The funeral of Eunice Shriver

AP Photo by Elise Amendola

CHECK HERE for another post on things funereal!

The complete video of Eunice Shriver's funeral Mass is available at this interesting site: Your Funeral Guy.

I've just caught part of Mrs. Shriver's funeral Mass on television. I tuned in just before the Lamb of God as a soloist was singing Pie Jesu. I hope to see the complete funeral on YouTube or somewhere else so that I might understand how Pie Jesu found a place just before the Breaking of the Bread of the Eucharist.

I'm also looking forward to reading any cyber reviews of this liturgy in the blogosphere.

Mrs. Shriver was a wonderful woman whose faithful life as a Catholic woman touched and changed the lives of hundreds of thousands. A funeral liturgy more faithful to what the Church intends would have been a more fitting prayer for commending her to the mercy and peace of God.

(These comments are not directed at the Shriver family but rather towards those responsible for assisting them in preparing the funeral liturgy.)

UPDATE: H/T to NED, You can link to the "worship aid" for the funeral, at the Boston Globe. (Scroll down to the end of the Globe article.)

It's unfortunate and a burden for local pastors when the funeral rites of celebrities place before millions a ritual that departs in many ways from what the Church intends. Such events set a false standard which makes assisting grieving families in preparing a funeral liturgy for their loved ones an even more difficult task.

O God, to whom mercy and forgiveness belong,
command that Eunice be carried safely home to heaven
and come to enjoy your eternal reward.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

-ConcordPastor Kennedy-Shriver Funerals


  1. "Pie Jesu" accompanied an extended Sign of Peace. I too was a bit surprised at a couple of things that happened since liturgist Richard Fragomeni was the priest presider. I assumed that his input was not asked for and he was invited to preside and preach only.

  2. Wonderful woman!

    Waaaaay toooo much news coverage!

  3. I watched and was very much moved by the Shriver funeral. I am not a liturgist so I don't know what should have been/should not have been included in the liturgy. But I had the same thought- when members of my family have passed away, the church gave us strict guidelines on what we could/could not have at the funeral(s). (Readings, music, etc.) Why are celebrities treated differently by the same church? Example: Eulogy (for us) no more than 2 minutes...for celebrities it can go on for much longer including remarks given by a priest or bishop. It kind of gives the message that they are more imoportant than us ordinary folks which in God's - and my - eyes is totally false.

    Just wondering.......

  4. I watched the part of the wake yesterday that was shown on NECN and the entire proceedings today, again on NECN. I thought the procession, the mass (including all the music), the introductory address, the homily, the intentions and Maria's eulogy were all very beautiful. Some of the stories that were quite funny I had never heard before. The poem that Maria had written with her mother was absolutely wonderful. Eunice Kennedy Shriver was an amazing woman. Her life story is an inspiration for us all.

    While the funeral liturgy might not have followed the book absolutely, I don't think that is a reason to be dismayed. In so many ways it touched my heart. I found myself thinking how grateful I am to be a Catholic, to have the mass and our traditions to help bring joy out of sorrow to those who grieve.

    The liturgy was a celebration of the many facets of Eunice Kennedy Shriver's life. I think it was an extraordinary tribute to an extraordinary woman.

    I hope that Eunice's legacy will be to keep us moving and that her example will also let us know when we need to stop and pray.


  5. Rosemary wrote:

    The liturgy was a celebration of the many facets of Eunice Kennedy Shriver's life. I think it was an extraordinary tribute to an extraordinary woman.

    And therein lies the problem... A funeral Mass, like all sacramental celebrations, are first and foremost celebrations of our faith in the paschal mystery of Jesus dying and rising - and how we share in that mystery.

    Of course, the liturgy of a funeral Mass will hold up, at some points, how the one being prayed for showed in her life the paschal mystery alive and moving.

    As beautiful as Maria's words were, they were a eulogy and the liturgy does not allow for a eulogy. Brief comments of reflection by a family member or friend? Yes. A eulogy? No.

    This is an example of what makes it difficult for pastors to help families at the time of a funeral. The guideline in the Archdiocese of Boston is one person, speaking 3-5 minutes. Even though this funeral took place in the Diocese of Fall River, it will have repercussions all over the country.

  6. I just belatedly read/posted the comment by "Anonymous" above. He/she is a perfect example of the point I'm trying to make here.

  7. If you take a look at the "worship aid" for Mrs. Shriver's funeral, you'll have another example of the misplaced emphasis I'm speaking of here.

