Tag Archives: funerals

Why My First Funeral as a Pastoral Associate Made Me Nervous


By Brian Romer Niemiec

In the Newton Catholic Collaborative there are between 200 and 250 funerals per year. As a result, it is often the case that one of the pastoral associates will lead the wake service, be present at the Funeral Mass, and lead the service at the cemetery. I have been shadowing my colleagues over the last month, and this past week I was deemed ready and handed my first funeral assignment.

I arrived at the wake service a little nervous and worried about making small talk, and about what I was going to say during the reflection. After all, I’m an introvert. I hate small talk. I’m not good at it and I never will be. What am I supposed to say, “Sorry for your loss, but at least the Patriots won…?” I don’t even route for the Patriots!

But, before I knew it, I was through the door, meeting the family, and starting the prayer service.  As I worked my way through the beginning of the service, I realized that some of the family members had started crying. For some reason the raw human emotion of the moment took me by surprise, and then I started to get really nervous. I had been planning to talk about salvation, resurrection, and all the great cheery theology that we believe in as Catholics during my reflection, but that wasn’t what this family needed. They missed their sister/mother/grandmother.

Continue reading Why My First Funeral as a Pastoral Associate Made Me Nervous


Best (Or Is It Most Interesting?) Thing We’ve Read All Day: Funeral Edition


From the desk of Catholic How Contributor Javier Soegaard.

Chad Bird blogs:

There will come a day, perhaps sooner, perhaps later, when the man in the coffin will be me. They say the dead don’t care, but I’m not dead yet, so as long as I’m still alive, I’d like to have some say in what goes on at my funeral. And, truth be told, I think the dead do care. Not that they will be privy to the details of what happens at their own funerals, but they still care about the world, about their family, about the church. The saints in heaven continue to pray for those who are still on their earthly pilgrimage, so how could they not care about them?

Because I do care now, and will care even after I’m with the Lord, here are some things I hope and pray are not said at my funeral. I care about those who will be there, about what they will hear. I want the truth to be spoken, the truth about sin, the truth about death, and, above all, the truth about the love of God in Jesus Christ.

So, please don’t say…

Read them all here.



These Hands: 74 Baptisms, 12 Weddings, 5 Funerals


By Matthew Janeczko, OFM Cap.

The day has finally come for me to leave the best thing (after my own reception of the sacraments) that has ever happened to me: the Catholic Parishes of Saint Brigid, Gate of Heaven, and Saint Monica-Saint Augustine in South Boston.

The picture above, at least to some extent, tells the story of my time here.  This afternoon, I spent a period of time copying the names of each person I baptized, each couple whose marriage vows I witnessed, and each person I buried into this book.  It’s a practice that I’ve endeavored to undertake: to write, from now until the Lord calls me home, the names of each person I baptize, each couple whose vows I witness, each Christian I bury, each newly ordained priest upon whose head I lay my hands, and each person I confirm in the Spirit.

I hope and pray that, please God, I fill many books with these names, for when I die, more than anything else, it will be these books that I leave my brother friars, allowing a series of scribbled names to tell the story of my life as a priest: a man who though possessing simple and sinful hands, attempted to devote his life, in all of its imperfection and impetuousness, to the service of his sisters and brothers in Christ.

In a sense, then, my hope in writing down these names is that those whose names I have written and proceed me into life in the Lord will, upon being summoned by Saint Peter, testify to the fact that though I wasn’t a perfect priest, I was faithful in using the gift of ordination given to me by the Lord for their benefit.

Funeral for a Homeless Man: Allen on the Francis Effect

A corporal work of mercy at its finest: John Allen reports.

In late December, a 63-year-old homeless man named Alessandro died during a particularly cold night in Rome, on a street near the Vatican. In itself there was nothing unusual about it, in that the streets around the Vatican attract a high population of homeless, and every year a few pass away during the winter cold.

What followed, however, amounts to another index of the Francis effect.

Read the rest here.