at Mass – nor even, in my very private opinion, in the graveyard. If some people feel call to do that, fine, but afterwards in the tavern. And only after the main dishes have been served and digested. (I don’t think near relatives naturally feel called to eulogize in the immediate proximity of death, and they should not be pressed to do so. Let them grieve, respect, and pray.)

    Third, a short reading of the “CV” of the deceased, of the sort “born there-and-there, lived there-and-there, worked there-and-there, married N. N., had this-and-that number of children, was retired then-and-then, was a regular Mass visitor and active member in our parish and, the day before yesterday, deceased provided with the Holy Sacraments of dying”, seem somewhat in order, to me. Even some real achievements seem so too (to me). The present, whether lawful or not, custom is to do this at the time of the sermon (where, after all, announcements are held also, in the Extraordinary Form). Doing it at the beginning of the Mass may be the better place, though. If at the sermon, it should be neatly equipped with references to God.

    Fourth, for the present, it seems rather necessary to me to make an actual short-catechesis on the reason of our hope. This could perhaps fall away if the state of catechesis was in a state well enough, but I don’t see it to be. And, the preacher can neatly and without hurting feelings include that there is a need to be purified before beholding the Face of God and that our prayers can help him do so.

    Fifth, bring back the good old liturgical colors. And I’m inclined to say: now, at once. A funeral is not all about penitence*. In this sense, the adoption of violet was rather unnecessary (and I cannot bring myself to understand how this got the air of a leniency). And while violet is still defendable (funerals are about penitence, albeit not only), white in our cultures is not. So: violet for the unbaptized infants; white for the baptized infants; black – the color of somberness, earnest festivity, and somewhat of death – for the rest of us. Now here’s a chance for the priest to look the same like the laity, if only in color.

    [*The rejection of the idea that the deceased one was “utterly depraved” etc. along the Protestant line, which is right: there are reasons to be thankful for, may have made understandable, though not justifyable, to reject the points about sin altogether. The dear Tina-in-Ashburn’s humility in all honor, but I do not think she is a particularly scandalous evil-doer, and I don’t think the ones who will one day, long may it be away, mourn for her would do so either.]

    Sixth, please get rid of all that a person cannot say except in a put-on manner, of all child-talk, and of all easily avoidable ambiguity. Among other things, let’s get rid of that “better place” altogether. If you mean heaven then say so – and defend what you have said, if you can. If you mean purgatory (which is better in this that there is no longer possibility of damnation) then make yourself understandable, for you aren’t.

    Seventh, I do not judge the Dies irae to be hopeless, indeed it is a song of the strongest hope we have (but do not cut after the first few stanzas). People who face a death will be both able, and in fact willing, to face the real gloom which death brings (death is a gloomy matter) together with the real hope which is in the Mercy of God. Do not disturb them with mere fussingness. In fact, some of them are hearing rock-songs of the likes of “The Man Comes Around” (well that’s rather country), “Bad Moon Rising”, “Enter Sandman”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” etc. for pleasure.
    A similar reasoning holds for the prayer for “the next one in our midst” which is sufficiently known that people are actually expecting it.

  17. MarkJ says:

    The Church herself is partly to blame for the scarcity of prayers for the dead, in that the “reformed” Liturgy of the Hours eliminates the prayer for the deceased at the end of each Hour. In the Traditional Breviary, every Hour except Compline (Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None and Vespers) ends with “Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace.” I can’t help but think that the “reformers” of the Liturgical Books intentionally downplayed the idea and practice of praying for the deceased… and now we pay the price. Yet another reason to buy the Brevarium Romanum and then commit to praying it daily… our deceased brethren deserve (and have need of) our prayers seven times a day! EVERY priest and monk and nun used to do this! And there were a lot more of them then… And now it is up to us to make up for what is currently lacking in the prayers of the Church.

  18. majuscule says:

    My elderly mom cringes at the thought of a “celebration of life” when she dies. As she notes, our family is small and she’s outlived all her friends. Something quiet and simple…

    BUT, when I was talking to her the other day about the EF Masses I’ve been attending (as we try to get a regular one going) she said her one request after she’s gone would be to have a Requiem Mass in Latin .

    I was touched and told her I would do all in my power to make it happen.

  19. Faith says:

    Imrahil thank you–very sensible.

  20. Imrahil says:

    Dear Faith, thank you, that was very nice!

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  22. New Sister says:

    boy, Abp Sample, Diocese of Portland (OR) should do this, too. I heard a priest there explicitly canonize a departed soul, declaring her to be in Heaven. We poor sheep… did a single person at that funeral pray for her soul?

    I never understood another downside to this euligizing at their funerals until I attended an FSSP funeral Mass and burial. The Liturgy is so rich and clear about its purpose, it snaps the congregation out of weepiness and feeling sorry for ourselves and instead focuses us on the terrible duty we have to appeal to God’s Divine Mercy and rescue them “from the jaws of hell”.

