Procedures & Protocol

Funerals with a Funeral Director

The standard procedure for a funeral at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church is that a funeral director (funeral home or mortuary) work with St. John’s parish staff to set up the details of the visitation, funeral Mass or liturgy, luncheon and interment. Funeral directors are very helpful to the parish in that they arrange for the times of the events, assist in setting up for the visitation and help the family in coordinating the luncheon and interment. They also provide valuable assistance with programs, easels, guest books and tables for pictures and memory displays.  The normal procedure after the news of death is to contact the funeral home first. The funeral home will then contact St. John’s to determine possible times and dates for a funeral Mass/Liturgy. The family will meet with the funeral director and confirm the date/time. Family members should then contact St. John’s to arrange for a meeting with the priest or deacon who will preside at the funeral. This is to choose scripture readings, hymns and other details of the funeral liturgy.

Funerals without a Funeral Director

If the family of the deceased is not using a funeral home/director with the funeral arrangements, St. John’s Parish will appoint a Parish Funeral Coordinator. This person will carry out the services normally done by a funeral director or mortuary, including: arranging for the visitation, assisting in setting up for the funeral Mass or liturgy, and assist with any programs, memorabilia and other items desired for the visitation or funeral. A stipend of $100 is recommended to be paid to this person, please see below under stipends.

Stations for wakes and vigils

Vigils and wakes may take place in the Chapel of the Angels or in front of the stained glass windows in Saint Paul Plaza. Set-up (flowers, easels, etc.) may take place anytime, however, caskets may only be set up beginning at 9:30. Smaller vigils and wakes may take place in Saint Therese fireside room. Caskets in this location may be set-up prior to 9:30. Vigils and wakes do not occur in the Church.

Flowers may be left for use in the church and chapel at the discretion of the family as a temporary memorial to the deceased.

Memorials may be directed to St. John’s. There are many projects for the family to consider with a wide range in value.

Recommended Funeral Stipends

The following suggested stipends/fees are based on services rendered by St. John’s staff.  (In case of financial hardship, all fees may be waived.)

  • Church  $150.00
  • Funeral Coordinator $100.00 (required in the absence of a funeral director)
  • Organist $150.00
  • (Additional instrumentalists)  $200.00
  • Cantor $100.00
  • Servers $20.00 when school is out of session
  • Priest/presider:  None
  • Deacon:  None

While no stipend/fee is expected, families often choose to make a gift as a sign of their appreciation for the pastoral services rendered by the presiding priest and assisting deacon. In addition to the funeral service itself, this may include wake/vigil and burial services. In funerals without a Mass, a deacon usually presides.

Luncheon Committee: Our Funeral Luncheon Committee can provide dessert & beverages. The Committee will assist with set-up, serving and clean-up for the lunch. A main course may be provided from a licensed caterer or deli. A list of recommended caterers is available. Complete information is provided by the Luncheon Committee Supervisor.

For a list of caterers, click below.

Luncheon Caterers

Guest Priest/Deacon

Policy:  If the family of the deceased requests a guest clergy, the presider from St. John’s is to be informed. The presider should speak to the family. The funeral liturgy will be presided over by a St. John’s priest or deacon. The guest priest/deacon will always be welcome to concelebrate (or assist in the case of a deacon) as long as he is in good standing. At the discretion of the presider, the guest priest/deacon may be permitted to give the homily, final commendation and lead the service at the cemetery. Normally, a guest priest or deacon will not preside at a funeral liturgy.

Mass or Liturgy without Mass?

Policy: The standard liturgy for a deceased Catholic who was in good standing with the Church is a Mass, with the body present. A Mass should always be the presumed format. If there is question about whether a liturgy without Mass might be more appropriate, the presider should speak to the family. In a case where the deceased is not a practicing Catholic, or lived a life publicly contradicting Catholic beliefs and practice, a liturgy without a Mass might be more appropriate. In the case of a public sinner, a private funeral is appropriate.

A Child who has died before Baptism:

Policy: A Mass can always be celebrated for a child who has died, even without baptism.  Appropriate prayers are used if the child was not baptized.

Funerals for non-Catholics

Policy: A Catholic funeral may be celebrated (even a Mass) for a person who is not a Catholic as long as this would not offend the sensibilities of those who attend. This case may arise when the living spouse is Catholic, and the spouse who died practiced no religion.

Eulogies

The grieving process necessarily includes time to remember the life of the deceased loved one. In the Catholic funeral rite, this is most appropriately done during the time of visitation, at lunch, or even at the Vigil (Wake) Service.

Since the Funeral Mass is primarily the time for praise and thanks for God’s gift of eternal life in Jesus, we discourage the inclusion of a eulogy at the Mass. Therefore, please be sure to plan for eulogies at the Vigil (Wake) Service.

If a eulogy is to be included at the Funeral Mass, there can be only one speaker, and the reflections may be no more than three minutes long. It must be presented to the priest-celebrant in writing in advance of the Funeral Mass.