Funeral Policy – Cibola Catholic Community

St. Teresa of Avila-St. Vivian-San Rafael-San Mateo-Our Lady of Sorrows-Our Lady of Light.

Please accept our heartfelt condolences to you and your family at the loss of your loved one.  We, the ministers and staff of this parish community promise to pray for your consolation and for the soul of your beloved.  … Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and let the perpetual Light shine upon them.

The guidelines are developed in order to assist families in making the necessary arrangements for funerals of Catholics.

1).        It is imperative that the parish office be contacted upon the death of a family member and that the times and dates for the arrangements be agreed upon BEFORE contacting the funeral home.  The funeral home is not the responsible entity in this matter, the family is.  Once this has been done then the family may tell the funeral home what options are available and what has been agreed upon.  Funeral homes/mortuaries are businesses and despite what they claim, do not fully understand, abide, or represent Catholic teaching and practice.  The Parish Pastor and staff are the only authentic sources in this matter. 

            While it is possible to have a wake/rosary on Sunday evening in most cases, “Funerals will not be scheduled on Saturdays.”  Clergy are not available, there are various activities during the year in the church, and the city will charge $500 to be have a burial on Saturday, as this is not a normal workday for their staff.

2).        The Catholic burial rites and prayers are designed to assist loved ones process the tragedy and loss, avoid despair and direct our focus to the reality of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus that draws all to His Glorious Death and Resurrection.  For this reason, the habit of having a rosary before the funeral mass, while permitted, is highly discouraged.  The Catholic Faithful are encouraged and invited to abide by the practice of having the rosary/wake the night before the funeral Mass is celebrated.   

3).       The purpose of the Catholic Funeral Rite is to:

  • Pray for the soul of the deceased, helping them by our prayers.
  • Pray for an increase in our faith in the Resurrection of Jesus.
  • Pray for consolation from the Holy Spirit.
  • Help us process our emotions and grief over a period of days.

Therefore, Eulogies are not permitted from when the Eucharistic Celebration begins (MASS) until after the Rite of Committal at the place of interment. Eulogies are not required but optional and should be given primarily at the rosary/wake service the evening before the funeral Mass or at the funeral reception.  Eulogies may also be given after the Rite of Committal.  Eulogies should be well planned with a specific person designated as far in advance as possible and kept to a length of 5 to 8 minutes.  Multiple eulogies by two or more individuals are permitted but families are asked keep from these from taking an excessively long time. 

4).        None of the parish choirs are on the parish staff and music for funerals has always been

generously provided voluntarily by the people in the choirs.  A stipend of $100 – $300 is suggested.  These funds are used for music/choir supplies and events that deepen and enhance their ministry.  This stipend is given directly to the choir director.

5).        The Bishop of the Diocese of Gallup has set the stipend fee for funerals at $100

These funds assist in offsetting the facility expenses (heat, electricity, supplies) and a portion is given directly to the priest.  These funds are typically used by these individuals primarily for purchasing supplies for ministry or continuing education of the clergy.

6).        Addresses, talks, and/or speeches by non-Catholic religious ministers, pastors and reverends are not permitted.

7).        Clergy (priests or deacons) from outside of the Cibola area must obtain permission from the pastor before they are scheduled or permitted to assist or preside at a funeral in our parishes.  Clergy from outside the Diocese of Gallup must provide the required documentation obtained from their bishop or superior, as well as the permission from the pastor before they are scheduled or permitted to assist or preside as well.

8).        Secular music (non-church/religious) is not permitted in the church.

9).        Videos, slide shows, tributes are not permitted in the church.   

10).      The Pastor will assign the priests/deacons that conduct the services.  However, specific requests for a certain priest or deacon will be considered if their schedule allows.

11).      The family should meet with the parish staff for the arrangement of various liturgical elements as soon as possible.  Some important items are:

a).        selection of readings (the priest/deacon preaching at the funeral reserves the selection of the Gospel reading to himself).

b).        selection/assignment of lectors (readers) for the funeral Mass.  Family members who are designated to be lectors should be experienced and familiar with this ministry.

c).        selection/assignment of gift bearers and altar servers if desired.

d).        arrangements for music.

e).        final arrangements for the date, time and location of the services.

The kind and generous understanding of all is requested and appreciated. 

These guidelines and rules are because the Church has the responsibility to safeguard the sacred rites of our faith, to encourage authentic, meaningful and effective prayer and a sense of sacredness in our worship.