  23. plaf26 says:

    I’m sorry but the “words of remembrance” (euphemism for eulogy) in the funeral rite is a loophole you can drive a truck through. I’ve seen it misused in all the ways that eulogies are. It’s unenforceable. Once people get the mic, they do and say what they want. The last time I permitted this, the three minutes went so long the honor guard almost left the gravesite before we got there. Another “words of remembrance” at another church (one of four by various individuals) went on for almost an hour of rambling, embarrassing words more about the speaker than about the deceased. Twice somebody walked over and politely asked him to wrap it up because there were concelebrating priests with weddings to get to. On and on he went. In this case, I don’t care what the red words say. Never again!!

  24. APX says:

    These “words of remembrance”, in my experience, tend to be a euphemism for eulogies. I wish they would get rid of them completely and just have a eulogy during the reception.

    Every one I’ve heard goes on and on, rarely, if ever, mentioning the person’s life of faith, and is typically filled with corny humor, inappropriate anecdotes, etc etc.

  25. New Sister says:

    @ Faith: appreciate your comments! “The pastor could tell that the family didn’t know squat about their religion ” and “Funerals can be a great evangelizing tool… most of the people in the congregation don’t have a clue. They don’t know that the Mass is the best prayer for the dead, there is, whether they’re non-Catholics, or fallen away Catholics. ”

    Our Pastor had quite a dilemma at a funeral last year. The family showed up with “programs” for the Holy Mass (N.O. Mass) with the deceased’s picture on the front — wearing his Shriners hat/uniform (whatever those things are)!! He asked the wife to collect them up and not use them, and instructed her on why it was wrong, before the funeral. Deo gratias – the Arlington Diocese has many priets such as he.

  26. acricketchirps says:

    Vetusta ecclesia: Wonderful photo…
    Ah, so that’s what a gremiale is!
    – ! –
    No, seriously, what’s a gremiale?

    Good on His Grace, btw. If there’s a eulogy at my funeral there’s going to be some unpleasant haunting going on ‘fterward!

  27. Joe in Canada says:

    When I was first ordained 25 years ago in Canada I was told on my first assignment that eulogies were forbidden, and it was a national policy. I remember watching the televised funeral of Trudeau, a man who if any did not deserve a public Catholic funeral, where he got 3 eulogies during the Mass, including one by the presiding Archbishop (NOT Archbishop Prendergast). I turned to a fellow priest and said “I guess that’s how we will interpret that”.

    It’s not just bad catechesis, but a) a funeral industry that wants to impose its own norms, including a wonderful sentimental funeral so that people will remember the funeral home (wedding planners do the same thing) and b) a media that presents images of Protestant services as “Christian” services.

  28. Xmenno says:

    One of the things I found most foreign in the Catholic faith as I converted was what I perceived as the cold impersonal-ness of Catholic funerals. Barely a word was spoken about the person who had died, except a vague mention in the homily. In my childhood denomination, there was a brief history of the person’s life, family connection, education, etc. Always included was the date of their “conversion” and joining the Mennonite church, and something about their spiritual life – favorite scripture verses, how they overcame difficulties in faith and their prayers. I always learned something about the person, and was often inspired by the depth of their spirituality, which was not always overtly seen in life. In recent years, Mennonite funerals seem to have gone the way of the rest of evangelicalism to favor “entertaining.” Eulogies are expected to have lots of funny anecdotes, and jokes, and reflect the “celebration of life” that is so popular now.
    While eulogy-as-entertainment seems extremely out of place at a funeral mass, I would appreciate some sense of the deceased’s life and faith as a final witness of the presence of Christ in his life. In Mennonite churches, a page-long account of such things is often handed out along with the little mortuary flier. Perhaps this could be done as a compromise. I certainly intend for it to happen at my own funeral, if I have any control of such things in my advance planning.

  29. jaykay says:

    Our Archdiocese here in Ireland has on its website under “Pastoral – bereavement/wake” a direct link to a publication called “A celebration of a Life”. It’s by the Redemptorists. There is no actual policy on eulogies, so it seems fron the website that we’re still in full celebration mode.

    There’s another link to a leaflet for suggested “Prayers during the wake of the deceased” which commendably does actually state that the rosary is best and includes the Salve Regina with the “Eternal rest…” prayer. There’s also a sort of “opening prayer” which says “we ask the Lord’s forgiveness for his/her faults and sins and entrust his/her soul to the tender mercy of God”, and this is repeated later on. The other suggested prayers are pretty much old-ICEL in their language, but at least sin got mentioned twice. The other resource is entitled “Anyone is capable of going to heaven” and consists of short quotes from Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Nothing about Purgatory anywhere.

