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Pastoral Associate Debbie Miller handles most of the details surrounding funeral planning, although Fr. Tom or Deacon Jim also assist families through the process. Most funerals are for parishioners, but anyone can have a funeral at St. Thomas a'Becket after following the appropriate steps.
After a loved one dies, the family contacts the Parish Office. Debbie (or one of the priests or the deacon) will talk with the family. She will set up the time of both the funeral and the Scripture service, which takes place at the funeral home the night before the funeral . Funeral Masses usually take place at 10:30 a.m. Debbie (or Fr. Tom) will meet with the family to plan the funeral (music, readings, family involvement, etc.) and to provide a supportive and loving ear to the grieving family.
Sometimes, because of special circumstances, it may be more appropriate for the funeral to take place at the funeral home or another location instead of having a funeral Mass at church. Families can share their preferences and thoughts with Debbie and make a decision.
At the funeral a wooden cross with the person's name and date of death is laid on the casket. The cross is then hung outside of worship space under the saying, "May God's light shine ever upon you." This way people can look up as they leave Mass, see the crosses, and say a prayer for those who have died and for those they left behind.
In November, those crosses are put on the wall behind the altar so that the parish community can all be aware of and pray for those who have died the previous year. The family gets a letter from Debbie Miller in November inviting them to a special liturgy for those who have died. They are given the cross at that time.
St. Thomas a'Becket offers space on its webpage to celebrate the memories of parishioners or their loved ones who have died. A family representative completes a simple form online and the information is posted in our In Memory page. Obituaries are maintained until we celebrate the next All Soul's Day feast, so that we may continue to pray for those who have passed and for their families.
The Parish Funeral Luncheon team provides a luncheon for the family and friends of registered parishioners who have died. The team prepares an outstanding meal in a lovely environment. There is a cost per person for the luncheon, but it is very reasonable. Debbie Miller can assist the family members of registered parishioners who wish to schedule the luncheon.
The luncheon always takes place immediately after the funeral. After the luncheon, those who choose to go to the cemetery will meet there at a specified time.
Find more resources on Death and Dying