    (At the Boston Globe page, scroll down to the end of the article for a link to a PDF of the worship aid/program.)

  8. I don't think the singing ot when the saints go marchin in is allowed either unles your a celebrity. Maybe in the Fall Riv Diocese but not in Boston..I asked for it once and was turned down...

    media circus.

  9. I am glad that flexibility in the Church's guidelines was given for this funeral. For me, Maria's eulogy was the most moving part of the celebration of Eunice Kennedy Shriver's life. I personally feel privileged to have heard this daughter's tribute to her Mother.


  10. The RC liturgy was respected, even if it was not in perfect order. I am RC, and I have participated in funeral liturgies for several family members.

    I'm sorry. At moments of high grief, the family OUGHT to have some say in how the ritual plays out.

    The Shriver family bent the decision of some bureaucrat to allow only 3-5 minutes for a grieving family member to speak. Good for them.

  11. As someone who has studied liturgy, I learned to put aside the not so perfect things that occur at every liturgy. God hears our prayer regardless. The problem is that most of us strive for what is good for the church. We put guidelines into place and do our best to catechize the faithful. Then a celebrity or influential family is granted permission to include something outside the guidelines and puts the rest of us in an uncomfortable position. Pastoral decisions should always apply when it comes to the bereaved and their wishes and I do believe that there are times when some rules can be bent a little bit without causing scandal. The problem with the Shriver funeral is that it was televised and now the faithful will question our guidelines. Back to square one.....

  12. I understand the concern for following the guidelines for our Catholic funeral liturgy, and for how celebrity can mean some things are allowed that might not otherwise be. But I have to say that as mother to a child with special needs I am grateful this was televised and so much media attention is given to Eunice Shriver's life. This is a teachable moment, and even in death she is teaching the world about what is truly important. I knew she started the Special Olympics program, but I'm learning her legacy is even beyond that in advocating in all areas for children and families of children with disabilities. To quote her prayer card:

    The right to play on any playing field? You have earned it. The right to study in any school. You have earned it. The right to hold a job. You have earned it. The right to be anyone's neighbor. You have earned it.

    These are her words. She opened doors and hearts, she helped open up the world for those with special needs. I'm grateful the world gets to hear her message of welcoming all, inclusion and celebration and acceptance of all. It's what Jesus would do and did!

  13. if it was my funeral, I would want (and have faith that) the liturgy to be just what the Church intends...

    ...God alone knows everything about me- all of my thoughts, feelings...

    ...but that's just me...

  14. Noted liturgist Rev. Richard Fragomeni was the homilist and presider.

    If you hear him speak publicly he will almost always say "My name is Richard Fragomeni, I am a priest of the Albany diocese." Which he is, even if he has not lived here for a long time.

    Sorry for my Albanian departure there.

    Having been involved with funeral ministry and working in a parish office, I know how much people want to change up the liturgy, even if it is just a little. I know that where I work, he has a gentle but firm approach to what is appropriate. It is hard when people are in grief. It must be harder when the family is like this one.

    That said, Eunice Kennedy Shriver was an amazing woman. Catholic Sensibility had a post about the near silence of the Catholic blogosphere about her, but here you are with a post.

    Rest in peace Eunice! Angels speed her to paradise.


  15. In response to various "Anonymous" comments above:

    Of course, the rite invites and encourages the participation of family in preparing the funeral Mass and that's certainly a priority in my own parish. What the rite doesn't invite is anyone's rewriting the purpose of the ritual or the ritual itself.

    There are a number of opportunities over the course of the several rites involved in the liturgy of Christian burial when family members are welcome to speak - the time in the funeral Mass is but one moment and it servers the liturgy best when it observers some guidelines.

    Long before Mrs. Shriver's funeral Mass, in fact at least a week before she died the news was alive with reports of all the good work she had done in so many ways and especially through through the Special Olympics. That news was not waiting for the funeral Mass for broadcasting.

  16. I don't know what you are so upset about? The vast majority of people are out and about all day working and living life not watching a televised funeral. If they see any of the funeral it most likely will be snippets on the news containing a portion of the Mass when her daughter Maria addressed the mourners. Respectful variations are better than some of the formulaic funerals I have attended in Catholic Churches where the presiding priest did not even mention the deceased by name or acknowledge the surviving family members.

  17. If that were the choice to be made ("respectful variations" vs. "formulaic funerals") the answer might be different - but that's not the question here.

