The text below is available as a downloadable, printable document, called Planning a Funeral
Planning a funeral
Death in some ways is nearly always unexpected. Even when a loved one has been sick for some time the actual moment of death takes us by surprise. The family, then, generally has many decisions to make in a short space of time. The staff at St. Catherine’s want to help as much as possible so that the family can celebrate the life of their loved one in a way that best honors that life and respects the faith of the community.
This information sheet has been designed to help make you aware of the possibilities when planning a wake and funeral Mass for yourself or a loved one.
It is not morbid to plan ahead for your own funeral or that of a parent or loved one. It can lessen the stress at the time of death to know that readings and music have been chosen. We have materials to help you and we are happy to assist. If your loved one was not Catholic we can still offer a Mass of Christian Burial or we can prepare a service that meets your needs.
Informing the parish office
Please call the office at 816-761-5483 as soon as possible after a death has occurred. It is even helpful if you contact us when someone may be close to death, we can alert those who help with the arrangements so that we are better able to provide your family with everything you need.
The funeral home
If you need help in selecting a funeral home please ask. Your funeral home will call us to confirm or ask for times of services. We normally schedule a funeral Mass for 10am. At the time the wake service is held we typically begin with a Rosary or Scripture Service to prevent interrupting the visitation.
Time and place of services
In recent years it has become more common to have both the wake and Mass in church—where we worship. The wake may be held in the evening with a Mass following and burial the next day, or both Mass and burial the next morning, or we can also do a visitation in the morning before the Mass and burial. In winter time wakes tend to be earlier to avoid driving after dark.
Meeting with the pastor and a bereavement minister
We have several parishioners who are trained to assist the family make arrangements for the wake and Mass of Christian Burial or Memorial Mass. We prefer that arrangements are made in concert with our staff, otherwise it may be difficult for the parish to satisfy your needs and our requirements.
We prefer to meet with you in the Parish office as soon as possible after the death to gather information about the deceased for our records and to help in the selection of readings and music for the services.
The Pastor likes to hear the stories of your loved ones life, those stories often influence the choice of readings and music.
The funeral Mass
Funeral Masses should be blessed with music. We prefer to use our musicians, either a cantor or the Resurrection Choir and accompanist. Outside musicians often incur additional costs and extra rehearsals may be needed.
We have a list of appropriate music from which to choose; as well as a booklet of readings, and suggestions for intercessions so that the Mass can be your personal celebration of life.
The parish will prepare a simple worship aid once your choices are made. If you would like a photograph on the front please provide a clear head picture.
Many people opt for cremation. Cremation used to take place after the funeral Mass but we can celebrate a Memorial Mass with the cremains in the church. The ritual is very much the same and we have a small pall to place with or over the container.
The ladies of the parish typically prepare a luncheon for family and friends—usually in Ruysser Hall. We will ask for an estimate of the number you expect to attend. Consider the time it may take to go to the cemetery and return. Keep in mind that if people take time off work they may not be able to stay for lunch.
There is no fee to have a wake or funeral Mass or luncheon at St. Catherine’s. However, people often ask us what is an appropriate donation to the parish.
Customarily we make the following stipends to those who help with the liturgy.
- Cantor/Choir $75
- Accompanist $75
- Presider—your free will offering should be a separate check given directly to him.
- Altar Servers—young people $20, adults do not accept any money.
- Luncheon—a free will offering that would help support this ministry is always appreciated.
When considering memorials instead of flowers please remember the food pantry at St. Catherine’s; our different ministries and even monies designated for the general needs of the parish. Your contributions over the years have enabled the parish to provide ministries to all of our members.
Remember St. Catherine’s in your will
It is suggested that you might remember the Parish through wills and bequests to insure that these ministries will continue well into the future. A memorial to the parish could allow many good things to happen in your memory.