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homily at a funeral Mass
Question from Isabel on 10/1/2004:

What should a homily at a funeral mass be about? The other day I was a a funeral and all the priest was talking about what a wonderful life the person lived, from childhood to death. Thank you

Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 10/2/2004:

The General Introduction of the Order of Christian Funerals # 27 states: "A brief homily based on the readings is always given after the gospel reading at the funeral liturgy and may also be given after the readings at the vigil service; but there is never to be a eulogy. Attentive to the grief of those present, the homilist should dwell on God's compassionate love and one the paschal mystery of the Lord, as proclaimed in the Scripture readings. The homilist should also help the members of the assembly to understand that the mystery of God's love and the mystery of Jesus' victorious death and resurrection were present in the life and death of the deceased and that these mysteries are active in their own lives as well. Through the homily members of the family and community should receive consolation and strength to face the death of one of their members with a hope nourished by the saving word of God."

I do not think that this excludes a few personal comments or limited references to a person's individual virtues. But that certainly should not be the main trust of the talk.

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