    The variations at issue here do not respect the rite or its purpose. There's nothing wrong with a eulogy - it just does not have a place within the liturgy. And I'm certainly not defending "formulaic funerals" where the presider seems ignorant of those being served.

  18. This morning I had the pleasure of an unscheduled conversation with a few friends over coffee. It rarely happens, but we were all in the same place at the same time, in this case a farmer’s market and collectively decided to seize the opportunity.

    After catching up on family, friends, books and the “third rail topic” of health care reform we found ourselves discussing our other “third rail topic”- the Catholic Church. We were all raised Catholic in greater Boston but did not know each other in our youth. The Catholic Church came up as a result of someone commenting that she watched the news excerpt of Maria Shriver speak at her mother’s funeral yesterday. She was moved and inspired not only by Maria’s words but by her being surrounded by her brothers and that she was an active pall bearer. I had read your blog posting yesterday where you expressed frustration/disappointment with Maria Shriver’s eulogy and that some elements of the funeral Mass were out of order. (I am a lay person.) Your post was running through my mind and I wish I better understood the issue from your perspective. On the other hand, I was listening to friends (we are all in our 50’s) discuss this funeral in contrast to our own recent experiences in greater Boston where they had buried parents/friends from Churches the person had never entered while living because all the parishes the individual had been affiliated with were closed. Most had parents who would have been in the category of “strong” Catholics---lifelong parishioners, Mass attendees, raised their children in the faith, and contributed financially. At the end of their lives they were frequently unable to “switch” parishes and/or attend Mass. I realize that the church is more than a building; however, the additional coldness in their final rite of being unknown/anonymous to the clergy is simply put, sad. To get to the point of my writing, this morning, a group of 50+ year old women (none of us could recall the last time we went to a weekly Mass) saw a woman, a very public person, our own age actively participate in a Catholic funeral and seemingly proud to be a Catholic. She made us wonder if we are capable of acting that way too someday.

  19. Commenters: Check the post for an update including a link to the complete video of the Shriver funeral.

  20. not sure you got this before.... I think I found the answer to the PIE Jesu inclusion... it looks like an Andrew Lloyd Webber version of the Agnus Dei.... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pie_Jesu

  21. Last year when Tim Russert passed away his Catholic funeral was also televised. Many people eulogized him including his son. The recessional song was "Somewhere over the Rainbow". I do not recollect people being upset by this or considering his funeral some liturgical error...people simply expressed their sorrow at his seemingly pre-mature death and hoped/prayed for his eternal rest.

    I did look at the program posted on the Globe website detailing the Mass for Mrs. Shriver and did not see anything disturbing or disrespectful.

  22. I think you're right on target, CP. Several things strange about this.

    - Appropriate musical selections?
    - A welcoming speech by some layperson at the start of Mass (after the body has been brought into the church)?
    - Full color cover photo of the deceased on the booklet, having no mention of it being the funeral Mass?
    - Had to have 19 intercessions so each grandchild had a part?
    - The compromise practice regarding eulogies (in many places) is after communion, before dismissal, only one person comes up to speak, 3-5 min MAX. Okay, fine. So, Maria's brothers needed to go up and get some camera time standing behind her while she spoke?
    - All the repeated references to the funeral Mass being "Private" and "Invitation Only"? Aarrgghh!
    - - If the church is so small and there's honestly so many family and friends expected that there won't be room for parishioners, a parish priest simply puts the word out that a crowd is expected and please consider not coming to leave room for out-of-town visitors. They actually called it a "private funeral" on the parish website!
    - - This was the good woman's own parish (at least some of the time), right? I've been in a parish where a beloved and important local died and all the VIPs and interested associated persons showed up for the funeral, taking the customary place of parishioners (some of whom had been at the deceased's side for decades). I'll tell you, it's a disgusting thing to see.
    - - The special Olympians - for whom she did so much, who came to honor her memory - who led the procession to the church? The locals (and tourists) who lined the streets? Were all these people left out in the sun and heat on Friday? Not one word in all the reports of any provisions being made to invite them in out of the heat, maybe watch a video feed of the "private" Mass - in the parish school or someplace?

  23. I wonder if St Francis Xavier parish has printed guidelines for those families preparing a funeral mass. I believe that every parish should have a printed handout explaining the guidelines from the Order of Christian Funerals. It should be made available and distributed before people are experiencing this stress. Yearly, during the month of November, our Catholic month for remembering the dead, might be a good time to remind folks to take a copy.
    That being said, it is time to forget about the mistakes made and move on. Better to remember the wonderful life of Eunice and the example she gave us all. Pray for those who are mourning.

