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Prayers

Rite of Committal with Final Commendation for a Child

Rite of Committal

The Lord is my shepherd;
fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose


INTRODUCTION

316 The rite of committal, the conclusion of the funeral rites (see nos. 204-215), is celebrated at the grave, tomb, or crematorium and may be used for burial at sea.

Three forms of the rite of committal are provided for the funeral of a child: “Rite of Committal,” “Rite of Committal with Final Commendation,” and “Rite of Final Commendation for an Infant.”

317 The rite of committal is used when the final commendation and farewell is celebrated within the funeral liturgy. The rite of committal with final commendation is used when the final commendation is not celebrated within the funeral liturgy.

When the funeral liturgy is celebrated on a day prior to the committal or in a different community, the minister may wish to adapt the rite of committal, for example, by adding a song, a greeting, one or more readings, a psalm, and a brief homily. When no funeral liturgy precedes the rite of committal, the rite of committal with final commendation is used and should be similarly adapted.

318 The “Rite of Final Commendation for an Infant” may be used in the case of a stillborn or a newborn infant who dies shortly after birth. This short rite of prayer with the parents is celebrated to give them comfort and to commend and entrust the infant to God. This rite is a model and the minister should adapt it to the circumstances. It may be used in the hospital or place of birth or at the time of the committal of the body.


Go to the Prayer over the Place of Committal
Go to the Invitation to Prayer
Go to the Commendation and Committal
Go to the Prayer over the People

INVITATION

327 When the funeral procession arrives at the place of committal, the minister says the following or a similar invitation.

The life which this child N. received from his/her parents is not destroyed by death. God has taken him/her into eternal life.

As we commend N. to God and commit his/her body to the earth/elements, let us express in [song and ] prayer our common faith in the resurrection. As Jesus Christ was raised from teh dead, we too are called to follow him through death to the glory where God will be all in all.

SCRIPTURE VERSE

328 One of the following verses or another brief Scripture verse is read. The minister first says:

We read in sacred Scripture:

A Matthew 25:34

Come, you who are blessed by my Father, says the Lord,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

B John 6:39

This is the will of the one who sent me, says the Lord,
that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.

C Philippians 3:20

Our citizenship is in heaven,
and from it we also await a savior,
the Lord Jesus Christ.

D Revelation 1:5-6

Jesus Christ is the firstborn of the dead;
to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

PRAYER over the PLACE of COMMITTAL

329 The minister says one of the following prayers or one of those provided in no. 405.

A If the place of committal is to be blessed:


O God,
by whose mercy the faithful departed find rest,
bless this grave,
and send your holy angel to watch over it.

As we bury here the body of N.,
welcome him/her into your presence,
that he/she may rejoice in you with your saints for ever.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Go to the Invitation to Prayer

405.1

Lord Jesus Christ,
by your own three days in the tomb,
you hallowed the graves of all who believe in you
and so made the grave a sign of hope
that promises resurrection
even as it claims our mortal bodies.
Grant that our brother/sister may sleep here in peace
until you awaken him/her to glory,
for you are the resurrection and the life.
Then he/she will see you face to face
and in your light will see light
and know the splendor of God,
for you live and reign for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

Go to the Invitation to Prayer

321.A/405.2

O God,
by whose mercy the faithful departed find rest,
bless this grave,
and send your holy angel to watch over it.
As we bury here the body of our brother/sister,
deliver his/her soul from every bond of sin,
that he/she may rejoice in you with your saints for ever.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Go to the Invitation to Prayer

405.3.

Almighty God,
you created the earth and shaped the vault of heaven;
you fixed the stars in their places.
When we were caught in the snares of death
you set us free through baptism;
in obedience to your will
our Lord Jesus Christ
broke the fetters of hell and rose to life,
bringing deliverance and resurrection
to those who are his by faith.
In your mercy look upon this grave,
so that your servant may sleep here in peace;
and on the day of judgment raise him/her up
to dwell with your saints in paradise.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Go to the Invitation to Prayer

405.4.

