Prayers

Rite of Committal

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INDEX


INTRODUCTION

INVITATION

SCRIPTURE VERSE

PRAYER OVER THE PLACE OF COMMITTAL (L)

A  (If the place of committal is to be blessed)

1       2       3       4

B  (If the place of committal is already blessed)

C (for later final disposition of the body)

COMMITTAL

A      B     C  (For ashes)     

D (For burial at sea)

INTERCESSIONS

A     B      C

THE LORD’S PRAYER

CONCLUDING PRAYER

A        B       C      D

PRAYER OVER THE PEOPLE

BLESSING (L)

A Priest or deacon

B By a layperson


INTRODUCTION


Joseph took Jesus down from the cross,
wrapped him in a shroud,
and laid him in a tomb.


204
The rite of committal, the conclusion of the funeral rites, is the final act of the community of faith in caring for the body of its deceased member. It may be celebrated at the grave, tomb, or crematorium and may be used for burial at sea. Whenever possible, the rite of committal is to be celebrated at the site of committal, that is, beside the open grave or place of internment, rather than at a cemetery chapel.

205 Two forms of the rite of committal are provided here: “Rite of Committal” and “Rite of Committal with Final commendation.” The first form is used when the final commendation is celebrated as part of the conclusion of the funeral liturgy. The second form is used when the final commendation does not take place during the funeral liturgy or when no funeral liturgy precedes the committal rite.

206 In committing the body to its resting place, the community expresses the hope that, with all those who have gone before marked with the sign of faith, the deceased awaits the glory of the resurrection. The rite of committal is an expression of 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.

STRUCTURE AND CONTENT OF THE RITE OF COMMITTAL

207 Both forms of the committal rite begin with an invitation, Scripture verse, and a prayer over the place of committal. The several alternatives for the prayer over the place of committal take into account whether the grave, tomb, or resting place has already been blessed and situations in which the final disposition of the body will actually take place at a later time (for example, when the body is cremated or will remain in a cemetery chapel until burial at a later time).

208 The rite of committal continues with the words of committal, the intercessions, and the Lord’s Prayer.

The rite of committal with final commendation continues with an invitation to prayer, a pause for silent prayer, the sprinkling and incensing of the body, where this is customary, the song of farewell, and the prayer of commendation (see nos. 227-231).

209 The act of committal takes place after the words of committal (in the rite of committal with final commendation, after the prayer of commendation) or at the conclusion of the rite. The act of committal expresses the full significance of this rite. Through this act the community of faith proclaims that the grave or place of interment, once a sign of futility and despair, has been transformed by means of Christ’s own death and resurrection, into a sign of hope and promise.

210 Both forms of the rite conclude with a prayer over the people, which includes the verse Eternal rest, and a blessing. Depending on local custom, a song may then be sung and a gesture of leave-taking may be made, for example, placing flowers or soil on the coffin.

ADAPTATION

211
If there is a pastoral need for a longer committal rite than those provided here, for example, when the funeral liturgy has been celebrated on a previous day or in a different community, the minister may use the appropriate form of the committal rite and adapt it, for example, by adding a greeting, song, one or more readings, a psalm, and a brief homily. When there has been no funeral liturgy prior to the committal rite, the “Rite of Committal with Final Commendation” may be used and similarly adapted.

212 The rite of committal may be celebrated in circumstances in which the final disposition of the body will not take place for some time, for example, when winter delays burial or when ashes are to be interred at some time after cremation. The rite of committal may then be repeated on the later occasion when the actual burial or interment takes place. On the second occasion the rite may include a longer Scripture reading as well as a homily.

In case of a body donated to science, the rite of committal may be celebrated whenever interment takes place.

MINISTRY AND PARTICIPATION

213
The community continues to show its concern for the mourners by participating in the rite of committal. The rite marks the separation in this life of the mourners from the deceased, and through it the community assists them as they complete their care for the deceased and lay the body to rest. The act of committal is a stark and powerful expression of this separation. When carried out in the midst of the community of faith, the committal can help mourners to face the end of one relationship with the deceased and to begin a new one based on prayerful remembrance, gratitude, and the hope of resurrection and reunion.