  24. I just have to respond to above posting. Here is a link to Cardinal O'Malley's blog posted in boston.com under Articles of Faith http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles_of_faith/2009/08/omalley_pays_tr.html.

    I understand there is definitely a place for this discussion but it makes me more than a little sad, maybe partly it's the timing. I love reading the majority of your postings CP but personally I think it might be more helpful to reflect on the importance of the contributions she has made, rather than the funeral liturgies failing to adhere to the guidelines. In his blog Cardinal Sean makes the point that the family had a beautiful private service that was part of the wake that he attended. He also compares her to Jean Vanier who founed L'Arche (who is a living saint to those with disabilities) The world needs more people like Eunice Shriver. Personlly I just would rather focus on her beautiful life and the difference she has made for so many, and save this for a general discussion at another time.

  25. I think it is interesting that there have been so many people that have chosen to be anonymous for this post. I am glad that the last one mentioned Cardinal Sean O'Malley. His blog is cardinalseansblog.org He has known the Shriver family since his days in Washington, D.C. I thought he gave a beautiful tribute to Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Michael Paulson mentioned the Cardinal's blog post in this Sunday's Boston Globe. He also mentioned you, CP! Re his, then your post with signs: Dead End/Hope.

    Because of the variety of coverage, I have learned things about Eunice Kennedy Shriver that I hadn't known. It has given me an even greater appreciation for her well-lived life of deep faith, great love and good deeds.


  26. For those of us who are not liturgists (if that is the correct term), I still do not know what was wrong with the Shriver funeral Mass. The blog host mentions Maria Shriver's eulogy but does not state the specifics of what was wrong. Was the problem that she was a lay person? Was the problem that it was too long? Is the priest the only one that can eulogize someone or is a eulogy not at all allowed in Catholic funerals? A piece of music was out of order or not suitable for a funeral (Pie Jesu) Charavari Rob has a list of objections- but I do not know if some/all these violate the rules of the Church. Charavari's examples inlcuded having a photo on the cover of the "program" and having all the grandchildren participate. Perhaps the side bar of this site might include a link to the Church's parameters for a funeral. If we lay people read through them prior to being "in grief" it might be easier for all when we are reminded of the boundaries under stressful times. They certainly did not include any of this in the old CCD classes. Do they instruct young Catholics about this now?

  27. I am a pastor in a church just outside Boston. I am in total agreement with Fr. Fleming on this one!
    The Catholic Funeral Liturgy is NOT a "celebration of the life" of the deceased, it IS a celebration of the Paschal Mystery; the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Most Catholics who are active in their parish community understand this on some level. The problem is, as Fr. Fleming states, when rich people or famous people are being buried from the Church and these funerals receive lots of media attention, and those responsible for the liturgy allow small and large exceptions to the liturgical rules, it presents a template for future funerals. And if the template is not truly a Catholic funeral, it makes my job more difficult when 4 people want to do a eulogy for grandma at her funeral Mass. The father of a high powered politician was buried from our church a couple of years ago. When the family requested "You are The Wind Beneath My Wings" as the recessional song, we had to try to explain why this is not appropriate. After my 10 minute instruction, the politician's brother said to me; "Don't you know who we are!?" In other words, rules are for the little people?
    Boston priests received an instruction about ten years ago, shortly after the funeral of Rose Kennedy ...(I think the Kennedys have had more influence on what Catholic funerals look like than any Bishops' Conference!!!!)... we received an instruction that there is to be one, and only one person giving a short reflection or "words of remembrance" at the end of Mass. Rose had four or five, and that's when the brakes had to be put on. The same thing started happening in our parishes and there were times when the eulogies were longer than the entire Mass! So we have this strong instruction from "headquarters" but it is so difficult to follow because everybody and his brother has been to funerals in the area where more than one eulogy is given. Then I look like the VERY BAD GUY because our parish staff only allows good liturgical music and only one speaker at the end of Mass.
    Two summers ago I became so very frustrated while watching the highly media covered funeral of a Boston Firefighter buried from a large church in West Roxbury. Three different people got up to give "eulogies" or words of remembrance, and one of them was the Archbishop of Boston!
    I've written a couple of times to the Office of Worship for clarification on this, but never received any answer.
    Of course it's very difficult to teach people at the time of loss about what the focus of liturgy is supposed to be.

