Your guide to Catholic Funeral Services

Funeral services are a cornerstone of the Catholic faith – an opportunity to honour the dead and comfort the grieving. If the time comes for you to say goodbye to a loved one, we’ll stand by your side and help you plan a beautiful Catholic funeral service that celebrates their life and spirit.

What happens at a Catholic funeral?

Catholic funerals are typically carried out in three parts: Vigil, Mass and Committal. 

The Vigil

The Vigil, also known as the wake or rosary service, is a time for the family and close friends to pay their respects before the funeral mass. It’s usually held at the church or funeral home and is led by a priest. You might wish to give a eulogy during this times.

The Funeral Mass

The priest will lead the procession into the church, where pallbearers will carry the casket to the altar. The priest will recite the opening prayers, read passages from the bible and offer Holy Communion. Once the final prayers have been read, the pallbearers will carry the casket to a waiting car or directly to the burial site. 

The Rite of Committal

This part of the funeral is generally carried out at the cemetery. The priest will perform the final rite and commit the body to the earth. If the family has chosen cremation, the committal may happen on the day or a few days after the funeral.

Where are Catholic funerals typically held?

A traditional Catholic funeral takes place in a Catholic church, often the same one the person who’s passed attended while they were alive. However, it can be held in any Catholic church of the family’s choosing. 


How long does a Catholic funeral last? 

The duration of Catholic funerals varies depending on which traditions are carried out. Some Catholic funerals don’t offer Holy Communion, and some do not follow the traditional funeral mass either. Still, you can expect the funeral to last 45–90 minutes. Guests may attend one or all of the services, depending on how close they were with the person who’s died. 

We can help you plan a farewell in the Catholic faith

Our caring Funeral Specialists are experienced in planning bespoke Catholic funeral services, from the traditional to the more contemporary. We’ll work closely with you to personalise the service so it captures the unique spirit and character of your loved one. However you’d like to say goodbye, we’ll work to ensure your wishes are met and your family feels supported during this time.  

This information is based on our interactions with grieving families and resources we have collected over the years.