By their presence and prayer members of the community signify their intention to continue to support the mourners in the time following the funeral.

214 The singing of well-chosen music at the rite of committal can help the mourners as they face the reality of separation. At the rite of committal with final commendation, whenever possible, the song of farewell should be sung. In either form of the committal rite, a hymn or liturgical song that affirms hope in God’s mercy and in the resurrection of the dead is desirable at the conclusion of the rite.

215 In the absence of a parish minister, a friend or member of the family should lead those present in the rite of committal.

The minister should vest according to local custom.


INVITATION


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

Our brother/sister N. has gone to his/her rest in the peace of Christ. May the Lord now welcome him/her to the table of God’s children in heaven. With faith and hope in eternal life, let us assist him/her with our prayers. Let us pray to the Lord also for ourselves. May we who mourn be reunited one day with N.; together may we meet Christ Jesus when he who is our life appears in glory.


SCRIPTURE VERSE


217 One of the following 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


218 The minister says one of the following prayers. 1   2   3   4   

Go to prayer if the place of committal has already been blessed

Go to prayer if the final disposition of the body is to take place at a later time

A If the place of committal is to be blessed

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.

Continue with the Committal

[Latin:

Dómine Iesu Christe,
qui, per tríduum in sepúlcro quiéscens,
ómnium in te credéntium túmulos ita sanctificásti
ut, dum humándis corpóribus deservírent,
spem étiam resurrectiónis augérent,
concéde propítius, ut in hoc sepúlcro
fámulus tuus (fámula tua) cum pace dórmiens requiéscat,
donec eum (eam) tu resúscitans illumináveris,
qui es resurréctio atque vita,
ut in lúmine vultus tui
vídeat in cælo lumen ætérnum.
Qui vivis et regnas in sǽcula sæculórum.
R. Amen.]

Continue with the Committal

Or:

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.

Continue with the Committal

[Latin:

Deus, cuius miseratióne ánimæ fidélium requiéscunt,
hunc túmulum benedícere dignáre,
eíque ángelum tuum sanctum députa custódem;
et cuius corpus hic sepelítur,
ánimam eius ab ómnibus absólve vínculis delictórum;
ut in te semper cum sanctis tuis sine fine læténtur.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.
R. Amen.]

Continue with the Committal

Or:

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.

Continue with the Committal

[Latin:

Deus, qui fundásti terram, cælos formásti
siderúmque loca stabilíta fixísti;
qui captívum láqueo mortis hóminem
reparásti ablutióne lavácri;
qui Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum,
contrítis láqueis infernórum,
in salútem credéntium resúrgere
suorúmque membra resuscitáre iussísti:
super hoc sepúlcrum, Dómine, réspice miserátus,
ut sit in eo, te iubénte, fámulo tuo (fámulæ tuæ) quiéta dormítio,
et témpore iudícii tui vera resuscitátio cum beátis.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.
R. Amen.]

Continue with the Committal

Or:

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
the body of your servant N.
his/her soul may be taken into paradise.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Continue with the Committal

[Deus,
qui hóminem a præcépto tuo lapsum
iustæ mortis senténtia condemnásti,
quique eum per pæniténtiam et novíssimam resurrectiónem
vívere demonstrásti,
qui præparánti monuméntum Ioseph iusto,
corpus domínicum ut sepelíret inspirásti,
te contrite corde et subníxa quǽsumus prece,
ut sepúlcrum hoc,
quod córpori fámuli tui parátum est sepeliéndo,
tua píetatis respícere et benedícere dignétur,
ut cum in eo caro eius fúerit ingésta,
paradíso recondátur ánima.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.
R. Amen.]

