“In celebrating the funeral rites of their brother and sisters, Christians proclaim their Paschal faith in fidelity to the Gospel and offer in the Funeral Mass the sacrifice of the death and resurrection of Christ so that the dead my be purified of their sins and admitted to the Paschal fullness of the Kingdom” (Divine Worship: Occasional Services, the Order of Funerals, 2).

Please accept our condolences during this time of grief.  We appreciate the opportunity to extend pastoral care to you and your family. Below is an overview of the funeral process. Please note that because St. James is currently a mission community that does not yet have a permanent building, there are further details for scheduling a funeral. Please contact us for more information.

Overview of the Christian Order of Funerals

Traditionally there are three parts to a Christian funeral, though some people only chose to celebrate one or two. 

Part I: The Vigil (Visitation or Viewing)

While non Christians often call this part of the funeral rite, the visitation or the viewing, Catholics uphold the ancient tradition of holding a prayer vigil generally held in the afternoon or the evening on the day preceding the Funeral Mass. During this time the priest leads the family and all those gathered in prayers, listening to the word of God read, a sermon may be preached, and or as circumstances suggest, family or friends may speak in remembrance of the deceased. This is also a time when the praying of the rosary is encouraged.

Part II: The Funeral Mass

The funeral Mass takes place at the Church. Because the purpose of the Mass is to pray for the deceased who is being purified and not yet in heaven, traditionally black or violet vestments are worn (white normally signifies the saints who are in heaven already, so this is not normally the best vestment color at a funeral).

Part III: The Committal (Graveside Service)

The body is carried to the place of burial or interment. Psalms are read and sung and the grave is blessed if it is in a place that has not been previously set apart for Christian burial.  Prayers are offered at the graveside and earth is cast upon the body. 


May a funeral Mass be celebrated at funeral home? 

No. The funeral Mass may only be celebrated in a Church. However, the Order for Funerals Outside Mass (prayers, readings, sermon) may be done in a funeral home chapel or another location. 


Days when funerals are not allowed

The celebration of a Funeral Mass is permitted on any day except Holy Days of Obligation, Thursday of Holy Week, the Paschal Triduum, and the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter.


What does the Church teach on full body burial versus cremation? 

According to ancient Christian practice, the Church’s preference out of respect for the dignity and importance of the body is to follow the example of Christ’s burial in which his body was placed in the tomb. However, Christian funeral rites are permitted for those who have been cremated. In cases of cremation, the ashes of the deceased are always to be buried, or properly placed in a niche of a mausoleum. 


Funeral cost

If the funeral takes place at the St. James Mass location there is a $225 building use fee. 

While there is no charge for the administration of the sacraments and sacramentals (and no one may be deprived because of financial inability), $300 is the customary amount given for a funeral.


Next steps

Please Contact us to begin taking care of arrangements for the funeral.