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The Catholic funeral rite is divided into several stations, or parts, each with its own purpose. For this reason we recommend following the complete structure and making use of each station.

Vigil Service (Wake)

“At the vigil, the Christian community keeps watch with the family in prayer to the God of mercy and finds strength in Christ’s presence” (Order of Christian Funerals, no. 56). The Vigil Service usually takes place during the period of visitation and viewing at the funeral home. It is a time to remember the life of the deceased and to commend him/her to God. In prayer we ask God to console us in our grief and give us strength to support one another.

The Vigil Service can take the form of a Service of the Word with readings from Sacred Scripture accompanied by reflection and prayers.  The clergy and your funeral director can assist in planning such service.

It is most appropriate, when family and friends are gathered together for visitation, to offer time for recalling the life of the deceased. For this reason, eulogies are to be done at the funeral home during visitation or at the Vigil Service.

Funeral Liturgy

The funeral liturgy is the central liturgical celebration of the Christian community for the deceased. When one of its members dies, the Church encourages the celebration of the funeral liturgy at a Mass. When Mass cannot be celebrated, a funeral liturgy outside Mass can be celebrated at the church or in the funeral home.

At the funeral liturgy, the Church gathers with the family and friends of the deceased to give praise and thanks to God for Christ’s victory over sin and death, to commend the deceased to God’s tender mercy and compassion, and to seek strength in the proclamation of the Paschal Mystery. The funeral liturgy, therefore, is an act of worship, and not merely an expression of grief.

Please click on the tab at the top to see a funeral liturgy planning guide and a worksheet to make your selections.

Rite of Committal (Burial or Interment)

The Rite of Committal, the conclusion of the funeral rite, is the final act of the community of faith in caring for the body of its deceased member. It should normally be celebrated at the place of committal, that is, beside the open grave or place of interment. In committing the body to its resting place, the community expresses the hope that, with all those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, the deceased awaits the glory of the resurrection. The Rite of Committal is an expression of the communion that exists between the Church on earth and the Church in heaven: the deceased passes with the farewell prayers of the community of believers into the welcoming company of those who need faith no longer, but see God face-to-face.


Click here for Funeral Liturgy Planning Guide

Click here for Funeral Liturgy Selections

Click here for Funeral Readings


Flowers / Decorations / Receptions

Decoration Notes:

Families often choose to provide a floral arrangement for the funeral or memorial Mass.  The funeral home coordinates the placement of the arrangements in and around the sanctuary.  For families not working with a funeral director, the clergy member will make recommendations on placement.  If the flowers are delivered directly to the church, the florist should call the parish office to arrange for delivery.

Pictures and other mementos of the deceased are not permitted to be at the foot of the altar with the casket or cremains.  Those families wishing to fashion a display will have access to tables in the narthex on which to place photos or a guestbook.


Corpus Christi Catholic Church does not have space to accommodate receptions.



My loved one just passed away – what is my first step?

Contact the funeral home first.  They will walk you through the process and arrange the date with the church and the celebrant.

We are unfamiliar with the area – can you recommend a funeral home?

Corpus Christi frequently works with a number of funeral homes in the area.  Most commonly we work with (in alphabetical order):

Adams-Green Funeral Home

Colonial Funeral Home of Leesburg

Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home

Loudoun Funeral Chapel