Any Catholics here?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by eekysign, Jun 2, 2009.

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  1. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    One of my closest friend's Dad has just died (for those of you who may remember, she was walking for him, and I was walking for my stepdad in a brain cancer walk in May). She just texted me the times for the wake and the mass.

    I'd like to attend both - here are my questions:

    1) Is it normal for me (close friend of daughter, met him many times) to attend the funeral mass, too, not just the wake? I don't know how formal a funeral mass is, ie, whether it's really only for family.

    2) Anything I should know about Catholic wakes/mass? I've only been to a Jewish and a non-denominational funeral service before, I don't know what I'm in for.
     
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It would be a very nice gesture if you went to the mass. When my mom died one of the most comforting memories I have is walking out and seeing some of my closest friends at the mass. I didn't expect it at all, but I will never forget that kind gesture.

    Anyone of any faith is welcome at mass. There is usually a mass booklet that you can follow along with or a special memorial book put together just for the funeral which will have the readings and songs. There will be a homily where the priest will say some appropriate words. The mass is made up of scripture readings, homily, songs, communion and the final blessing.

    You are not required to kneel when the others do (although you can if you want) and you will not go to communion when they go.

    I hope this helps. I'm sorry for you loss and for your friend's loss.

    Nancy

    P.S. I forgot to mention that at the beginning of the mass the priest will meet the pallbearers in the vestibule, say a prayer and give a blessing and they will cover the casket with a white cloth. He will then lead the casket up to the altar where it will sit during the mass. When the mass is over they will fold the white cloth and lead the casket out to the cars where they will then proceed to the cemetary. Let me know if you will be going to the cemetary and I'll fill you in on what to expect.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2009
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My step-father and his parents were Catholic. My mom and I were not. I attended my step-father's funeral/mass. It was the most impressive funeral I have ever attended. Go, be comfortable, sit near someone Catholic who knows you are not and follow their cues.
     
  4. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    I would assume probably not? Is that usual? Again - when my grandmother died, she was cremated, and I have no idea what happened next (I was 12). When my stepdad died a few years ago, the burial was the next day, about 1.5 hours away from the funeral home, so there was no funeral-to-grave sort of plan.

    My friend is my main contact in the family. I suppose I'll find out during the wake what she needs from me.

    I'm with you on how moving it was to have friends show up - that's one of the reasons I was wanting to go to the mass, as well. Several of my friends from grad school showed up (3 hours from our school!) for my stepdad's visitation. And more sent flowers. The feeling of that support was incredible. So I wanted to attend whatever would be "appropriate". God knows, I don't want to put any awkwardness on them at this time. :redface:

    klmno - Good idea. Usually when I attend Mass, I'm there because I'm with THIS friend. I'll have to find someone else to sit near for my cues.
     
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    All my family is Catholic even though I am not. (Long story)

    I have been to my family's Catholic funeral's as family but I know there were plenty of people there that werent Catholic. The Mass is just a religious church service. It would be very appropriate and nice for you to attend. The wake is a very somber affair but if the family is anything like my family...after the wake...boy did they let their hair down! The family and close friends all met up in one house and had food and adult beverages. While we werent Italian...they lived in a huge Italian Catholic area and the customs were the same. I actually have a cousin Vinny...lol. My Uncles wake was the first time I got drunk. LOL.
     
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That happened at my step-father's parents' house, too, Janet. A lot of family friends stopped by to bring the family food and so forth. Mainly food. But they didn't stay long- it was the family that drank and cranked up the music through many, many tears. Actually, I thought that was just us because I had said through my tears that I had sooo wanted my step-father to teach me how to waltz. His father then cranked up music and taught me how to waltz. I was very touched by that.
     
  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Right after my husband's grandfather's funeral mass, we all went straight to the cemetary for a brief graveside ceremony and burial. Your friend will let you know what the plan is, or if she doesn't, just ask. If they are going to bury him that day, it might be nice for you to go along to the cemetary as well. Some families will have a gathering at a house after that to have a meal and visit with the bereaved for the remainder of the day. If you know your friend well, you'll be able to sense just how much she needs from you that day.

