Mass of Christian Burial
If you are visiting this page due to the loss of a loved one, please accept our sincere condolences.
The following information is provided to assist in the preparation of the Mass of Christian Burial at St. Ambrose. You are also invited to visit the Diocese of Providence’s Catholic Cemeteries website for more information.
The Rites of the Church
All the baptized are entitled to the full Rite of Christian Burial. You and your family will experience the Rite of Christian Burial in three distinct and important parts:
The Wake Service
This will take place during the visiting hours at the funeral home you have chosen. A member of the Parish Staff will lead this service of prayer and Scripture. At this time someone from the family, or a friend, may wish to remember the deceased by sharing personal memories, as in a eulogy.
The Funeral Liturgy
This is the most important part of the celebration of Christian Burial. This is almost always celebrated within a Mass. The bodily remains are honored by being brought to the Church. We celebrate the life of the deceased in the whole context of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
A parish priest or deacon will accompany the remains and the family to the cemetery, where the Rite of Christian Burial will conclude with the prayers of Committal and Final Commendation. Should one wish to speak in memory of the deceased, as in a eulogy or a remembrance, the Funeral Rite allows for such to usually take place as part of the Prayer of Commendation that will be prayed at the cemetery.
The Time and Place of the Funeral Liturgy
A funeral may be celebrated on any day of the week except Sundays and Holy Days. There are also some restrictions concerning funerals during Holy Week. The priest will discuss these restrictions as they apply.
The funeral liturgy is ordinarily celebrated in the parish church.
Planning the Funeral Liturgy
The funeral liturgy is one of the most beautiful and meaningful celebrations of the Church. Your family has the option of personalizing the Mass by choosing the Scripture readings and by requesting specific hymns.
When choosing scriptures, there should be one reading from the Old Testament, and one reading from the New Testament. Although you can choose from the whole Bible, the texts contained within this document are especially appropriate.
The Music Ministry at St. Ambrose is under the direction of our parish organist, Mr. Michael Moise and he is customarily to play at all Masses of Christian Burial. Mr. Moise is always to be accompanied by the parish soloist, Ms. Megan McNulty. Please contact the parish for fee information. Ms. McNulty can be reached at 401-808-1673 for planning of music. Both Mr. Moise and Ms. McNulty are contracted to play all Funeral Masses at St. Ambrose. Therefore, other musicians can only be used with the direct permission of the Pastor.
Please know that only sacred music is appropriate for a Mass of Christian Burial and only sacred music can be used at St. Ambrose. Pop music, Broadway show tunes, Rock songs or folk songs are not appropriate for the Mass of Christian Burial.
Please note that the customary offering for use of St. Ambrose Church for a Mass of Christian Burial is $200.00. This offering may only be waived directly by the Pastor. Please inform the parish of any financial difficulty a bereaved family may have so that the parish may assist them in their desire to properly remember the deceased.
At the present time there are no longer new cemetery plots available in our parish cemetery.
In recent years it has become customary for many families to offer a eulogy at a Mass of Christian Burial. This varies from parish to parish and often is a source of confusion and frustration for many. My policy is this: Eulogies are not encouraged, but allowed if certain rules are followed. Such eulogies should be delivered at the burial site/chapel or at the collation/luncheon. However, if a eulogy is to be delivered at the Mass of Christian Burial in St. Ambrose Church, families are reminded of the following guidelines:
- Only one eulogy is to be delivered by one person
- The eulogy is to be delivered after the Rite of Communion from the lectern and the eulogist will be invited forward by the celebrant of the Mass
- The eulogy should be not exceed five minutes
- The eulogy should be prepared in advanced and if possible type-written
- A copy of the eulogy should be provided to the Pastor/Celebrant prior to the Mass
- The eulogy should reflect the faithful departed’s Catholic faith and his/her relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church not focus upon the hobbies, cooking, pastimes, sports teams, pets, alcohol consumption, etc. of the deceased.
Since the Providence Journal has changed its policies and procedures regarding obituaries it has come to my attention that families can now prepare an obituary to their own liking. If the deceased is to receive a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Ambrose, it should be listed in the obituary as “A Mass of Christian Burial.” The following are not only unacceptable and incorrect terms but must not appear in any obituary to include Saint Ambrose Church as the location:
- “A Celebration of the Life”
- “A Mass of Resurrection”
- ”Funeral Service”