  30. Bob Glassmeyer says:

    There is a lovely book called A CHRISTIAN ENDING, regarding funeral customs, and especially and fundamentally the theology and spirituality of final commendation of a person, as celebrated by Eastern Orthodox Christians.

    If you can find it, READ IT. PLEASE. It is well worth your time and money.

    One of their practices is a vigil for the deceased in the church, whilst prayers are being offered, specifically from the Psalter. (The Psalter is read throughout the preparation of the body, as well.) The authors of the book recommend that there should be, APART FROM THE CHURCH, a place where people can gather to reminisce, etc., so that the room in which the body is reposed can be reserved for prayer for the deceased.

    If at all possible, I would like this for my final rites.

    There is also, as much of the Divine Liturgy is sung, no room, thankfully, for pop ditties or the “funeral top 40” rife at so many parishes. Quite often, the priest wears white, in anticipation of the General Resurrection of the Dead, and in honor of the Bright Resurrection of Christ, but purple and black are appropriate colors, too. In fact, at Metropolitan Laurus’ vigil and Divine Liturgy, purple vestments were worn by all the sacred ministers.

    I realize that we are of the Latin tradition and not the Eastern Orthodox tradition, but I think we can learn a valuable lesson from our separated brethren in regard to the Liturgy of Final Commendation. Peace to other Christian communions, but I think we would do better to follow their example, seeing we were one Church for over 1000 years, and not degenerate into funerals becoming little canonizations for the deceased, or, equally as bad, an occasion to tell the congregation they are going to hell if they do not accept this or that article of faith.

    At my grandma’s funeral, which was difficult for all of us to get through, such “canonization” happened, and the typical doggerel was sung (Gather Us In as the processional hymn, for crying out loud), with the priest telling us all what a saint Grandma was.

    First off, gentlepersons, yes, Grandma was saintly, but she had a deep humility, and wouldn’t tolerate anyone speaking of her in this way, and would’ve told the priest to be quiet had she heard him. Second, we didn’t need him to tell us what we already knew about Grandma. Third, with the greatest respect to Grandma and to other family present at her funeral…the funeral was, well…NOT ABOUT HER.

    I speak only for myself, and offer these thoughts as ramblings of “a fellow passenger to the grave,” as Dickens would have it. But I hope it might help someone who has endured what, sadly, funerals in the Roman Rite have so often become. If this helps, glory to our good God!

  31. Kathleen10 says:

    I’ve mentioned this before but when my mom passed a few years ago my family wanted eulogies at the Mass, which I was able to hold off. My mom was my best friend and superb but it was not appropriate at the Holy Mass where Jesus is to be praised, and the idea is to get people to pray for her soul. Just my opinion but the funeral home or anywhere else is quite appropriate and should suffice. As in all these matters Bishops and priests need to lead US on this and all aspects of what is appropriate and what is not and why. People need to understand the limits and just like good five year olds once we know we may not like them but we can come to terms with it. Once you let it be known you are a pushover and there are no limits if the person persists enough or throws a tantrum (or can go to a higher authority and obtain it) it is all over.
    If Jesus would be considered first other matters would fall into their proper place, but priorities seem very confused.

  32. tzard says:

    Father the injunction “at the beginning” *is* clear – it’s at the beginning (technically, before the mass but after anything else). If it comes after the initial stages of the Mass, – it’s no longer at the beginning, but during.

    What would the deceased want? To be prayed for! Posthumous praise means nothing unless one disbelieves in heaven and hell..

    I’m currently reading a book which brings up the issue of eulogies coming up short in speaking for someone’s life. I’d much prefer unorganized rememberances ( e.g. “Remember when he burnt the spaghetti?”) over a beer, than formal summaries. That is, after you pray for me first!!!

  33. StWinefride says:

    St Bernadette urged her Sisters to pray for her after her death. She told them:

    “You will say that I was a Saint and leave me to roast in Purgatory”.

  34. Eugene says:

    God bless this good Archbishop, especially since he is a Jesuit and certainly must go against the tide of liberalism…also a great picture of him in traditional vestments…again very un-Jesuit like

  35. New Sister says:

    @ Xmenno – “I would appreciate some sense of the deceased’s life and faith as a final witness of the presence of Christ in his life”

    Is this not done? Priests sometimes mention whether or not the departed soul had a provided death (a great comfort to the bereaved). And mentions of faith – I don’t think anyone is discounting such statements. e.g., at a FSSP funeral Mass I attended, the priest read prose the family had found written by the departed soul in the margins of her Bible, about how she offered her sufferings to Christ without complaint. These beautifully speak to faith without eulogizing.

  36. amenamen says:

    Words of remembrance. What could go wrong?

    Divorced widow, weeping, joking; it’s all about me.
    Can you take six minutes of this?

