What to do when a family member dies

When a family member dies, please have your mortuary representative call the parish office.  The appropriate member of the pastoral staff will contact you promptly to complete the liturgy planning process.  Our goal is to learn about the person who has died and help your family honor that person’s faith and life through planning the three parts of a funeral celebration.  We will guide you through vigil, liturgy, and committal details and explain the ways the family may participate in each.

We will arrange the many volunteers involved with the funeral ministry to support a dignified and beautiful celebration of life.  Our team commitment is to assure that no member of our community grieves alone and to provide love, compassion and support to the families at the time of loss.

For advance planning of your funeral Mass, call the parish office for an appointment (619) 463-6629.

The Catholic funeral celebration has three parts.  All three are beautiful rites, combined to honor the deceased, give comfort to friends and family, and most importantly, to pray in the hope of resurrection.

  1. An evening Vigil for the Deceased is usually held at the mortuary following shared memories of the departed. It is sometimes followed by a devotional, such as prayer of the Rosary.
  2. The Funeral Mass is usually held the following day. When one of it’s members dies, the Church encourages the celebration of the Funeral Mass where the body of the departed is present, either in a closed casket, or in the form of cremated remains.  In the proclamation of the Scriptures, the saving word of God – through the power of the Spirit – becomes living and active in the minds and hearts of the community.  Eucharist nourishes the community and expresses its unity.  Confident in Jesus’ presence among them in the living word, the living sacrifice, and the living meal, those present in union with the whole Church offer prayers and petitions for the deceased, whom they entrust to God’s merciful love.
  3. Committal, interment or inurnment of the remains, usually occurs immediately after the funeral Mass.  The Commital marks the separation in this life of the mourners from the deceased, and through it the community expresses the communion that exists between the Church on earth and the Church in heaven:  the deceased passes with the farewell prayers of the community of believers into the welcoming company of those who need faith no longer but see God face to face.

Points to consider

Cremation is accepted in the Church today.  But cremated remains are expected to be treated as if they were the intact body in a casket.  This means that cremated remains should not be divided nor combined, nor kept in the home for any extended period of time. Scattering of cremated remains, whether at sea or on land is not consistent with the Church’s teachings on the treatment of human remains.   Burial of cremated remains at sea (not scattering) is permitted by the Church, but requires permission of the proper civil authorities.

Military honors, including gun salutes and the flag ceremony, are generally performed at the place of burial, though an honor guard may be present during the Mass.

Advance planning your funeral Mass at Santa Sophia is a great gift of love that you can leave your spouse and/or children.  They will breathe a huge sigh of relief and truly thank you for it in their grief!  When you advance plan you get to choose your favorite songs and readings!  Your service will be just as you want it to be!

Just call (619) 463-6629 to make an appointment!

Use of an Ossuary

Santa Sophia Ossuary

Santa Sophia Ossuary

When a funeral Mass involves cremains Santa Sophia Church uses an ossuary to house the cremains urn or box during the liturgy.  The ossuary is used at the entrance of the Sanctuary when the body is received by the Church and four relatives or friends carry the ossuary forward during the opening hymn.  Similar to the way a casket is moved and placed in front of the altar and Pascal Candle, the ossuary is brought forward and placed on a small table.  At the end of the liturgy the relatives or friends carry out the ossuary during the recessional hymn.  The urn or box is then removed and taken to the cemetery or sea for the Committal.

Bereavement Ministry

The “Life after Loss” bereavement group forms several times per year.  If you are grieving over the death of a loved one you are invited to participate.  The group meets for seven weekly sessions and new sessions start several times a year.  For more information, call the parish office (619) 463-6629.