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Catholic Funerals
The Rite of Committal
The Rite of Committal, the final of the Funeral Rites, may be presided over by priest, deacon or layperson. It is best celebrated in close proximity to the actual burial place - grave, tomb or crematorium.
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The Funeral Liturgy
The Funeral Liturgy (Mass) is the community's principal celebration. Generally, the Funeral Liturgy comprises: The Rite of Reception (unless already celebrated as part of the Vigil), the Liturgy of the Word, The Liturgy of the Eucharist, and the Final Commendation and Farewell.
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The Rites
The Catholic Church offers distinct occasions for common prayer at the time of funerals. The Order of Christian Funerals contains three clusters of Rites:
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The Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass
In special circumstances, such as the absence of the body of the deceased (because of cremation, burial elsewhere, etc.) or if those participating are not Catholic, the Funeral Liturgy outside of Mass may be a more suitable form of celebration. In this case the Rite of Committal at the cemetery may take place at a later time.
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The Vigil
This Rite, presided over by a priest, deacon, or prepared layperson (or member of the family) generally consists of: Introductory Rite, Liturgy of the Word, Intercessory Prayer and Concluding Rite and Blessing. Also strongly recommended is the Office of the Dead from the Liturgy of the Hours.
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