Funerals - Rite of Christian Burial

Funerals and Wakes

If you are visiting this page on our website it may mean that you have recently experienced a death in the family.    Whether expected or not, when a family experiences the death of a loved one it is a trying time for all.  Please accept our sympathy and our condolences.


Please know that we will do our best to work with you as you plan the services for your loved one.  We have a wonderful team of ministers who work with the planning process for the church.

It is best that your initial contact be with a local funeral home.  They will work directly with you and with the parish to coordinate the liturgy and clergy needs.


We are sometimes asked, what does the Catholic Church say about the funeral?  Remember the Mass is for both the Deceased and the Family.  The level of faith practice of both should be taken into consideration as decisions for the liturgy are made.  Here is an expert from the Rite of Christian Burial. 

  • Christians celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God for the gift of life which has now been returned to God, the author of life and the hope of the just.  The Mass, the memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection, is the principal celebration of the Christian funeral.   

With that in mind, here is the order of preference when celebrating a Funeral Liturgy in the Church.

  •  Funeral rites with the body present

  •  Funeral rites with the body present and cremation afterwards

  • Funeral rites with the cremated remains present

Remember, however, there are few hard and fast rules the parish with work with you, your family and the funeral home to make the experience of the funeral a time of prayer, remembrance and celebration. 

For more assistance in planning a funeral at St. Raphael, please contact the Parish Office  (727) 821-7989 or
Suggested Readings (1st and 2nd) for the Funeral Liturgy.  (The Presider will commonly select the Gospel).
A helpful form to assist in selecting music for the Funeral Liturgy.


Can Catholics be Cremated?

Although previously forbidden in 1963 the Vatican lifted the ban on cremation for Catholics as long as the reasons for choosing it did not counter Christian belief. In March 1997 the Vatican granted permission for the Cremated Remains of a body to be brought into church for the liturgical rites of burial. The Church's preference remains to have the full complement of funeral rites take place with the body present and then cremation afterward.

Why doesn't the Church allow cremated remains to be scattered or kept in a home?

The Church believes cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given the human body from which they come. Scattering ashes deprives loved ones and desendants of the opportunity to visit the remains where they can pray and reflect upon the life and memory of the deceased. Dividing the cremated remains among family and friends or keeping them in the homes diminishes the respect for human life and can show a lack of respect and dignity for the deceased loved one.



Guide to Speaking in Remembrance of a Loved One

To Honor the Dead - more detailed information about Catholic Funerals.


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