Funeral Service step-by-step

When someone dies, a St. Thomas More funeral is available for them whether they were churchgoers or not. Funerals can be held in the local church or led by a priest in a cemetery, crematorium or green burial site.

To explore the option of having a funeral in a our parish, it’s best to first contact the front office.  You can usually telephone or email, and the church Director or another church contact will respond to your inquiry as soon as they can. 

With You At Every Step​

 

Wherever you choose to have a funeral, it will reflect the unique life of the person you knew. Whatever will help to make the funeral special - music, hyms, readings, tributes, even the type of coffin - can be part of a St. Thomas More funeral. talk to your minister about what is possible. we're with you every step pof the way. 

The Arrival

When everyone has arrived at the funeral venue, the coffin will be carried by the pall-bearers, (who could be family or friends), into the building or onto the burial site, depending on where the funeral is to take place. If the funeral is in a crematorium or in a church, music can be played as the coffin is carried in. You may prefer no music, and that is fine too .Some funerals taking place outdoors have included live music at this point, such as a flautist or trumpeter, to accompany the coffin to the graveside. But it’s also fine to have no music at all. The minister may also say some words of comfort and hope as the coffin is being carried.

 

Music

When everyone is gathered, a hymn may be sung. It is fine if you don't want any hymns, but if you do, here are some popular choices for funerals:

  • Amazing Grace

  • Be Not Afraid

  • In The Garden

  • How Great Thou Art

  • On Eagles Wings

Remembering a Unique Life

After the hymn, there is time to listen to the story of the person you knew and loved. You, another friend or relative, or the church minister can do this. It may include reading and/or music which reflect the character or interests of the person who has died. There are popular readings for funerals given on the right - just click on the readings to see more.

A Message Of Hope

You can choose the Bible reading for this part of the service if you would like to. Some popular choices are offered on the right. The minister will speak about God's promises - of the hope that death is not the end. Whatever your beliefs, hearing these words can bring a sense of hope and comfort, even at this very difficult time.

Funeral Readings Selection

First Reading

Sirach 44:1.10-15


Now will I praise those godly men and women, our ancestors, each in their own time: These were godly people whose virtues have not been forgotten; their wealth remains in their families, endures, their posterity, for their sake. And for all time their progeny will endure, their glory will never be blotted out; their bodies are peacefully laid away, but their name lives on and on. At gatherings their wisdom is retold, and the assembly proclaims their praise.




Daniel 12:1-3


I, Daniel, mourned and I heard this word of the Lord: "At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people; It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since nations began until that time. At that time your people shall escape, everyone who is found written in the book. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace. But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever."




Isaiah 25:6.7-9


On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples. On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations; he will destroy death forever. The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces; the reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken. On that day it will be said: "Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us! This is the LORD for whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!"




Isaiah 40:1-8


Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; Indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins. A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; The rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all mankind shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. A voice says, "Cry out!" I answer, "What shall I cry out?" "All mankind is grass, and all their glory like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower wilts, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it. So then, the people is the grass. Though the grass withers and the flower wilts, the word of our God stands forever."




Wisdom 3:1-9 or 3:1-6.9


But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace. For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself. In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble; they shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the LORD shall be their King forever. Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and His care is with His elect.




2 Maccabees 12:43-46


Judas, the ruler of Israel, then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.





Responsorial Psalm

Shepherd Me, O God


Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life. God is my shepherd, so nothing shall I want, I rest in the meadows of faithfulness and love, I walk by the quiet waters of peace. Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life. Gently you raise me and heal my weary soul, you lead me by pathways of righteousness and truth, my spirit shall sing the music of your Name. Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life. Though I should wander the valley of death, I fear no evil, for you are at my side, your rod and your staff, my comfort and my hope. Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life.




The Lord is My Shepherd


The Lord is my shepherd, There is nothing I shall want. (2 times) The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, In verdant pastures, He gives me repose. Besides restful waters he leads me, He refreshes my soul. The Lord is my shepherd, There is nothing I shall want. He guides me in right paths, For His name’s sake, Even though I walk in the dark valley, I fear no evil; For you are at my side, with your rod and your staff, That gives me courage. The Lord is my shepherd, There is nothing I shall want. You spread the table before me, In the sight of my foes, You anoint my head with oil, My cup overflows. The Lord is my shepherd, There is nothing I shall want. Only goodness and kindness follow me, All the days of my life, And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, For years to come. The Lord is my shepherd, There is nothing I shall want.





Gospel (Selected by the clergy)

John 11:17-27


When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away. And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. (But) even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise." Martha said to him, "I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? "She said to him, "Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world."




Luke 12:35-40


Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into. You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect."




Luke 20:27


Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus in order to question Him. Jesus replied: "The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God's children, since they are children of the resurrection. In the account of the [burning] bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord 'the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive." Some of the teachers of the law responded: "Well said, teacher!" And no one dared to ask him any more questions.




Matthew 11:25-30


At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”




Matthew 25:31-46


Jesus said to his disciples: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.' Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."




Matthew 28:16-20


Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."




Matthew 5:1-12a


When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”




John 6:37-40


Jesus said to the crowd: "Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the One who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what He gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day."




John 14:1-6


Jesus said to his disciples: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way." Thomas said to him, "Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”




John 16:16, 20-22, 27a, 28


"A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me." …Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. You have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father."





Second Reading

2 Corinthians 5:1, 6-10


For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven. So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord. Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.




Thessalonians 4:13-18


We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep. Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, console one another with these words.




1 Corinthians 13:4-13


Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.




2 Timothy 4:1-9


I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths. But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance. Try to join me soon.




Corinthians 15:51-57


Brothers and sisters: Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality. And when this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality, then the word that is written shall come about: Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.




Romans 5:1-11


Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath. Indeed, if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by his life. Not only that, but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.




Romans 6:3-4, 8-9





Romans 14:7-9. 10-12


None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For this is why Christ died and came to life, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written: "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bend before me, and every tongue shall give praise to God." So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.





Reflecting and Remembering

In a time of reflection, music can be played, or silence may be kept. Prayers will be said too. At this point, it might be appropriate to lay flowers on the coffin or express your sadness and loss in another way. Some families choose a cardboard coffin so that messages and pictures can be drawn on it. Perhaps a poem or a reading may be just right. Talk to your minister about any ideas you might have. Tell them all about the person you knew and loved and they can offer suggestions for special ways to make it personal. In your order of service, there may also be time for another hymn, if you'd like that. Talk to your minister about how much time you'll have, especially if the funeral is taking place at a crematorium.

Saying Goodbye

It will then be time for the farewell. The minister will pray, asking God to keep your loved one in his care, using words that have been used for centuries: "...earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust: in sure and certain hope fo the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ" This may be a very emotional moment. It may be possible to have some special music played at this point. The minister will say a blessing and music may be played as the mourners leave the venue. 

A Moment With God
There's so much to think about when Organizing a funeral, but God is with you and your church will help you through it. If you'd like to take a moment to pray, you can light a candle here online to help you do that.

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