Praying as the Church Believes

Funeral homilies are a tremendous opportunity for a priest or deacon to comfort, teach, but most especially, to evangelize. Thankfulness for the life of the deceased would be an aspect of nearly every funeral homily, but preaching should very seldom take on the character of canonization. Only the Blessed Mother was entirely preserved from sin, while according to the scriptures even the just have failed daily. It is for God alone to accurately judge a human life. The assembled congregation at a Funeral Mass should be encouraged to feel a sense of awe, not only before God’s great mercy, but also before His perfect justice. The wise and holy among the faithful have always asked for the intercession of the Church to assist them after death, rather than for words of flattery at a funeral which can no longer do them any good. (Excerpt from How the Church Handles the Subject of Death; December 2008, Pastoral Letter by Bishop Daniel Jenky.)

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