Although death brings a deep sense of sadness and loss, faith can provide solace and strength. This time offers an opportunity to encounter God in a new way and to deepen our belief in God’s love for us and for our loved one. It is time for us to support and console one another, especially in our belief in the promise and gift of eternal life.
When we, as Christians, encounter death we are drawn to prayer, praying for those who have died and those who loved them. The prayer that supports Catholic Christians at the time of a death is called the funeral rites. Through the funeral rites we offer worship, praise and thanksgiving to God for the gift of a life which has now been returned to God, the author of life. The celebration of the Catholic funeral rites brings hope and consolation to the living. The funeral rites begin with the prayers at the vigil or wake, then continue at the Mass of Christian Burial (the Funeral Mass) and conclude at the committal, the burial.