What Happens When A Loved One Dies?

If you are experiencing the death of a family member and have not been through such a loss before, it can be a bewildering time. Who do I call? What do I do? If Hospice has been working with your family in preparing for a death, usually they are among the first called. They in turn often call the funeral director your family has chosen. Hopefully, someone in the family will alert the parish, particularly if your family will be wanting the Memorial Mass or Funeral Mass to be celebrated here. At times it is the funeral director that alerts us that a death has occurred.

Your family will need to meet with the funeral director within a day or so after the death to choose a casket (or urn if your loved one is to be cremated), and to decide what arrangements your family will want for your deceased loved one.

You will also want to meet with Fr. Tony to plan the funeral liturgy. In order to help you prepare for that meeting you may want to think about the following as you will be asked about them:

  • Did your loved one (or do you) have any favorite Scripture passages that you would like read at the funeral Mass?
  • Are there any favorite hymns that you or your loved one wanted as part of the funeral Mass?
  • Will you want a funeral luncheon to be prepared here at St. Robert for you and your guests? About how many people do you expect for the Mass and luncheon (an estimate is fine).
  • Do you have any pictures that you would like included in the program the parish prepares. If so these can be e-mailed to the parish office or brought with you to the meeting with Fr. Tony.
  • Father will want to hear stories about your loved one that he can incorporate into the homily at the funeral Mass.
  • If your loved one is to be cremated, will their ashes be present at the Mass?
  • What level of participation do you feel comfortable with? Some options include: placement of the pall over the casket, bringing up the offertory gifts, readings and prayers of the faithful (often done by family friends or extended family members).
  • Will your family members be here at church an hour before the Funeral Mass to greet guests who will attend the Mass?
  • If there is visitation at the funeral home will you want a Scripture Service or Rosary the evening before the Funeral Mass? If so, at what time? This is a good time for any eulogy to be said.

If this seems overwhelming, know that Fr. Tony will guide you through the process. We do have suggestions for readings and hymns, etc. But we do welcome your suggestions and want to help make the Funeral Mass for your loved one as personal and reflective of their life as possible.

For a year following the death of your loved one, you will receive notes and Carenotes, and occasional phone calls from a St. Robert Bereavement Minister (approximately every 3 months). Know that the parish keeps both you and your loved one in prayer and thought.