Saturday, 8 September 2012

A Spiritual Work Of Mercy...

RequiemI was rather scandalised by reports that the Archdiocese of Liverpool has commissioned Lay Funeral Ministers. It seems a little hard to believe that the people of Liverpool are dropping dead in such numbers as to make it impossible to find Catholic priests and deacons to carry out the funeral rites.

In my humble opinion, the idea of lay-led funeral services makes it even more imperative that practicing Catholics pray for the dead and arrange to have Masses said for the repose of their souls. In Blackfen we are blessed to be able to have sung Requiem Masses, with absolutions at the catafalque, on the anniversaries of previous parish priests, and there is something very consoling in praying for the deceased in this way. St. Bernadette was concerned that her family and friends, being convinced she was already in heaven, would not offer Masses for the repose of her soul. With the modern emphasis at many funerals being a celebration of the life of the deceased rather than praying for the forgiveness of any sins committed through human frailty, those of us who have not lived such saintly lives as St. Bernadette should be even more concerned by the thought that we might be left languishing in Purgatory.

Even if it isn't possible to have an actual Requiem Mass, we can still arrange to have Masses said. Every Mass celebrated has a specific intention offered by the priest - one Mass on Sundays (and possibly Holy Days of Obligation) is offered for the people of the parish, and no stipend can be accepted for that Mass, but that leaves plenty of other Masses. We don't limit praying for the dead to the month of November!

To pray for the dead is one of the spiritual works of mercy, and Mass is the supreme prayer. We need to encourage Mass intentions for the repose of the souls of those who have died - especially if, due to having been assigned a Lay Funeral Minister, they're being denied the opportunity of a proper funeral Mass.

1 comment:

Left-footer said...

Thank you for alerting us to this, yet another, scandal.

I cannot believe that in Liverpool the death rate is so high and the Priests so few that lay-led funerals are necessary. I guess that what lies behind this is the idea of the "priesthood of the people".

And, of course, "a celebration of the life of...."

God bless!

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