  37. cpttom says:

    I co-lead a schola in an otherwise “pastoral” parish…so our funerals are typically of the canonization, eulogy, white vestments and favorite music of the deceased type. In fact my schola tends to seek out and destroy any funeral programs left in the loft by the “resurrection choir” because they know I will generally have a snit over the music selections (Yes, “O Danny Boy” and “Stairway to heaven” are just a few of the highlights!)

    Anyway a couple of years ago we got asked to sing a Requim Mass for a parishoner who died. His Daughter had tracked us down, not through the parish office or the deacon (a very progressive one) who was setting up the funeral but some how couldn’t find our contact information even though we had and do sing a Latin Chant mass the first Sunday of the month for three years. Nope, she found us of the CMA registry of scholas. That was the first problem. The next was that the Deacon felt the need, just as mass was starting, to give a 5 minute spiel about how this mass was from a time when the Church was obsessed with sin and had a negative view of salvation, thank goodness times were better now. Oiy.

    Thankfully we were able to continue with the Requium according to the books, the priest was very good, the mass was beautiful with all praying for the repose of the soul of the deceased. I hope I am fortunate to have a proper Requiem mass when I die, I need all the help I can get!

    It never ceases to amaze me how some folks just can’t resist the urge to rain on someone elses desires and the Church’s teachings.

  38. acricketchirps,

    You ask what a gremiale is. It is essentially an apron. Some examples can be seen here.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  39. ocleirbj says:

    @Faith, I agree that a funeral is a great and usually neglected opportunity for evangelization. I recently attended the funeral Mass of a neigbour’s father-in-law. She and her husband are Pentecostals [I don’t know why father and son went to different churches] and there were very few Catholics at the funeral. They didn’t understand a thing that was going on, except that they all knew and joined in at the Our Father. Two grandsons spoke after the blessing, and they were loving, gracious and brief. I heard that this was only allowed after much pressure from the bewildered family, who had no idea why they were being denied [as they saw it] an intrinsic part of what a funeral should be.

    I think that a simple handout with a brief explanation of what the Mass is and why it is being offered, with the prayers and responses, would go a long way here. It could also include a short biography and any other thing that the family wanted people to know about the person’s life. This would help with the very common feeling that it is “right and just” that some public acknowledgement of the person and their life be made by the family during the funeral. It would also be the place to explain why Communion should only be received by practising Catholics.

    I have a quibble with the usual explanation of why eulogies are forbidden, i.e. because the word “eulogia” means “high praise”, and that the only one deserving of that kind of praise during Mass is God. This is assuming quite a lot about me and my intentions. Naturally, I don’t want to give God-denying “high praise” to my dear one. I just want to talk a little about them, to acknowledge them before God, and to thank Him for the gift that their life was to me. Five minutes at the end is all I am asking.

    However, as many of the comments here show, this is an area of real liturgical and pastoral difficulty. I think more information is the answer, starting with an explanatory Mass text handout for people to hold and read at funerals, and take home to read again and meditate on.

  40. Allan S. says:

    Faith wrote: “When my husband’s friend died, the pastor said No Eulogies. The people were INCENSED!”

    I should hope so! At least three times, I expect…. ;)

  41. Glen M says:

    Chances are St. Joseph’s Parish in Ottawa won’t comply with their bishop:

  42. robtbrown says:

    Eulogies are a consequence of a lack of belief in Purgatory, which includes both the Divine Mercy and Justice.

    Belief in Purgatory is, IMHO, the best indicator of the health of the Church.

  43. mburn16 says:

    “Eulogies are a consequence of a lack of belief in Purgatory”

    Devil’s advocate (excuse the pun)…..aren’t people in Purgatory destined for Heaven? Wouldn’t under this argument, a mixture of prayer for, and praise of, the person BOTH be appropriate?

    In any case, I think there should be sufficient ground for compromise here: eulogies don’t need to be part of the mass, nor do they need to be banned entirely. Confining them, at least, to taking place prior to the service is wholly reasonable.

  44. dominic1955 says:

    The real problem I see is that people, at large, are simply barbarians when it comes to knowing how to handle themselves in public. I work in the funeral business, and I can tell you no matter what religion (or lack thereof) people may be, it seems they have no sense of an “inside voice” and cannot seem to ever shut their trap and not let out a stream of verbal diarrhea of whatever vapid and meaningless tripe is going on inside their minds. It might just be one of those old wind-up monkeys banging the symbols together, but man, it just cannot wait to be said or said in anything less than a full throated ballpark voice. Ugh…

    People think they need to talk constantly and talk loudly anytime there are a group of them. At a funeral, it seems way too many feel the need to go up and blubber in front of the congregation, or say the same garbage that the last 10 said, or relate meaningless little nonsense stories. No matter how embarassing their little whathaveyou is, I’ve heard about everything said at a funeral.