God of endless ages,
through disobedience to your law
we fell from grace
and death entered the world;
but through the obedience and resurrection of your Son
you revealed to us a new life.
You granted Abraham, our father in faith,
a burial place in the promised land;
you prompted Joseph of Arimathea
to offer his own tomb for the burial of the Lord.
In a spirit of repentance
we earnestly ask you
to look upon this grave and bless it,
so that, while we commit to [the earth/its resting place]
the body of your servant N.
his/her soul may be taken into paradise.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Go to the Invitation to Prayer

B If the place of committal has already been blessed:

321.B


All praise to you, Lord of all creation.
Praise to you, holy and living God.
We praise and bless you for your mercy,
we praise and bless you for your kindness.
Blessed is the Lord, our God.

R. Blessed is the Lord, our God.

You sanctify the homes of the living
and make holy the places of the dead.
You alone open the gates of righteousness
and lead us to the dwellings of the saints.
Blessed is the Lord, our God.

R. Blessed is the Lord, our God.

We praise you, our refuge and strength.
We bless you, our God and Redeemer.
Your praise is always in our hearts and on our lips.
We remember the mighty deeds of the covenant.
Blessed is the Lord, our God.

R. Blessed is the Lord, our God.

Almighty and ever-living God,
remember the love with which you graced your child N. in life.
Receive him/her, we pray, into the mansions of the saints.
As we make ready this resting place,
look also with favor on those who mourn
and comfort them in their loss.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Go to the Invitaiton to Prayer

C When the final disposition of the body is to take place at a later time:

321.C


Almighty and ever-living God,
in you we place our trust and hope,
in you the dead, whose bodies were temples of the Spirit, find everlasting peace.
As we take leave of N.,
give our hearts peace in the firm hope
that one day he/she will live
in the mansion you have prepared for him/her in heaven.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

INVITATION to PRAYER

330 Using one of the following invitations, or one of those provided in no. 402, or in similar words, the minister faces the people and begins the final commendation.

A A baptized child


God in his wisdom knows the span of our days; he has chosen to call to himself this child, whom he adopted as his own in baptism. The body we must now bury will one day rise again to a new and radiant life that will never end.

Our firm belief is that N., because he/she was baptized, has already entered this new life; our firm hope is that we shall do the same. Let us ask God to comfort his/her family and friends and to increase our desire for the joys of heaven.

B A baptized child

With faith in Jesus Christ, we must reverently bury the body of N.

Let us pray with confidence to God, in whose sight all creation lives, that he will raise up in holiness and power the mortal body of this [little] child, for God has chosen to number his/her soul among the blessed.

C A child who died before baptism

Let us commend this child to the Lord’s merciful keeping; and let us pray with all our hearts for N. and N. Even as they grieve at the loss of their [little] child, they entrust him/her to the loving embrace of God.

SILENCE

331 All pray in silence.

SIGNS of FAREWELL

332 The coffin of a baptized child may now be sprinkled with holy water and incensed, or this may take place during or after the song of farewell.

SONG of FAREWELL


333 The song of farewell is then sung. The following or other responsories chosen from no. 403, may be used or some other song may be sung.

A 333A/A403.4


I know that my Redeemer lives:
on the last day I shall rise again.
R. And in my flesh I shall see God.
or
R. On the last day I shall rise again.

I shall see him myself, face to face;
and my own eyes shall behold my Savior.
R. And in my flesh I shall see God.
or
R. On the last day I shall rise again.

Within my heart this hope I cherish:
that in my flesh I shall see God.
R. And in my flesh I shall see God.
or
R. On the last day I shall rise again.

Go to the Prayer of Commendation and Committal

B 333B/403.1

Saints of God, come to his/her aid!
Hasten to meet him/her, angels of the Lord!
R. Receive his/her soul and present him/her to God the Most High.

May Christ, who called you, take you to himself;
may angels lead you to the bosom of Abraham.
R. Receive his/her soul and present him/her to God the Most High.

Eternal rest grant unto him/her, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him/her.
R. Receive his/her soul and present him/her to God the Most High.

Go to the Prayer of Commendation and Committal

1

403.2. Lord our God, receive your servant,
for whom you shed your blood.
R. Remember, Lord, that we are dust: like grass, like a flower of the field.

Merciful Lord, I tremble before you,
ashamed of the things I have done.
R. Remember, Lord, that we are dust: like grass, like a flower of the field.

Go to the Prayer of Commendation and Committal

2

403.3
You knew me, Lord, before I was born.
You shaped me into your image and likeness.
R. I breathe forth my spirit to you, my Creator.

Merciful Lord, I tremble before you:
I am ashamed of the things I have done;
do not condemn me when you come in judgment.
R. I breathe forth my spirit to you, my Creator.