  28. I hope that by the end of this day I'll have a post on the funeral that will answer the questions posed by "anonymous."

  29. In response to the comment above about Tim Russert's funeral. The problem was not with the Russert family, the problem is with the pastor who allowed several eulogists and "Somewhere Over The Rainbow." Over the Rainbow is one of my favorite songs, but it really has no place in the Catholic Liturgy. "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas" is one of my favorite Christmas songs. But I don't want to hear it as a Communion Hymn at Christmas Eve Mass! As a pastor, I know it's hard to "stand your ground" when dealing with famous, rich, or powerful people. If the Russerts had requested that Pizza and Coke be used for the Eucharist, rather than bread and wine, would the pastor have allowed that? And, by the way, pizza and coke are my favorite guilty pleasures, but I don't want them served at Mass!!!!

    The Eucharist is first for all of us, The Body of Christ, for the building up of The Body of Christ. All songs, readings, prayers, reflections and yes, even the "eulogy" must reflect this reality.

    Liturgical rules are not meant to be hammers to hit people over the head with and to give church leaders more power. Liturgical rules are in place to defend the dignity of the liturgy and to assure that the liturgy's role of community builder is protected.

    When pastors and other parish leaders allow exceptions, it does a great disservice to the liturgy and to the Body of Christ. And I get annoyed with my fellow pastors who make these exceptions because it makes me look like the grouchy old pastor when I play according to the rules.

    This is not to say that there are no "options." There are plenty of options for readings, music, things said in the homily. Some things are very appropriate, and some things are not.

    When someone asked me a month ago if "Danny Boy" could be sung at a funeral Mass, I responded that I'd allow it if the opening hymn would be Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust."

    Danny Boy stayed in the pub where he belongs.

  30. I'm grateful for the priests weighing in on this topic - and I did not ask any priests to do so!

    Gentian: Unfortunately/fortunately, depending on your point of view, the hymnal in our pews (OCP) now includes a setting of the funeral rite's Song of Farewell to the tune of... Danny Boy!

  31. Isn't the setting to Londonderry Air really a paraphrase of "In Paradisum," as opposed to the "Song of Farewell," which is a translation of the "Subvenite" -- which used to be sung when the body arrived at the church?

    At my mother-in-law's funeral just last week, the Song of Farewell was a paraphrase of the Subvenite to the Old 100th tune, which is commonly used for the text "All People That On Earth Do Dwell."

  32. RP Burke: Right you are! Thank you for your knowledgeable eye!

  33. I have read all the comments on this site and find it difficult to understand why people have to find fault or criticize. None of the rules re eulogy's or songs are dogma related. If the priest in attendance allows it, that's his perogative ....it's called the pastoral arm of the church. I am a practising Catholic and find comments like this the very reason so many people have problems with Catholics. Ask yourselves what Jesus would do ...he was much more open-minded and kind than a lot of our rule makers and priets. The Lord gave us a brain and he expects us to use it. Surely we have better things to do with our time than find fault. The funeral, the music and the eulogy was beautiful and a celebration of a life well lived. Let's leave it at that.

  34. ...but, with all due respect, I think some commenters here are missing the point...

  35. As one of those who had commented earlier, I just want to say that I've had mixed feelings about even posting because I do get the point of the Catholic funeral guidelines not being followed. I can understand how frustrating and challenging it must make it for those guiding the grieving, pastors/liturgists who do follow the guidelines.

    To me though it is a matter of timing, in having this discussion now, so soon after Eunice Shriver's passing, when many people, Catholic or not, are wanting to learn more about her. It's a missed opportunity when more could be written about her from the Catholic perspective. I'm grateful Fr. Fleming for your later link and comments on Tim Shriver's writing about his mother's deep Catholic faith and devotion to Mary, how Mary was her role model and how much that's impacted his life. That's more of what I'm wanting, in my own reading, and more reflection on how she lived her life for others, particularly all she did for kids/adults with disabilities, how much her Catholic faith influenced all she did.

    But again, respectfully, there is a place for this discussion on the guidelines I know.

  36. I was surprised that one of the priests who commented said that the Catholic Funeral Liturgy was not a celebration of the life of the deceased. I thought how could that be?