    People cannot handle silence and people cannot just take in an experience anymore. The funeral business has been walking the well-trod path of many before. Our ways and traditions are outdated, we need to update! To make everything fresh, meaningful and inspiring. What are we going to do? Personalize the hell out of it, make the service about stupid videos that just put movement to the same old photos everyone has already seen and vapid music and sharing. People can handle anything with real meaning and seem to be bored with the standard. Any of that sound familiar? Anyone want to bet many funerals are going to be replaced with direct cremations without any sort of service before long?

    Looking back, I could never thank God enough for the two years I lived in a monastery with that sweet and precious silence…

  45. frjim4321 says:

    In 90% of “eulogies,” 90% of the content is about the person GIVING the eulogy and not about the person allegedly being eulogized.

    I’ve heard three good eulogies in the past ten years. One was from parents of a heroin overdose kid … it was utterly beautiful. But that was exceptional.

    The worst was from a retired football coach from my beloved Notre Dame. Rambling and incoherent. Everyone loved it!

    (Why are retired football coaches treated like gods? It’s just a job.)

  46. Hank Igitur says:

    Cardinal Pell did this some years ago in Australia

  47. Ben Kenobi says:

    This brings back memories of my Father. (not Catholic). We were fortunate enough to have an excellent friend of the family who knew him well to give the eulogy. I frankly don’t recall much of what he said because I was in tears. He did a fantastic job. As for myself, I am finding this thread useful for updating my will. My family isn’t Catholic, so I am hoping that the instructions I leave will be sufficient for them to navigate the rocks and shoals.

    Thanks again, Father Z. :)

  48. FrHorning says:

    When I became pastor, it freed me up to follow more faithfully the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. I no longer have to bear eulogies which usually always border on heresy and quasi-canonization. Eulogies should be shared at a place other than the Church, and most definitely far away from Holy Mass.

  49. Giuseppe says:

    I went to a funeral which had an announcement which said:
    9:30 a.m. Words of Remembrance followed by Prayers for the Soul of N. (X Funeral Home)
    10:00 a.m. Procession to St. A’s Church
    10:15 a.m. Requiem Mass for the Repose of the Soul of N. (St. A’s Church)
    11:30 a.m. Christian Burial at Z Cemetery

    There was no eulogy. There was a homily. Words of remembrance included some ribaldry from one person, but several people spoke, and the remembrances were quite lovely. Prayers followed: Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Eternal Rest. The remembrance followed by prayers helped people move from a remembrance of his life to prayers for his soul. It was wonderful. Those are my instructions for my Requiem mass.

  50. danh says:

    In Saskatoon (Canada) diocese we do not have eulogies at the funeral Mass, only a homily by the priest. A eulogy is allowed at the Prayers the night before; basically at the end. At most of the Byzantine funerals I have been at in the Saskatoon Eparchy, the priest reads the obituary or the life summary on the program leaflets.

    Like anywhere in the West some priests will do their own thing anyway but this has been our norm since our then Bishop Albert Legatt (now Arch Bishop of Saint Boniface) decreed such.

    He also squashed many lay-led services, especially in the city, that had replaced weekday masses. They now do Morning prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours in many parishes.

  51. LeslieL says:

    The guidelines we have been given in our parish and Diocese is to allow for “Words of Remembrance” – with these very same guidelines of 3 minutes long, at the beginning of Mass, and on the spiritual life of the deceased. I have taken to include the gently worded but strong suggestion that the Presider review the remarks BEFORE being allowed to speak. Amazingly, that one added rule has greatly reduced the number of “WOR” that we have at our parish. I share two instances that got out of hand – one time, I was at a funeral where the widow got up to speak, thanked everyone – and went on to mention how everyone was there….”even the sob’s (sob fully stated) mistress was there…..” Everyone was trying to figure out who it was. Another time, a beautiful young naval officer fresh from the Academy was “eulogizing” his father. He was upset, and I’m sure not thinking clearly – every other word was rather……colorful. Most began with F****n this and that. I thought his mom was going to pass out.
    I must say when time is taken to explain these guidelines, for the most part, the deceased’s family is understanding. I always recommend that they forgo the privilege of speaking, however, and reserve their remarks for the funeral home or at a comfortable small gathering after the internment.
    I do recall one incredible WOR from the grandfather of a 4 month old baby – he spoke of perfect love – the love that God has for each of his children, and that the parents of this precious child came closest to humanly feeling that perfect love in the gift of their baby….who would now be praying for them.
    The only argument I get is from the Sister who is in charge of the Consolation Ministry at my church. I think she’s been watching too much television……then again, she believes ashes may be scattered about.

