Funeral Mass


Dear Parishioner,

The loss of one you love is a heavy cross to bear.  You can be assured of the prayers and sympathy of Holy Cross’ Parish Family.  It is our desire to assist you with all the arrangements for the funeral.  And the Lord is also present to you at this time for “He comforts us in all our sorrows.”

Arranging a Catholic Funeral

It is advisable that you contact your Pastor even before releasing your loved one’s remains to a funeral director.  You should contact the Priest before making any arrangements with a funeral home.

A Wake Service?

A Wake is an ancient tradition of gathering family and friends during the Vigil, or evening, prior to the celebration of the Mass of Resurrection.  Wakes are normally conducted at the home of the deceased or at the Funeral Home. The venue is your choice.  A priest or a lay minister is usually available to conduct a Prayer Vigil.  The funeral rites begin as soon as the body arrives at the Church door.

The Mass of Resurrection

SYMBOLS:  The focus of this liturgical celebration is the dignity of Christian death.  The church wishes to remind all the faithful that Christian burials are celebrated in the Church for baptized Christians.  That is why the pall, which represents the purity of Baptism, is spread over the casket, and the holy water representing the water of Baptism which the deceased was bathed in, is used to bless the body and the coffin.  (The Paschal Candle reminding us of the Light of Faith given in Baptism), the Crucifix (reminding us of Christ’s Passion and Death on the Cross), and the Bible (the Word of God given to all believers): Family members are invited to assist the priest in placing these symbols during the Mass. It therefore makes a mockery of the sacrament of Baptism to perform these rites with these signs and symbols over the body of an unbaptized person just for the sake of being “friendly and accommodating.”  These rites are benefits for the baptized.

SERVICE TIMES:  The Mass of Resurrection may be celebrated on any day and at any time between Monday and Friday BUT on Saturdays, the Mass must begin no later than 10:00 A.M because of Confession and Vigil Mass in the evening.

MUSIC:   Our Musician at Holy Cross is normally available to play and sing for a funeral.  If you have an outside musician or soloist, they are welcome but they must coordinate with the president of the choir or his delegate.  A Catholic funeral emphasizes the joy of new life with the Lord, the beauty of Resurrection, and the Hope of Eternal Life.  Hymns should reflect this spirit.

REMARKS:   If you wish, a family member may offer some personal remarks or offer a word of thanks at the conclusion of the Interment.  At this time, we do not have Ministers of non-Catholic Churches participate during the Mass.  They may offer words during the Wake or at the Rite of Committal.

PROGRAMS:   If the family desires a printed program, we ask that you obtain a correct Order of Service from the Priest.  Before printing the program, please allow the Priest to see the draft for any necessary corrections to the Liturgical order.

CONTACT PERSON:  We ask that ONE family member be designated as the Contact Person for the Church.  If anyone wishes to do something at the funeral, the Contact Person will make those arrangements with the Pastor.

HOLY CROSS SERVICE TO BEREAVED FAMILY: Holy Cross coordinates services to members and families of this parish such as family dinners after funerals. For more information see page….

OFFERINGS:  Stole fee for funeral is gratefully taken. Check should be made payable to Missionary Society of St Paul.  The fee for the musician is negotiated directly with the musician.


Suggested Charities (Use the Church address):

Holy Cross Scholarship Fund
(For the education of deserving children)

The St. Vincent de Paul Society
(To assist the needy)

National Missionary Seminary of St Paul, Nigeria
(T o train future Priests)

More information will be given when you come to meet with the Pastor.

Please call the office (512-472-3741) to schedule an appointment with the Pastor.



By Bishop Gregory Aymond

The issue of determining the use of extraordinary medical treatment in the face of difficult situations is not a new dilemma. In my own family, I have been part of making end-of-life decisions for both of my parents and for my 24-year-old nephew, who was involved in a traumatic vehicle accident a few months ago.

The terms “extraordinary” (disproportionate) and “ordinary” (proportionate) care are used by Catholic moral theologians in defining ethically required medical care and ethically optional medical care. Generally, if a medical procedure carries little hope of benefit and is excessively burdensome, Catholics – and Catholic institutions -- are not morally obligated to pursue that procedure. Even Pope John Paul II was adamant that he would not accept extraordinary medical care as his health declined.

