Policy and Guidelines for Funeral Liturgies in the Catholic Church

Funerals are sacred times to give praise and thanks to God and to share our sufferings and hopes in the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Funerals are special times for Aboriginal families and communities and are times when Aboriginal people gather in support of each other.

Funerals are times of sadness and grief and are to be celebrated in a respectful way.

Funerals need to respect the Catholic Liturgy, the recent Sydney guidelines and the instruction of Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett concerning funeral services.

Funeral ceremonies need to follow the order of service as set out in the Catholic Liturgy: including prayers, scripture reading, prayers of the faithful, the eulogy and sacred hymns.

The eulogy needs to respect the sacred liturgy, the person who has died and the family and to avoid inappropriate stories, language or remarks that cause disrespect or shame.

Some special family times of remembrance can best take place on the evening before the final liturgy, at the cemetery or afterwards at the gathering. This includes power-point presentations, secular songs or photo displays of the person who has died.

Aboriginal Catholic Elders Council, March 2007