Funeral Planning

We offer sincere and deep sympathies on the death of your loved one. The entire parish staff will do all that we can to make this difficult time a little easier.

You may have received a St. Clare's funeral planning guide from your funeral director. If not, we have placed a copy here for your convenience.
Funeral Planning Guide: Click here to get a copy.

We have also included some other information that may be of help to you. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the parish office.

Some links to web pages you may find helpful

Symbols in the Funeral Mass

At the funeral Mass, you will notice that we use some symbols in different ways than in our regular Sunday Mass. Many of the symbols reflect the sacrament of Baptism, because in Baptism our loved one has already shared Christ's death and resurrection. There is a unity between Baptism and death.

  • The Easter candle is a large candle that represents Christ, the Light of the World. It is the candle we light at the Easter Vigil the night before Easter. It is also the candle we use to light each person's individual candle when they are baptized. The Easter candle is placed at the head of the coffin during the funeral as a sign that not even death can separate us from the love and light of God.
  • Holy water reminds us of the saving waters of baptism. When the body is received into the Church it is sprinkled with holy water. In the rite of commendation, holy water is a sign of farewell.
  • Incense is used as a sign of honor to the body, which became a temple of the Holy Spirit at Baptism. Since biblical times, incense has also been a sign of our prayers rising to God.
  • The Pall, a white cloth, is spread over the coffin, as a reminder of the white garment received at Baptism.
  • The Bible or Book of Gospels may be placed on the coffin as a sign that Christians live by the Word of God, and that faithfulness to that word leads to eternal life.
  • A Cross or Crucifix may be placed on the coffin, because the Christian is marked by the cross in Baptism, and to help us remember that Jesus' suffering on the cross brings us to the victory of resurrection.
  • The priest wears White vestments to express Christian hope. White vestments are also worn during the major feast days of the Church Liturgical Year, such as Christmas and Easter.
  • At the beginning of the funeral Mass, the body is Received at the church door. The church is the home of all Christians. At baptism, we were received at the same door.

Denise Olsen,
Jul 19, 2019, 8:44 AM