First of all, on behalf of the priests and people of the Parish and myself, I extend to you and your family our deepest sympathy over your loss. We are honored that the Funeral Liturgies for your loved one will take place at Saint Matthew’s Parish. From our experience, we thought that it might be helpful to you if we put your mind at ease concerning what will happen at Saint Matthew’s Parish in the upcoming days.
When a Funeral is scheduled through your Funeral Director, we immediately contact our Parish Music Director, Mr. Thomas Tirino, so that we can provide a dignified musical accompaniment to the Funeral Mass. He is an excellent musician and is familiar with the Funeral Liturgy, so we ask you to please not contact any musician on your own. He will provide appropriate and beautiful organ and vocal music for your loved one’s Funeral Mass. If you have a specific musical request, please mention it on the Funeral information form in the spaces provided.
Generally, one of the priests will visit you and your family at the Wake the day before the Funeral Mass. We are happy to learn something about the person who’s Funeral Mass we are offering if we did not already know them through their Parish activity. There are two areas in which you may choose one or other form of participation, if you wish.
If you wish to have specific Scripture readings at the Funeral Mass, please remember that readers should be practicing Catholics, old enough to read and comfortable emotionally to do so. If you do not wish to have readers, do not feel that you must, the priest will take care of the readings.
The same is true of family members bringing up the gifts of bread and wine. You may choose two people to do this and they should feel confident to do so. Again, do not feel you must do this; the priest or others can perform this ritual for you. The booklet you have received contains commonly used readings for Funeral Masses.
If you wish you can use the enclosed “check-list” to record your choices and remarks. You may give it to the priest at the Wake or have the Funeral Director fax it to us.
If you wish to include what is generally called a “eulogy” or a “personal remembrance” as part of your loved one’s funeral; we strongly recommend that it be done in the more informal family-oriented atmosphere of the Wake, rather than at the Mass. If, however, the “eulogy” is desired to take place at Mass, we have the following policy here at Saint Matthew’s: it must be done at the beginning of the Mass where it can serve as both a remembrance and as a welcome; it should be reasonable in length and prepared, and finally, be read by someone emotionally comfortable enough to do it well and peacefully.
There is, however, NO expectation on our part of any eulogy or remembrance and it is by no means a normal part of the Funeral Liturgy. Purely personal anecdotes are better delivered at the Wake than in the context of the Funeral Liturgy in church.
We hope that these brief informational points are helpful to you and we hope that you understand that we share them with you as the fruit of our experience of many Funerals per year. Again, our condolences and our assurance that your late beloved will have the prayerful, dignified Funeral Liturgy he or she deserves as a faithful Catholic.
Sincerely in the Risen Lord,
Father Robert Hewes
Pastor, St. Matthew’s Parish
Note: Funeral arrangements are usually made by a funeral director. If you have any special needs or requests, please call the Parish Center during the day. If your needs are more immediate, you may call the rectory 24 hours a day at 631-912-5955.
Donations of Mass vestments, sacred vessels, and church items are gratefully accepted and will either be used in the Parish or donated to the Missions.
Please note: Vestments in white, violet, or black may be worn at a Funeral Mass at the discretion of the celebrant. Red or green vestments are not used at Funeral Masses but can be worn on other occasions.