Suicide, euthanasia and assisted suicide are not morally acceptable. These actions violate the very sacredness of human life. We hold the teaching on the sacredness of life as fundamental. At the same time, we believe that our lives do not end with death, that we are called to everlasting life.

Catholic moral teaching on ethically required medical care states that we realize that all reasonable means must be used to preserve human life and to promote the profound dignity that belongs to it. At the same time, we recognize that sometimes we should not use modern technology if it inflicts greater suffering on
our loved one, and holds them back from being able to go home to God. The decision to forego extraordinary medical care must be made by the patient or the patient’s proxy with a great deal of prayer and consultation with ethicists, spiritual mentors and health care professionals. There are some situations in which we would be obligated to use extraordinary medical care. There is no “one size fits all,” as modern science progresses and as each person’s situation carries its own complexities. If there is great concern that continued extraordinary treatment will only result in greater pain for the patient without curing or improving the condition from which the person suffers. The infirm should continue to receive food, water, pain medication and other “ordinary” treatment to provide as much comfort as can be given by a loving and vigilant medical team.

Pope John Paul II wrote in his famous 1995 encyclical on life, “The Gospel of Life,” that “Euthanasia must be distinguished from the decision to forego so-called ‘aggressive medical treatment,’ in other words, medical procedures which no longer correspond to the real situation of the patient, either because they are by now disproportionate to any expected results or because they impose an excessive burden on the patient and his family. In such situations, when death is clearly imminent and inevitable, one can in conscience ‘refuse forms of treatment
that would only secure a precarious and burdensome prolongation of life, so long as the normal care due to the sick person in similar cases is not interrupted.’ …To forego extraordinary or disproportionate means is not the equivalent of suicide or euthanasia; it rather expresses acceptance of the human condition in the face of death.”

The late pope’s teaching is carefully reflected in the “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” a document used by Catholic hospitals in the United States.

Our first concern must be the well-being of the sick person, both physically and spiritually, and that appropriate pastoral and spiritual care is offered to his family, especially his mother, during this very difficult time. As Catholics, we believe in the sacredness of life from the moment of conception to natural death. The journey leading to death is sacred, but often it is also painful and lonely.


What is Cremation? The act of destroying the human body by fire after death. Christians followed the Jews in disposing of corpses by burial rather than by cremation, thinking of the latter as an unnatural and violent destruction of the human body, the repository of the Holy Spirit during life on earth. Since no principle of faith would be jeopardized by cremation, it has always been allowed with permission when public health required it. The Catholic Church has always opposed it, though, when it meant a defiance of belief in the resurrection of the body, and for centuries excommunicated those who ordered cremation for themselves or for others. At present, to meet changing world conditions, the Church is more lenient in her views on this method of disposal of the dead, while still preferring burial.

Although cremation is now permitted by the Church, it does not enjoy the same value as burial of the body.  The Church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites, since the presence of the human body expresses the values which the Church affirms in those rites.

The cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they come.  This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport, and the final disposition.  The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium.  The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires.  Whenever possible, appropriate means for recording with the dignity the memory of the deceased should be adopted, such as a plaque or stone which records the name of the deceased.

When cremation takes place following the Funeral Liturgy
When the choice has been made to cremate a body, it is recommended that the cremation take place after the Funeral Liturgy.  In this case, the Vigil for the Deceased and related rites and prayers, as well as the Funeral Liturgy are celebrated as they are provided in this in this ritual.

At the Rite of Committal, the cremated remains of the body of the deceased person are reverently taken to the place of burial or entombment….

Funeral liturgy in the presence of the cremated remains
By virtue of an indult granted by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (Prot. 1589/96/L), the celebration of the Funeral Liturgy, including Mass, in the presence of the cremated remains of the body of a deceased person is permitted in the dioceses of the United States of America under the following conditions:

1. That the cremation not be inspired by motives contrary to Christian teaching, in accordance with what is laid down by the Code of Canon Law (canon 1176 § 3).

That each diocesan bishop will judge whether it is pastorally appropriate to celebrate the liturgy for the dead, with or without Mass, with the ashes present, taking into account the concrete circumstances in each individual case, and in harmony with the spirit and precise content of the current canonical and liturgical norms.