Funeral Ministry Policy
The Christian community since the earliest times has accompanied people through providing a ritual framework within which a funeral takes place. These rites are acts of public worship at which a number of elements are involved: God is praised; the Resurrection of Jesus is proclaimed conveying the hope of being gathered together again in God’s kingdom; prayers are offered for the soul of the deceased person their body is honoured and the bereaved are consoled. Principles apply to these rites which can enrich the experience for the bereaved family and the wider community. Through these rituals, which express our faith in the Resurrection of Jesus, space is offered to the bereaved family to express grief and sorrow. They also provide an opportunity to celebrate the life and memory of the deceased person.
Over a period of time members of a Diocesan Working Group, which included those engaged in the funeral ministry from pastoral and professional perspectives, have been engaged in discussion and consultation on how funerals are organised and celebrated in this Diocese. Parishes and funeral ministry teams formed part of this consultative process. We are very grateful to the Irish Association of Funeral Directors who made a significant contribution to the shaping of this document.
The principal aim of this process of reflection is to improve, where possible, the ministry of accompaniment and consolation to the bereaved, and the dignified and worthy celebration of funeral rites. These discussions take into account the changing reality of Irish society today. This fresh look considers the ageing population which can be concentrated in certain parishes or groupings. It looks to the future when the lay faithful will be more centrally involved in carrying out this ministry in our parishes. It also acknowledges the relative distance of many people from parish life and religious practice in recent times. This document is the fruit of a wide consultation and lays out Diocesan Policy in this important area of pastoral ministry.