The death of a Christian is not the end of life, but rather a transformation in an onward journey towards eternal life with God. We believe that this call to eternal life begins for all Christians in the waters of baptism.
Funerals in Our Parish Church in this Time of Pandemic
– Updated on 17th April 2021
Attendees are strictly limited to 50 people.
The family will be asked to provide a list of attendees and their contact numbers for contact tracing purposes. This list will be kept for 21 days.
Only people from the same household (living under the same roof) may sit together.
Face coverings are mandatory when entering, leaving and throughout the funeral service in a place of worship.
Please see below for more guidance from the Dept. of Health.
Update re Funerals at Our Church (Feb. 8th 2021)
After consultation with the Parish Pastoral Council and in light of the current restrictions on gatherings, it has been agreed that, for all funerals to our church for the foreseeable future, the gates of the church will remain closed until the hearse arrives.
This is to discourage people from congregating in the carpark. While it is understandable that people wish to show their support of bereaved families, gatherings in the car park are not permitted. In addition, people are asked not to congregate on the roads around the church.
There are many other ways to express your prayers and thoughts in support of the family, e.g. by phone, email, card, etc.
INTERIM GUIDANCE re FUNERALS
FROM THE DEPT. OF HEALTH (Dec 2020)
Please find below the guidance from the Dept. of Health re attending funerals and committals
Families, mourners, and funeral staff in attendance at funerals and committals should ensure, and take individual responsibility, to adhere to and practice the recommended social distancing measures. To mitigate against the risk of transmission of infection within the community the following is recommended:
– ensure a distance of at least 2 metres is maintained from each other at the committal venue at all times (except where mourners are from the same household);
– face coverings are worn;
– avoid touching the face and follow good hand hygiene; and
– avoid physical interactions including shaking hands and hugging.
Families and mourners should follow the advice on social distancing when travelling to and from the funeral. Wherever possible, mourners are encouraged to travel in a car by themselves or only with people from their household. Limousines should not be used as mourners cannot maintain the necessary social distancing when travelling inside.
Any mourner who has tested positive for COVID-19 and self-isolating, or who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 disease should not attend a funeral or committal as they pose a significant risk to others.
Mourners who are self-isolating for 10 days; due to someone in their household being unwell with symptoms of COVID-19, on the advice of the Contact Tracing system, or in accordance with Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 as amended, should be facilitated to attend the funeral in person, should they wish to do so. They should:
– not attend if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, even if very mild;
– advise the Funeral Directors and other mourners that they are self-isolating;
– at all times maintain a strict 2 metre distance;
– wear a face covering; and
– use their own transport to the funeral.
Mourners who are clinically extremely vulnerable are also permitted to attend should they wish to do so. Other mourners should be advised that a clinically extremely vulnerable person(s) is attending and to be respectful of the need to avoid close contact at any point and to adhere to the 2 metre social distancing measures, wear a face covering and use their own transport.
In order to maintain social distancing of 2 metres, it is recommended that coffin “lifts” should only take place when all pallbearers are from the same household.
Funeral arrangements should not be advertised in newspapers or online services. Notice of the death can be placed but specific arrangements should not appear.
The death of a family member or loved one brings a sense of grief, loss and change to all our lives. There is need for support during this time of sadness. Our parish team are there to support people who are bereaved.
When the funeral undertaker is contacted by a family regarding the funeral arrangements they will inform the priests of the parish. The parish priest and a member of the parish team will visit the family to discuss preparations for the Funeral Mass. The parish has prepared a funeral book which contains readings and prayers to be used at the Mass. This book is given to the family at the first visit by one of the team who can support the family with preparing the funeral Mass.
A member of the parish team is available to pray with the family when the remains are being removed to the church for Mass. When the coffin is brought to the church and before the Mass begins the Pall (a large white cloth) is placed over the coffin. The pall symbolises firstly, the dignity of the deceased person as a child of God, and secondly, that we are all equal in God’s eyes both in life and in death.
After the Mass the priest will accompany the family to the graveside and lead the family in the final prayers for the deceased.
Contact can be made with the parish office (028 3025 2459) to make the necessary arrangements for month’s minds and anniversaries.
Why Palls are Used at Funeral Masses
“If it is the custom in the local community, a pall may be placed over the coffin when it is received at the church. A reminder of the baptismal garment of the deceased, the pall is a sign of the Christian dignity of the person. The use of the pall also signifies that all are equal in the eyes of God (see James 2:1-9)…” (Order of Christian Funerals)
The Canadian Bishops also say this about the significance of the pall:
“This pall is a reminder of the white baptismal garment, a sign of the Christian dignity of the person. Just as the new Christian was clothed in the white garment when he or she became a member of the Church, the coffin is covered with a white cloth as the person enters into a new life in the resurrection of Jesus.
Covering the coffin is a way to make a statement about the identity of the deceased; it proclaims that the greatest thing that can be said about the deceased person is that he or she is a sister or brother of Christ, a member of the Church.
The pall is also a sign of hope, of the resurrection, of new life beyond this life, a banner that points to a continued relationship to the deceased person in the time to come. Its use also signifies that in the eyes of God all are equal…This identity of the deceased person as a Christian is considered by the Church to be fundamental and primary, and it is the focus in a special way.”
(Image from www.slabbinck.de)