Go to the Prayer of Commendation and Committal

3

403.5. I know that my Redeemer lives,
And on that final day of days,
His voice shall bid me rise again:
Unending joy, unceasing praise!

This hope I cherish in my heart:
To stand on earth, my flesh restored,
And, not a stranger but a friend,
Behold my Savior and my Lord.

Go to the Prayer of Commendation and Committal

4

403.6.
Lazarus you raised, O Lord,
from the decay of the tomb.
R. Grant your servant rest, a haven of pardon and peace.

Eternal rest, O Lord,
and your perpetual light.
R. Grant your servant rest, a haven of pardon and peace.

Go to the Prayer of Commendation and Committal

5

405.7.
You shattered the gates of bronze
and preached to the spirits in prison.
R. Deliver me, Lord, from the streets of darkness.

A light and a revelation
to those confined in darkness.
R. Deliver me, Lord, from the streets of darkness.

“Redeemer, you have come,”
they cried, the prisoners of silence.
R. Deliver me, Lord, from the streets of darkness.

Eternal rest, O Lord,
and your perpetual light.
R. Deliver me, Lord, from the streets of darkness.

PRAYER of COMMENDATION

334 The minister then says one of the following prayers or one of those provided in no. 404.

A 334.A A baptized child


You are the author and sustainer of our lives, O God.
You are our final home.
We commend to you N., our child.
In baptism he/she began his/her journey toward you.
Take him/her now to yourself
and give him/her the life
promised to those born again of water and the Spirit.

Turn also to us who have suffered this loss.
Strengthen the bonds of this family and our community.
Confirm us in faith, in hope, and in love,
so that we may bear your peace to one another
and one day stand together with all the saints
who praise you for your saving help.
We ask this in the name of your Son,
whom you raised from among the dead,
Jesus Christ, our Lord.
R. Amen.

B 334.B A child who died before baptism

You are the author and sustainer of our lives, O God,
you are our final home.
We commend to you N., our child.

Trusting in your mercy
and in your all-embracing love,
we pray that you give him/her happiness for ever.

Turn also to us who have suffered this loss.
Strengthen the bonds of this family and our community.
Confirm us in faith, in hope, and in love,
so that we may bear your peace to one another
and one day stand together with all the saints
who praise you for your saving help.

We ask this in the name of your Son,
Jesus Christ, our Lord.
R. Amen.

404.2 A baptized child

Lord Jesus,
like a shepherd who gathers the lambs
to protect them from all harm,
you led N. to the waters of baptism
and shielded him/her in innocence.

Now carry this little one
on the path to your kingdom of light
where he/she will find happiness
aind every tear will be wiped away.

To you be glory, now and for ever.
R. Amen.

404.3 A baptizcd child

Into your gentle keeping, O Lord,
we commend this child [N].
Though our hearts are troubled,
we hope in your loving kindness.

By the sign of the cross
he/she was claimed for Christ,
and in the waters of baptism
he/she died with Christ to live in him for ever.

May the angels, our guardians,
lead N. now to paradise
where your saints will welcome him/her
and every tear will be wiped away.
There we shall join in songs of praise for ever.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

COMMITTAL

335 The act of committal takes place at this time or at the conclusion of the rite.

PRAYER over the PEOPLE

336 The assisting minister says:

Bow your heads and pray for God’s blessing.

All pray silently. The minister, with hands outstretched, prays over the people:

Most merciful God,
whose wisdom is beyond our understanding,
surround the family of N. with your love,
that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss,
but have confidence in your goodness,
and strength to meet the days to come.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

The minister then says the following:

Eternal rest grant unto him/her, O Lord.

R. And let perpetual light shine upon him/her.

May he/she rest in peace.

R. Amen.

May his/her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

R. Amen.

A A minister who is a priest or deacon says:

May the peace of God,
which is beyond all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God
and of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
R. Amen.

May almighty God bless you,
the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit.

R. Amen.

B A lay minister invokes God’s blessing and signs himself or herself with the sign of the cross, saying:

May the love of God and the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ
bless and console us
and gently wipe every tear from our eyes:
in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.

The minister then concludes:

Go in the peace of Christ.

R. Thanks be to God.

A song may conclude the rite. Where it is the custom, some sign or gesture of leave-taking may be made.

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