The Saint Patrick Ministry of Consolation (MOC) is called upon to assist with families’ needs after the death of a loved one. One of the services involves assisting in preparation for the Funeral Liturgy* by providing the family a better understanding of their options and how they can be more actively involved in the process. The MOC then assists the family in selecting the readings, music, and several other details.

*Order of Christian Funerals/Funeral Liturgy/para. 128-153.

Ministers of Consolation (MOCs) should keep in mind that unanticipated situations frequently arise in the planning processes, and sometimes even at the Mass itself. Therefore the following policies and guidelines were developed to prepare MOCs for carrying out their responsibilities. Special attention should be paid to Sections II and III.

I. Ministry of Consolation
A. MOCs are trained in the Parish with Diocese provided training material to properly perform these tasks in a compassionate manner and in accord with Catholic faith and teaching.
B. Catholic funerals are about the faith of the community and the individual who has died.
C. All pre-funeral or funeral pre-planning interviews are to be coordinated in advance with the Church Office.

II. Funeral Planning
A. The Family Choices form guides the interviewer and the interviewed. The Helpful Questions form will assist the Presider in homily preparation.
B. Coordinate with the Director of Music & Liturgy to provide meaningful hymns and readings from which families can select.
C. Planning is often done after the death of a loved one; Parish members are encouraged to consider planning in advance for their own funerals.
D. Stipends: Checks are normally taken care of by Funeral Directors (if they are involved) and charged back to the family. If no Funeral Director is involved, the MOCs inform the family. Current stipends are posted on the Family Choices Form. The Church Office will inform the MOC when family situations
indicate stipends are not collected.
E. The interview process should include every effort to determine whether the immediate family (the bereaved) are practicing Catholics, and whether they are familiar with Catholic beliefs and traditions. In situations where it is determined the bereaved are not familiar with these items, an emphasis shall be placed on reverence during the entire Mass, especially during the Eucharistic Prayer and Communion.
F. An MoC Minister will read the “We welcome each and every one of you…” message prior to Communion to explain Catholic beliefs and invite those who are not practicing Catholics to come forward for a blessing or to remain seated.
G. The preference of the Catholic Church is that the body be present at the Mass of Christian Burial and that cremation (if there is to be one) takes place later. However, cremains are permitted during the Mass.
H. At Saint Patrick Parish, it is our practice to celebrate Funeral Masses at 9:00 A.M. weekdays, at which time regular daily Mass participants join in prayer and the celebration. When scheduling, the Church Office will make every effort give at least a three day lead time for planning the funeral, be cognizant of feast days, and schedule Saturday funerals only with Presider approval.

III. Vigils/Wakes
A. This topic will be discussed during the planning process.
B. The Church teaches that the Liturgy is to be a celebration of the faith life of the community of which the deceased was a part. This is the manner in which the Catholic Church celebrates its faith and bids farewell.

  1. The typical process is to have vigils/wakes take place prior to the Funeral Mass. (for example, at the Funeral Home).
  2. Absent that, remembrances (eulogies) are encouraged at the family’s reception, after the Funeral Mass.
  3. If desired and if the Church is available, wakes/vigils can take place in the Church in the days prior to the Funeral Mass.
  4. A Viewing in the Gathering Space prior to a funeral is permissible. The funeral director should be asked to close the casket no later than ten minutes prior to the funeral start.
  5. A single three minute eulogy is permissible during the Funeral Mass, delivered after Communion and prior to the Final Blessing. We stress that only one person give the
    eulogy and that it be brief. If more time is requested for a eulogy, it will be considered on a case-by-case basis; the consent of the Presider is required.

III. The Funeral Mass
A. The MOCs shall assure that all is in readiness for the Mass.

  1. During the Easter season, the Paschal Candle remains near the lectern. If outside of the season, place the Paschal Candle on the ‘X’ marked spot at the center, foot of the steps to the altar.
  2. Assure incense coals are lit, that there are Mass servers, that the pall, sprinkling devices, reserve pew signs, Kleenex, easels, tables, wheel chairs, readings binder, and podium for the guest book and Book of Life are properly located.
  3. A maximum of three sprays of flowers are allowed on the altar; the balance, if any, should remain in the Gathering Space.
  4. If cremains, a photo no larger than 8”x10” is permitted on the cremains table (in front of the Altar) with the urn. If a casket, a photo nearby is permissible, but not encouraged.
  5. Guide the funeral director as necessary in bringing the casket into the church and properly locating it in front of the Baptismal Font.
  6. In the absence of a body, assure the cremains table is properly placed in the center of the steps to the altar, and a person is designated to process in and recess out with the
    urn. The table behind the Baptismal Font should be moved and centered behind the last two center pews, in view of the camera, to place the cremains on prior to the start of Mass.
  7. Assist and guide family members who are participating in the liturgy as readers, gift bearers, etc. Guide family members as they process into the church to their seats and for the recession.
  8. Assist all participants as necessary after the Mass.
  9. After the Mass assure the return of all items used during the liturgy to their proper storage place.

V. Receptions
A. Receptions may be held in the Parish Hall (parishioners only per Fr. Hank Sargado 11/9/2023) or Gathering Space if the family desires. The MOCs must check with the Church Office to be sure the Parish Hall or Gathering Space is available at the desired time. The MOCs will guide the family in making preparations for a reception the Gathering Space during the Funeral Planning Process. Included in this guidance is getting estimates of the number of attendees, assisting in food selection, getting quotations or estimates for food costs (at Publix), arranging for items such as speaker’s podiums, easels, tables for photos, screens and tables for projectors, etc.
B. There is no charge for use of the Gathering Space. (See the 11/9/2023 Funeral Reception Guidelines) If the reception is catered with workers/servers, the catering company must provide the Church Office with proof of insurance.

VI. Committals
A. If immediately after Mass and in the Parish Cemetery, the Deacon or Priest will preside and MOCs will attend and participate as needed.
B. If immediate or the same day in the immediate Mount Dora area, the Deacon or Priest may be invited to preside.
C. If at a later date Cremains are interred at the Parish Cemetery, a brief Committal service will normally be arranged after a 9:00AM weekday Mass, with a Deacon or Priest presiding. MOCs present at the 9:00 AM Mass are encouraged to attend.
D. If the burial is outside our immediate area (ex. Winter Park, Orlando, Winter Garden, Sanford), we will apply the 3/6/2018 guidelines for Burials at Florida National or Cape Canaveral National Cemeteries. That is, the Church Office will reach out to a local Church to ask if a presider is available. Please notify the Church Office as soon as a request is made and advise the family the local Church may request a stipend.

VII. Additional tasks
A. Together with the Director of Music & Liturgy, manage the Remembrance Service on/near All Souls Day.
B. Jointly with a Cornerstone Hospice certified counselor, coordinate Grief Support Sessions for grieving Parishioners.

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