A Guide to
Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, Great Falls, VA
Revised, January 1, 2023
Funeral Directors (only funeral directors) please click here to provide the Parish with funeral details.
On behalf of the Parish of Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, we extend to your family our prayerful sympathy in this time of loss and grief. Our parishioners are praying with you and for you. At Sunday Mass, we pray especially for those of the Parish family who have passed away recently. In the Sacred Liturgy, we pray for the repose of the souls of our loved ones. We receive the consolation of praying with the whole Church, all the saints, and Jesus.
The death of the just, we are told in Scripture, is blessed in the eyes of the Lord (Psalm 116:15). In the face of death, the Church proclaims that God has created us for Himself and that Christ has broken the bonds of sin and death that keep us from Him. In the face of death, Christians have hope. In Christ, upon the sleep of death, “life is changed, not ended.”
The Church’s funeral ceremonies begin with the wake the night before. The prayer gathering is an appropriate time to reconcile with the past and "celebrate the life" of the deceased with favorite stories. The wake also begins the prayers for the departed loved one and sets the tone for the funeral the next day.
The Holy Mass enables us to offer up our prayers and sorrows in union with Christ’s perfect Sacrifice, made present on the altar under the forms of bread and wine. In keeping with the ancient Christian teaching on purgatory – whereby souls experience a final purgation from the effects of sin – the Requiem Mass begs God to free the deceased from all bonds of sin and to receive the person into paradise. We have confidence that our prayers hasten the journey through purgatory to the eternal joys of heaven (cf. 2 Maccabees 12:43-46). The Funeral Mass provides an opportunity for reconciliation with God. At Mass, we focus on the present and the future in the light of Our Lord’s Death and Resurrection.
The Funeral Mass differs from a memorial service since its focus is Jesus Christ, His victory over death, and the deceased’s participation in the Paschal Mystery. Nevertheless, the Funeral Mass also seeks to console the family and friends of the departed with the Christian hope of life after death and our continuing union with the deceased in Christ.
It can be comforting to remember that our deceased loved ones have seen the face of God. We are then better able to reconcile with all the faithful departed. We also can consider the possibility that they now might feel differently about their last wishes. Our offering of personal prayers and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass benefits those who have died; how we do so benefits the living.
Let us pray.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.
May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
May the Lord be your strength and may His Mother be your comfort.
God bless you.
Rev. Jerry J. Pokorsky