    I have saved a number of orders of service for funerals I have attended. I pulled them out and sure enough all those that mentioned celebrating the life of the deceased were from Protestant Memorial Services. In fact, I have attended many more Protestant Memorial Services than Catholic Funeral Liturgies, so I guess that is why the celebration of the life of the deceased was so fixed in my mind.

    Whether it is officially sanctioned or not, I think that the celebration of the life of the deceased should be a part of a Catholic Funeral Liturgy. And, in fact, I believe it is.

    I wonder if Eunice is having a chuckle over the stir her funeral service has caused (at least on this blog)!


  37. Re the "Pie Jesu"... Not sure I see the problem. Is it not the combination of
    - the last verse of the "Dies Irae" (which was indeed a staple of Requiem Masses until 1970 when it was removed from the Missal. [I am 63 and I still know the words and melody]) and
    - the last verse of the "Agnus Dei", which ordinarily comes before the breaking of the bread?

    Was something against faith or disrespectful of the Eucharist being sung? Exactly what scandal was being given? Please explain. As I understand it, the Latin is:
    "Pie Jesu
    Qui tollis peccata mundi
    Dona eis requiem
    Agnus Dei
    Dona eis requiem sempiternam"

    The English is:

    "Merciful Jesus
    Who takes away the sins of the world
    Grant them rest
    Lamb of God
    Grant them everlasting rest"

    I do not believe the video is available on You Tube so I am not sure which precise version of the "Pie Jesu" was sung, but there are many versions which appear as motets in Requiem's, some going back to the early 1800's. Someone suggested that it was the Andrew Lloyd Webber version. Would that make it a problem? Because he is a member of the Church of England? Because he writes popular music? Was the problem that the singing accompanied the Sign of Peace? Could the problem be better defined so that I might understand its nature?

    I frankly see no problem at all and find myself in agreement with Cardinal O'Malley whose liturgical feathers do not seem to have been disturbed.

    I am glad that they live where they live and had the opportunity to celebrate the life of their mother, who, in my opinion, exemplifies a holiness which none of us will probably even come close to achieving but to which we should all aspire. Part of achieving that holiness was her commitment to changing the world. We should not be so fearful of change. After all, the "Dies Irae" was removed after many centuries to help us have a better image of a loving God as opposed to a God who is the supreme "Accountant" keeping track of all the rules and transgressions. Sound familiar? Eunice Kennedy Shriver's funeral helps me to see the face of that God who is ever so mysterious so much more clearly. Glad that it got the publicity it did so that others might be similarly moved.

    Though this is listed as "Anonymous", you can call me "Mary S". Having too many registered online ID's/passwords gets to be tedious.

  38. Anonymous Mary S:

    The first line of this post refers you to where I'm trying to steer this conversation. The post at hand includes a link to the full video where you would have heard the Pie Jesu and found that it was from the Faure Requiem. The entire text in the Faure is:
    Pie Jesu Domine
    done eis requiem
    requiem sempiternam.

    In the Faure, Pie Jesu is followed by a complete and musically independent Agnus Dei.

    As the video shows, this was sung during the Kiss of Peace and was followed by the singing of the Agnus Dei, in Latin, with the ending of the third trope being, dona eis requiem. Thus, the singing of the Faure selection was musical accompaniment of some sort for the Kiss of Peace.

    I did not imply that this was scandalous or disrespectful of the Eucharist.

    Please see my more recent post regards the fallacy of a funeral being a celebration of the life of the deceased.

  39. The only thing which turned me off during the funeral was the style of delivery of the priest. My family's experiences during the deaths of my parents was difficult. The priest offended my 85 year old mother who had just lost her husband of over 50 years. His strict reliance on liturgical correctness (LC?) hurt her deeply. She was a devout and intelligent woman, and rigidity of the priest was a cause for hurt and anger which still reverberates.
    The liturgy, while helpful in its predictable structure, needs to serve people, not just the other way around. Does the law exist for itself?
    A young woman whom I know well, lost her mother in Lent. She approached the church, after some time of estrangement from it, and was permanently alienated by the rules....
    Human concern and compassion should trump the "correctness" even of liturgical form. Or what's the point?

  40. As you will note at the top of this post, I've posted again on funeral liturgies with the hope of increasing knowledge and understanding of how the Church celebrates funeral rites - and why.

    So, I'm closing comments on this post.

    Let's continue the discussion in terms of the liturgy the Church is offering folks so that our discussion can be better informed and more fruitful.

    Hope to see you all in the more recent post.