Our Deepest Sympathy...
The pastor, the pastoral staff and the parishioners of Saint Benedict Parish offer our prayerful support especially at this time of your loss. We want you to know that in the days and months ahead we are willing to be of whatever help we might be to you. We are also aware that we cannot remove your pain, but we hope to be able to assist you in whatever way possible as you attempt to find God's loving presence even in the midst of suffering. Please call the parish office at 843-216-0039.
Some Pastoral Considerations
The Catholic Church celebrates the Rites of Christian Burial chiefly for two reasons (as given in The Order of Christian Funerals, article four):
- "The Church intercedes on behalf of the deceased" and
- "The Church ministers to the sorrowing and consoles them with the Word of God and the Sacrament of the Eucharist."
Responding to this directive of the universal Church, Saint Benedict parish takes seriously its responsibility to minister to those who have died and to their families and loved ones. We do so in several ways, most notably, in the way we celebrate the liturgical rites provided for the deceased.
Saint Benedict celebrates the Rites of Christian Burial for all those who seek them. While it is expected that the Rite of Christian Burial be celebrated for baptized Catholics, the Catholic Church also permits the rites to be celebrated for unbaptized children (of Christian families) as well as baptized members of non-Catholic communities of faith.
While the Catholic Church continues to encourage the ancient custom of burying the dead, cremation is permitted. Where cremation is to take place, the following are the options for a funeral liturgy:
- The body may be brought to the church for the funeral Mass and then cremation follows.
- A service of prayer and Scripture reading may take place in the funeral home with cremation following.
Please note that it is the Church's expectation that out of respect for the remains of the deceased, the ashes of cremated persons should be buried or entombed.
The Rite of Christian Burial provides for a variety of prayerful celebrations. While the traditional practice is the celebration of a funeral Mass, circumstances may dictate a preference for a service of Scripture and prayer in the funeral home (and/or at the cemetery). This might be appropriate where the family or loved ones are not of the Catholic faith, or where the deceased has never been an active Catholic. If there are questions regarding this matter, the pastoral staff would be happy to discuss them with the family.
At the same time, persons who regularly participated in the celebration of the Eucharist should not be deprived of the funeral Mass simply because only a few relatives and/or friends might attend. The number of mourners should not be the determining factor in whether or not a funeral Mass is celebrated.
Some Parish Guidelines
We welcome the presence of other priests as co-presiders at funeral Masses. If the family requests another priest to conduct the entire funeral, the family should contact the priest, verify his availability and ask him to contact Saint Benedict Parish to confirm his willingness to celebrate the Rites of Christian Burial at Saint Benedict parish. Unless we hear from the priest we will not assume his presence.
Normally, the clergy of the parish will visit the family of the deceased before the funeral. If the family wishes the priest to pray with them, such as a vigil service, then that should be discussed as to whether it should be done privately with the family before visitation hours begin or after visitation hours. The Rosary will be recited if requested.
Normally the clergy of Saint Benedict parish do not conduct any type of concluding service in the funeral home immediately before the body is brought to the church for the funeral.
Generally, a member of the pastoral staff of Saint Benedict Parish will accompany the body to the cemetery whereby a "Rite of Committal" will be prayed by family and friends.
If a flag covers the casket when it is brought to the church, it must be removed so that the funeral pall (large white cloth) may be placed upon the casket.
If the family wishes, funeral flowers may be brought to the church for the funeral and left there following the funeral as a memorial to the deceased (usually this is limited to two baskets or arrangements). During Lent and Advent when the churches are not decorated with flowers; they will be removed following the funeral.
Parish Funeral Procedures
Phone calls regarding funerals are accepted at any time. Contact with Saint Benedict Parish should be made by phoning the parish office (843-216-0039).
Families may participate in Funeral Masses at Saint Benedict Parish in the following ways:
- Placing the pall (white cloth) over the casket at the beginning of the liturgy
- Placing some religious symbol upon the pall
- Reading the first or second Scriptural readings
- Being part of the procession with the gifts (usually two people)
- Selecting Scripture readings and hymns to be used during the liturgy
- Singing a solo or playing an instrument (through working with our music director)
This type of participation is entirely optional..
Scriptural Readings for Funerals
Only Scriptural readings may be selected for use at a funeral Mass. Suggested readings will be provided. No readings from secular sources may be used. You may choose one Old Testament and one New Testament reading in addition to the Gospel. You may also elect to have proclaimed only one reading (Old or New Testament) and the Gospel.
Those selected to read the Sacred Scripture at a funeral should be appropriately dressed and able to read in a manner which can be understood by all in the congregation. During Mass the readings take place immediately following the opening prayer. If there are two readers, both may go to the lectern together and remain there until both have finished reading. Please note that the organist/cantor will usually sing a response following the first scriptural reading.
Guidelines for the Reception of Communion in Catholic Churches
(National Conference of Catholic Bishops)
As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive holy communion. We are encouraged to receive communion devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason when there is no opportunity for confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition including the intention of confession as soon as possible.
For Fellow Christians:
We welcome our fellow Christians to the celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us close to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions that separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear in keeping with Christ's prayer for us "that they may all be one" (John 17:21). Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to holy communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires the permission of the diocesan bishop.
For Members of the Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church:
They are urged to respect the discipline of their own churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, canon law does not object to their reception of communion.
For Those Not Receiving Holy Communion:
All who are not receiving Holy Communion are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayer for unity with the Lord Jesus and with one another.
We also welcome to the celebration of the Eucharist those who do not share our faith in Jesus Christ. While we cannot admit them to Holy COmmunion, we ask them to offer their prayers for the peace and unity of the human family.