Funeral or Burial of the Dead
The death of a member of the Church should be reported as soon as possible to the parish priest, and arrangements for the funeral should be made in consultation with the priest. Baptized Christians are properly buried from the church. The funeral service marks the final rite of passage for the deceased. The service should be held at a time when the congregation has opportunity to be present.
How is the funeral service arranged?
The family member of the deceased should notify the parish office of the death of the member of the parish. The family member also makes an arrangement with a funeral home for the care of the repose of the dead. The funeral director will work with the parish office on the dates and times of the burial service. The parish priest will meet with the family members to discuss the funeral service. If possible, it is advised that the particular details of the funeral service be discussed with the parish priest prior to one's death or be included in the will. This alleviates the burden of decision from the family members.
What is the nature of the service?
The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds all its meaning in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, shall be raised. The liturgy, therefore, is characterized by joy, in the certainty that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This joy, however, does not make human grief unchristian. The very love we have for each other in Christ brings deep sorrow when we are parted by death. Jesus himself wept at the grave of his friend. So, while we rejoice that one we love has entered into the nearer presence of our Lord, we sorrow in sympathy with those who mourn (BCP, p. 507).
The order of the funeral service follows the service of the Burial of the Dead from the Book of Common Prayer.
Ministration at the Time of Death
When a person is near death, the parish priest should be notified in order that the ministrations of the Church may be provided. This last rite of unction gives an opportunity for the dying person to prepare for the immanent departure by making the last confession and receiving Communion.