Funeral ministry to be provided in parishes by a team of people, including clergy

Ministry, including prayers and support, for bereaved families in parishes at the time of a funeral is to be provided by members of a parish team rather than just the clergy alone.

This is the main emphasis of a new guidance for funerals which is published by the Diocese of Cork and Ross.

At the Cathedral Visitor Centre, Cork, for the publication of new pastoral guidelines and resources for funerals in the parishes of the Diocese of Cork and Ross. Included are Bishop Fintan Gavin, Funeral Directors serving Cork City and suburbs and representatives of the diocesan working group who drafted the guidelines. (Photo Tom Hayes)

“Our reaching out to those who are bereaved is an important expression of our Christian Community, a ministry inspired by the Gospel and a ministry of all the faithful,” Bishop Fintan said.

How funerals were conducted was changed significantly during the pandemic and this led to priests and parishioners suggesting that a review of the church’s norms was needed. Bishop Fintan asked a group of lay people and priests to examine what might become a new guidance and to consult others.

The principal outcome is a renewed emphasis on funeral ministry as belonging to the whole parish. Funeral teams were trained and introduced in many parishes a number of years ago. The experience has been positive and warmly received.

Now, Bishop Fintan is asking each parish to have a Parish Funeral Ministry Team. This Team includes the local clergy, including priests and deacons,

Introducing a new policy document on funerals entitled “Ministry to the Bereaved: A Mission for us all” Bishop Fintan says that each parish is asked to have the same approach to funerals.

“The decision has been made that this Funeral Team Ministry should be part of every parish and that a number of other guidelines should be introduced to provide a consistent practice around how we honour our dead and the funeral rites.”

At the parish centre, Clonakilty for the publication of new pastoral guidelines and resources for funerals in the parishes of the Diocese of Cork and Ross. Included are Bishop Fintan Gavin, Funeral Directors serving parishes in West Cork along with representatives of the diocesan working group who drafted the guidelines. (Photo Tom Hayes).

The Diocese of Cork and Ross has also prepared and issued a new resource booklet to assist the bereaved and parish teams with planning the funeral rites and their participation in it. The booklet will be provided to the bereaved by the parishes and by funeral directors.

The booklet includes the texts of scripture readings, sample prayers, as well as the texts of other essential parts of the funeral rites.

The booklet also include a check list which can be filled in when the funeral plans are complete and given to the priest celebrant of the Funeral Mass. It can also be downloaded here.