  52. Imrahil says:

    Dear Xmenno, well, there’s a reason the English call the Liturgy of the Hours and the Germans the Mass itself an “Office”. A German choral has the line “to praise God, that is our office”, i.e. in more down-to-Earth language, job. We have the real thing. Hence it is understandable that we treat it in a business-like manner.

    We want to pay them the last honors (and pray for them). Sentimentality not so much. Except that sometimes relatives cry at the grave, but that is something unforeseen and all the more authentic.

    And as for the deceased person’s spirituality… it’s no tradition here, but then most Catholics (perhaps because it’s no tradition) would be to shy to talk about that. In addition, I do think there is somewhat a danger of fostering… sometimes perhaps hypocrisy… more so hyperbole, or also understatement, and for the preacher then of either idolizing (in the non-1st-commandment sense) the deceased person or posthumously correcting her. Just saying…

  53. slainewe says:

    “(Why are retired football coaches treated like gods? It’s just a job.)”

    I speculate it is because they are bishops over the ALL-MALE sanctuary of the playing field, where the rubrics of the game are manfully enforced by inquisitors donned in black and white.

    Has football in general become an obsession among men (and women) because it fills the liturgical vacuum left by our actual bishops when they chose to “say the gray – do the pink?”

    “[Jesus] answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.’”

  54. Siculum says:

    I’d like to just say a few words about Joe. [sniff]

    Joe was one of those guys who…. [deep breath, trying to keep it together] Was just a great guy. I remember one time… we both came to a four-way intersection at the same time, and he let me go first. Wow. [tears up] What a guy. It’s the little things like that…. that mean so much. [chokes back a sob]

    I never got to talk to Joe, more than just a couple hellos when I happened to run into him in the hardware store, but when that man looked at you and said “Hello,” you just knew…. You just knew he was the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back. [sniff]

    Joe was just ….. a great guy. I never knew anyone else who could mow their lawn in such straight lines. He was just… incredible. Larger than life.

    Joe was a patriot. He loved America. [tearing up] He had a flag hanging off his porch on the Fourth of July. If there was ever a man prouder of his country than Joe… we’ll, he’s never met Joe.

    He loved Jesus. I just know he did. You could just tell. I even heard him say “Amen” once when I saw him here for church on Christmas. That man…. He must be a saint.

    I hope you’ll remember him, too. What a guy. Joe, if you’re up there somewhere in the great golf course in the sky, and looking down….. We love you, Joe. [chokes back a sob] We’ll miss you. [breaks down in tears after leaving podium]

  55. LeslieL says:

    Siculum. that’s another reason the Diocese of Rockville Centre has “advised” against eulogies, and one I also use when trying to dissuade families from proceeding….your WOR was relatively short, but I was at one that went on just like that for 25 minutes…..
    From a purely sympathetic point of view – doing this at Mass is not only inappropriate but terribly distressing for the family and mourners. It’s hard to get back to concentrating on the Mass after such a presentation.
    Of course, the other disruptive action at a funeral Mass is the Sign of Peace. It has become a hug and kiss and cry moment where everyone wants to comfort the grieving family. Getting everyone back to a reflective, prayerful place for the “Lamb of God” has become very difficult. I don’t know what can be done about that.

  56. dholwell says:

    When my dad died in 2006, I was allowed by the Celebrant to speak for a few minutes after the Mass. Here is what I said. I think it was about right for the moment, that it reinforced the teachings of the Church, and I was glad that the parish let me say it. It was a chance to remind some of my now mostly unchurched family of some key points.

    It’s funny, but I wish my dad was here to give his own eulogy. He was
    extremely good at this, funny, animated, and with an inexhaustible font of
    stories that seemed too good to be true, but then knowing the family, you
    knew they had to be all too true! I’m not even a quarter as funny as he was,
    but I have made a lifetime study of this material. So please bear with me
    today if I sound too professorial.

    My Dad, David Hanley Olwell, was born on May 8, 1932, in Seattle, at
    Providence Hospital. He was the second son of Murray Michael ‘Brick’ Olwell
    and Mary Veronica Hanley Olwell, and named after his maternal grandfather,
    David Sylvester Hanley. Cathleen Hanley Mead was his aunt and the Mead
    ‘kids’ were his first cousins. His brothers were Mike, Bill, and Pete, all of
    whom have pre-deceased him. I see many of our cousins here, and I am so
    glad that they came to share this day with us.

    Dad grew up here on Capitol Hill, and in many respects, that defined him.
    He attended St. Joseph’s and Seattle Prep. He made his first communion
    in this Church. When he lived on 16th, it was across from the convent for
    the sisters of the Holy Names, and he was very proud of the time he got in
    there and short sheeted all their beds in the cloistered areas. The nuns were
    not stupid (two of them were his aunts, after all), the list of usual suspects
    was short and somehow consisted solely of Olwells, and Dad was soon duckwalked
    over to apologize by an oh-so-not-amused Grandma Veronica. I think
    she was often not amused by her four boys, although Brick thought it was
    funny as heck. Dad loved to tell this story, and his glee as he imagined the
    reaction of the sisters as they tried to slide into bed and their subsequent
    outrage was genuine and heartfelt, even as he told the story 60 years later!

