A priest incenses the casket at the Final Commendation at a funeral Mass. (Image: NJ.com)
These points may be of interest to those following the conversation here on funeral rites and in anticipation of the funeral of Senator Kennedy on Saturday morning.
From the General Instruction of the Roman Missal
At the Funeral Mass there should, as a rule, be a short homily, but never a eulogy of any kind.
(GIRM, no. 382)
From the Order of Christian Funerals:
• From the Introduction:
A brief homily based on the readings is always given after the gospel reading at the funeral liturgy and may also be given after the readings at the vigil (wake) service; but there is never to be a eulogy. Attentive to the grief of those present, the homilist should dwell on God's compassionate love and on the paschal mystery of the Lord, as proclaimed in the Scripture readings. The homilist should also help the members of the assembly to understand that the mystery of God's love and the mystery of Jesus' victorious death and resurrection were present in the life and death of the deceased and that these mysteries are active in our own lives as well. Through the homily members of the family and community should receive consolation and strength to face the death of one of their members with a hope nourished by the saving Word of God...
(Order of Christian Funerals, no. 27)
• At the Vigil (wake) Service, after the Concluding Prayer:
A member or a friend of the family may speak in rembrance of the deceased.
(Order of Christian Funerals no. 80)
• At the Funeral Mass, at the time for the Final Commendation:
Following the Prayer after Communion, the priest goes to a place near the casket. The assisting ministers carry the censer and holy water if these are to be used.
A member or a friend of the family may speak in remembrance of the deceased before the final commendation begins.
(Order of Christian Funerals, no. 170)
(ConcordPastor notes that the Order of Christian Funerals envisions the remarks of remembrance being delivered while the priest and ministers are standing at the casket.)
From the policy on funeral rites for the Archdiocese of Boston:
Following the prayer after Communion and before the Final Commendation, only one speaker, a member or a friend of the family, may speak for not more than five minutes in remembrance of the deceased.
(RCAB Funeral Policy, no. 18)
-ConcordPastor Kennedy-Shriver Funerals