Preparing to say Good Bye to a Loved One
 

  Our parish has ministers who can work with you to plan your own or loved one’s funeral.  Please contact Maria at the parish office to make these arrangements.  281-367-9885 or villarealm@ssjwoodlands.com

As Catholics we believe and pray in the Creed “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.”

When a loved one passes from life here on earth into a new life, we can be happy for them.  They believed in the resurrection and the communion of saints therefore we trust they have gone to be with the saints on a journey toward eternity.

In the Gospels, we hear of the Risen Lord’s promise of life — God created each person for eternal life and Jesus, the Son of God by his death and resurrection, has broken the chains of sin and death that bound humanity.

As a caring spiritual community, we are here for those who are preparing for death and for families who have lost a loved one. Our Pastoral Care team strives to bring Christ’s comfort to all those who are mourning the loss of a loved one and will help you to prepare a meaningful funeral service that celebrates the life of the deceased.  We are here to offer our church as a place where family and friends can gather to grieve, pray and support one another in the promise of the risen Lord.   Should you have questions or concerns we will gladly walk with you through the grief process.  

Frequently asked questions regarding Funerals

Is it possible to make arrangements before death?

Yes it is possible, please contact the office and a member of the Pastoral Care Team will get in touch with you, to assist you in the preplanning process. By preplanning the three parts of the funeral service, when the actual time of death occurs, we can insure the wishes of your loved one or yourself are carried out. This helps make the family’s immediate grief seem a little easier to cope with.

A loved one has just died. Can a Priest come and give him/her the last rites?

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick (formerly called Extreme Unction or the Last Rites) is a sacrament for the living. There are ritual prayers that can be prayed in the presence of the body of the recently deceased person. A Priest or Deacon can come and lead the family in prayer before the body is taken by the funeral director.

When a loved one dies, what do I do?

If your loved one dies at home under the care of Hospice, contact the Hospice nurse. If it is a sudden unexpected death call 911. After the proper medical personnel have released the body, contact a funeral director for the care of the body. When your loved one dies in at a hospital or health care facility contact a local funeral home for the care of the body. Local funeral homes who are familiar with our Catholic practices advertise in our parish bulletin. Next, please call St. Simon & Jude Catholic Parish at (281-364-9885) so that we may pray for your loved one. If the office is closed, please listen carefully to the message, then press 9 to leave your contact information and a Priest will return your call.

Is cremation permitted for Catholics?

Yes, in May 1963, the prohibition of cremation was lifted. It is preferable that cremation take place after the funeral liturgy which is celebrated in the presence of the body. However, it is common practice to have the cremation take place immediately or soon after death. Cremated remains are treated with the same respect as that given to the human body from which they came. This includes the use of a worthy vessel (urn) to contain the remains. After the liturgy, the cremated remains are taken to a final resting place. The cremated remains may be placed in a grave, entombed in a mausoleum or placed in a columbarium. The practice of scattering the remains or keeping them at home are not the reverent disposition that the church requires.

What is the difference between a Funeral Service and a Funeral Mass?

A Funeral Service consists of appropriate prayers, music and ritual in the presence of the body or cremated remains. The presider at the Funeral Service usually is a Deacon. It is preferred if the deceased was an active participating Catholic that a Funeral Mass be celebrated. The celebration of Word and Eucharist (Mass) is the central act of Catholic worship. The funeral Mass contains appropriate prayers, music and ritual within the context of Mass. If the surviving family members are not Catholic, it may be appropriate to consider a Funeral Service.

When are funerals scheduled?

Funerals are scheduled by the Pastoral Care Minister and will be coordinated with the Funeral Director.

We have a friend or family member who plays a musical instrument, can they play for the service?

The church requires the use of musicians who are trained in Catholic liturgical practices. The Pastoral Care Minister will assist the family in providing opportunities for family members to participate in the funeral liturgy.

We have a Family member who is a priest from out of town. Can he preside at the funeral?

Yes, if he is in good standing in his diocese or religious community. There are diocesan guidelines for priests from outside the Diocese of Galveston Houston. A letter from his bishop’s office indicating that the priest is in good standing is required. A copy of this letter may be sent by email or fax, but the original must be sent to St. Simon & Jude parish office. This is common practice throughout the United States. Once this letter is received, a visiting priest is very welcome to preside at your loved one’s funeral.

Our loved one had some favorite musical selections. Can we have them sung at the Funeral?

The celebration of a person’s life in a funeral is an act of worship. It is important that the entire assembly is invited to pray, witness, respond and acclaim. The music must be appropriate, liturgical and allow the assembly to participate fully. Secular music can be used at the funeral home, reception or incorporated in a DVD that would be shown at the funeral home during the visitation and viewing or at the reception. Secular music and DVDs are not played in church. The church requires the use of musicians who are trained in Catholic liturgical practices.

Can members of the family do the readings?

A careful selection and use of readings from Scripture for the funeral rites will provide the family with an opportunity to hear God speak to them in their needs, sorrows, fears, and hopes. The Mass readings chosen by the family are an integral part of the sacred liturgy. If friends or family members are trained lectors, they may do the readings. In every celebration for the dead, the Church attaches great importance to the reading of the word of God. The readings proclaim to the assembly the Paschal Mystery, teach remembrance of the dead, convey the hope of being gathered together again in God's kingdom, and encourage the witness of Christian life. Above all, the readings tell of God's designs for a world in which suffering and death will relinquish their hold on all whom God has called his own. A careful selection and use of readings from Scripture for the funeral rites will provide the family with an opportunity to hear God speak to them in their needs, sorrows, fears, and hopes.

What about flowers in the church?

Flowers no taller than the altar are permitted in front of the legs of the altar and in front of the ambo. Arrangements on easels are permitted near the Book of Remembrance and behind the last pew by the table containing the worship aids. The Pastoral Care Team can provide a list of local florists upon request.

Can family members bring up the gifts at the mass?

Two or four members of a practicing Catholic family or friends may bring up the gifts. They will proceed to the area of the Baptismal font after the Priest invites everyone to be seated as we prepare the altar. Pastoral Care Team members will assist them in retrieving the gifts.

May we have a reception at St. Simon & Jude?

Yes, receptions are held in Domec Hall. The Funeral Reception Team will provide a light lunch complete with deserts and drinks. The Pastoral Care Minister will set up the reception after the family has provided the approximate number of people who might be attending.