    I'm sorry for her loss -- you are a good friend to want to be there for her.
     
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I was raised Catholic. You pretty much have the guidelines above.

    Unless the family says so, it is perfectly fine to go to both the Mass, the gravesite and whatever else is going on. Be up front with your friend. Tell her you miss him, want to support her, you can do this or that, go to whatever if she needs a special shoulder to cry on and your purse to get kleenex out of.

    If there is a gathering at the house planned, then maybe offer to go get things set up there if she doesn't want you at the gravesite.

    It would actually be inappropriate to go to the cemetary or wherever and NOT go to the Mass.

    Just to let you know, there are usually open bowls filled with water in the back of hte church or at each entrance to the church. This is Holy Water and is used for making the sign of the cross. I think anyone can do this.

    I am so sorry for your loss, and will pray for you and your friend.
     
  9. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    We never had "wakes", per se, but we did have some serious parties after funerals in my Catholic Family. The mass is long and boring, but everyone is welcome. Don't worry if you can't keep up with the standing and kneeling. You don't have to kneel or give yourself the sign of cross or use the holy water if it goes against your faith. Obviously you don't want to participate in communion.

    It's a nice thing that you are able to go. Everyone is always appreciated at a funeral.
     
  10. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    Most priests expect "non" Catholics at funerals and weddings, so they often explain a bit as things go on.

    When my dad died, he donated his body to the local medical university's donation program. So we had a mass, then everyone came back to the house he built (and died in) and had a wake. Several neighbors that aren't Catholic helped set the house up while we were at church.
     
  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It will not be awkard for them if you come, they will be honored.

    When you pull into the parking lot for the church they will ask if you are going to the cemetary and if you are they will put a flag on your car and tell you to pull into a line at the end of the mass. You will follow the lead car to the cemetary where there will be a short prayer service, it usually is very moving. Then the family usually invites the people back to the church or somewhere for a luncheon. Depending on the situation I either go or just leave from the cemetary for home.

    In any event you are a good friend to go the funeral for your friend's Dad and she will be very grateful.

    Nancy
     
  12. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader


    Ditto. Attend as you are able and feel comfortable. Wakes and funerals are big with Catholics. Being a [now defunct] Catholic, I've been to quite a few. They are long but afterwards you may attend a reception at the family's home and that can be a lot of fun, believe it or not. Lots of talk and laughs, great food, drinks and reacquianting between family members. it's my favorite part.

    God bless and my condolences.
     
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Check the obits- if the family wants any part of this to be private, they will list that in the obits.
     
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes...odd as it may sound...Catholics really can do things up fun. I know my Uncle David was looking down on us and having a good old laugh at us!
     
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Ditto all of the above. What is in your heart is far more important than what church you regularly attend! DDD
     
  16. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    You've gotten a lot of good advice here and the only thing I can think to tell you is this. If they have everyone recite ....argh, my brain has seized up on me....that prayer. You know....Our Father, who art in Heaven....that one. You will be able to tell who is Catholic and who isn't by who keeps going and who stops. I can't remember what part it is but Catholics stop before what other's consider the end of it.
     
  17. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    That would be the Lord's Prayer, Stang and you are referring to the part where Protestants say For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever.
     
  18. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Loth us Catholics say that part too.

    Nancy
     
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm not Catholic but went to a friend's funeral (she was an older lady) at the local Catholic church. My biggest problem was I felt I disgraced myself, blubbering the whole way through the service. There were other non-Catholics there too. There was an order of service which I could follow. If in doubt, arrive early enough to have choice of seating, and sit up the back where you can be in the background. I arrived late and had to sit right up the front next to the choir, I felt very conspicuous especially when I ran out of tissues... make sure you take plenty, even if you are sure you won't need them. You never know...

    Marg
     
  20. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    See...brain mush. That's what I THOUGHT it was called but for some reason it really didn't sound right.
     
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