    Dad briefly attended the Jesuit Seminary (setting an example for his children
    of the benefits of changing vocational options early). I think I can name
    at least seven of us who are glad that didn’t work out!

    He was an Army veteran of Korea (as were all his brothers), and the
    stories he brought back were more exciting than the actual time he spent
    there. After returning from the war, he attended Seattle U, regaling the
    coeds with talk of his time in a POW camp, attracting much sympathy, and
    sweaters, and soup and the like. At 6’2” and 125 pounds, he looked like a
    death camp survivor. His older brother Mike, a genuine Korean war hero,
    couldn’t stand it and eventually blew the whistle by asking everyone, “Yes,
    but did he tell you he spent the war in one of OUR POW camps?” Dad said
    it took him a long time to live that down.

    Dad and my Mom got married (again, here in this church) while they
    were at Seattle U. Dad went on to the UW law school, where he excelled
    in his studies, working on the law review and graduating very high in his
    class. He also worked 40 hours a week at Big Bear, on the corner of 15th and
    Republican, and attended St Joe’s. By the time he graduated in 1958, he had
    three kids. Think of the workload: 40 hours a week of hard manual labor,
    attending law school, doing homework, editing the law review, and raising
    Olwell kids. After graduation, he went into private practice but he and my
    Mom kept up the kid production. As AA says, “First things first.” By 1966,
    they had had 8 kids, one (Christopher) lost in infancy. David, Dianne, Tim,
    Tom, Veronica, Robert, and Allison, all here today to mourn Dad.

    During the 60s and 70s, Dad was in a series of small law firms. I remember
    his partners Bob Fetty and Bob Hamack especially well, and there were
    other partners that I don’t recall as well but whom I know my Dad valued
    very much. He had a long term professional relationship with the insurance
    company Oregon Auto that lasted across decades. In recent years, he worked
    with Jeff Parker, who was very good to Dad.

    Dad was not just an attorney: he was a counselor at law, and he brought
    his sharp intellect and wisdom to his clients. I can’t tell you how many times
    in my life, strangers have told me what a gifted, caring advocate my Dad had
    been for them.

    Also during the 60s, Dad was laying an expansive foundation for his later
    contributions to AA, with the help of a truly unique cast of friends, most
    of whom have pre-deceased him. My Mom and Dad split in the early 70s.
    Those were tough years all around.

    A major milestone in Dad’s life occurred in early January 1974, when he
    decided to become sober. He and I were living with John Butler on the east
    slope of Queen Anne Hill, and I remember the day vividly. He never took
    another drink. He got involved almost immediately with AA, and I remember
    him meeting with his sponsor almost constantly the first few weeks in a small
    coffee shop across from the Grovesnor House, where his offices were. He never
    forgot the help he received from AA, and he worked the rest of his life to help
    others who still suffered from alcohol. AA was such a blessing for my Dad,
    and it gave him back to his family for a new and better life.

    Dad met Susan through a friend of hers, and they married in 1975. They
    were very good for each other, and they made a rich and exciting life together.
    Sober, Dad had a second chance, and he worked hard to make the best of
    it. Dad helped raise my step-brothers Doug and Scott, with love and true
    affection for them, through many escapades and adventures!

    Susan’s grace in dealing with this noisy, flawed, enormous, not-quiteblended-
    and-still-chunky family was and is tremendous, and she has my love
    and respect. Because of her abundant love for my Dad, she loved his kids,
    too, and that was not always easy. My Dad loved Susan very, very much, and
    always knew that he had gotten by far the better half of the deal.

    Dad’s entire life was graced with good friends. Certainly Ralph and Sue
    Alfieri and Barry and Carol Pixler added greatly to the joy of his life. He
    loved Susan’s family, Russ and Lura and Don. His lifelong friends Steve and
    Tess Moreland, Bill and Carol McDonald, and the rest of his classmates from
    Prep were treasured. I think everyone who knew Dad liked him. Even if they
    came to the house to punch him in the nose (you’ll have to ask Robert) they
    left friends.

    In retirement, Dad loved Loon Lake, by Spokane, where he and Susan
    acquired a lake place from her family in 1999. He devoted himself to his
    grandchildren, loved each one of them dearly, cherished his memories of times
    spent with them, and they have lost a major influence in their lives.

    The preacher said in Ecclesiastes,
    To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose
    under the heaven:
    a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time
    to pluck up that which is planted;

    It was Dad’s time to go, despite wonderful care by his doctors, especially
    Drs. Kregenow and Malpass, and the superb Virginia Mason critical care
    staff. He was able to say goodbye to all nine of his children, many of their
    spouses, most of his grand kids, a great-grandson, and many of his friends,
    and even to Connie. He was mostly lucid, and funny to the last. He died
    stunningly quickly at the end. He was comforted in his last hours by us all,
    but most especially by Susan. Her steadfast love sustained him through his
    final passage. He went quickly, without pain at the end, and in grace. And
    now we meet together again at St Joe’s, this time to close the final chapter
    of my Dad’s life.

    This church has seen so much of the ebb and flow of our family life;
    baptisms (Dianne, Tim, Tom, and Allison), first communions, confirmations,
    reconciliations, weddings, and so many funerals, especially those of our grandparents,
    Pete Wink, Brick, Veronica, uncles Bill, Pete and Mike, and now
    Dad. These rituals and sacraments of the Church are not just for show; they
    have real meaning and provide real comfort through grace if you let them.

    I am so grateful for the reconciliation my Dad had at the end, reconciled
    to Christ. When I stopped to check on him at 2am Monday morning 12
    days ago, having flown up from Monterey, Dad was awake. We talked for 90
    minutes. A lawyer to the end, he told me that he had just that day ‘cashed in
    his First Fridays.’ You may recall what the Lord promised St Mary Margaret:
    “I promise you, in the excess of the mercy of My Heart, that Its
    all-powerful love will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the first Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of
    final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure nor without
    receiving the Sacraments, My Divine Heart becoming their
    assured refuge at that last hour.”

    Dad said to me that he felt such peace and relief that he had received the
    sacrament of the sick, final absolution, and viaticum. Dad had the faith deep
    in his heart all along. He died with his trust in the infinite love and mercy of
    the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

    St Joseph’s has been a rock in our lives. The family is very grateful for
    the loving, enduring embrace of this parish, and for the many kindnesses they
    have extended to us across five generations. Fr Lee, thank you for celebrating
    this Mass of Christian Burial. Sara, thanks for the wonderful music program,
    and George, thanks for all your help setting this up. You all have been
    wonderful. To all of you who have joined us today to remember my Dad,

    David Hanley Olwell. Loving husband, father, grandfather, son-in-law,
    brother-in-law, father-in-law, uncle, nephew, cousin, counselor, and friend,
    his passage leaves a hole in each of our lives that cannot be replaced. As Susan
    said so well, “He was loved, and he will truly be missed.” May perpetual light
    shine upon him, and may he rest in peace. Amen.

  57. Sonshine135 says:

    I don’t want anyone eulogizing me in church, or they may be putting their soul in danger for lying in church.

    In places of that, a Requiem Mass would be nice with a little Dies Irae to remind people of the state of my soul would be sufficient.

  58. Some advice about eulogies and your funeral in general…

    If you want your funeral to go a certain way, do not rely on your family to get it right.

    Work with a priest you trust and write up precisely what you want. Including that you want Holy Mass offered.

    And put it in your will.

    Sadly, a lot of faithful Catholics die and their heirs don’t bother with a Mass. Some are selfish, but I think more are simply clueless.

  59. Ditto to what Fr. Fox said and I would add (a) include at least one other person in the arrangements, and (b) don’t ONLY put your arrangements in your Will. Sometimes Wills aren’t found and read in time for the funeral.

  60. robtbrown says:

    mburn16 says:
    “Eulogies are a consequence of a lack of belief in Purgatory”

    Devil’s advocate (excuse the pun)…..aren’t people in Purgatory destined for Heaven? Wouldn’t under this argument, a mixture of prayer for, and praise of, the person BOTH be appropriate?

    In any case, I think there should be sufficient ground for compromise here: eulogies don’t need to be part of the mass, nor do they need to be banned entirely. Confining them, at least, to taking place prior to the service is wholly reasonable.

    Saying a few words about the deceased, esp in light of relation to Christ’s Church, is not the same as a eulogy, which it seems inevitably becomes a canonization homily.

  61. robtbrown says:


    Why didn’t you ask everyone to pray for the repose of your father’s soul?

  62. JJMSJ says:

    Glad to see fairly early on in the comments section mention that Archbishop Prendergast is a Jesuit.

  63. robtbrown says:

    A pastor, a priest of 30 years and a friend of 30 more, told me that some weeks ago that the husband of his housekeeper died unexpectedly. He was 45 yrs old, 3 children, a good man and good guy, and well liked in the parish. The parish secretary, who is also the DRE, said she was stunned that no one requested masses said for his soul.

    See above: Belief in Purgatory is, IMHO, the best indicator of the health of the Church.

  64. dholwell says:

    @robtbrown, I should have. Agreed. Even though he had received the sacraments before his death, it would have been a great idea. I do pray for him at every Mass.

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