B If the place of committal has already been blessed

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 mercy with which you graced
your servant N. in life.
Receive him/her, we pray, into the mansions of the saints.
As we make ready our brother’s/sister’s resting place,
look also with favor on those who mourn
and comfort them in their loss.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Continue with the Committal

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

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 our brother/sister,
give our hearts peace in the firm hope
that one day N. will live
in the mansion you have prepared for him/her in heaven.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.


COMMITTAL


219 The minister then says the words of committal. One of the following texts is used, during or after which the coffin is lowered.

A406.1

Because God has chosen to call our brother/sister N.
from this life to himself,
we commit his/her body to the earth [or the deep or the elements or its resting place],
for we are dust and unto dust we shall return.
But the Lord Jesus Christ will change our mortal bodies
to be like his in glory,
for he is risen, the firstborn from the dead.
So let us commend our brother/sister to the Lord,
that the Lord may embrace him/her in peace
and raise up his/her body on the last day.

Continue with the Intercessions

B 406.2

In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
we commend to Almighty God our brother/sister N.,
and we commit his/her body to the ground
[or the deep or the elements or its resting place],
earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
The Lord bless him/her and keep him/her,
the Lord make his face to shine upon him/her
and be gracious to him/her,
the Lord lift up his countenance upon him/her
and give him/her peace.

Continue with the Intercessions

C For ashes 406.3

My friends,
as we prepare to bury [entomb] the ashes of our brother/sister,
we recall that our bodies bear the imprint of the first creation
when they were fashioned from dust;
but in faith we remember, too,
that by the new creation we also bear the image of Jesus
who was raised to glory.
In confident hope that one day
God will raise us and transform our mortal bodies,
let us pray.

Pause for silent prayer

Faithful God,
Lord of all creation,
you desire that nothing redeemed by your Son
will ever be lost,
and that the just will be raised up on the last day.

Comfort us today with the word of your promise
as we return the ashes of our brother/sister to the earth.

Grant N. a place of rest and peace
where the world of dust and ashes has no dominion.
Confirm us in our hope that he/she will be created anew
on the day when you will raise him/her up in glory
to live with you and all the saints
for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

Continue with the Intercessions

D For burial at sea 406.4

Lord God,
by the power of your Word
you stilled the chaos of the primeval seas,
you made the raging waters of the Flood subside,
and calmed the storm on the sea of Galilee.
As we commit the body of our brother/sister N. to the deep,
grant him/her peace and tranquility
until that day when he/she and all who believe in you
will be raised to the glory of new life
promised in the waters of baptism.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.


INTERCESSIONS


220 One of the following sets of intercessions (A, B, or C) may be used or adapted to the circumstances, or new intercessions may be composed.

A 407.1

The minister begins:


For our brother/sister, N., let us pray to our Lord Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me shall live even in death and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.”

Assisting minister:

Lord, you consoled Martha and Mary in their distress; draw near to us who mourn for N., and dry the tears of those who weep.
We pray to the Lord:
R. Lord, have mercy.

Assisting minister:

You wept at the grave of Lazarus, your friend; comfort us in our sorrow.
We pray to the Lord:
R. Lord, have mercy.

Assisting minister:

You raised the dead to life; give to our brother/sister eternal life.
We pray to the Lord:
R. Lord, have mercy.

Assisting minister:

You promised paradise to the repentant thief; bring N. to the joys of heaven.
We pray to the Lord:
R. Lord, have mercy.

Assisting minister:

Our brother/sister was washed in baptism and anointed with the Holy Spirit; give him/her fellowship with all your saints.
We pray to the Lord:
R. Lord, have mercy.

Assisting minister:

He/she was nourished with your body and blood; grant him/her a place at the table in your heavenly kingdom.
We pray to the Lord:
R. Lord, have mercy.

Assisting minister:

Comfort us in our sorrow at the death of N.; let our faith be our consolation, and eternal life our hope.
We pray to the Lord:
R. Lord, have mercy.

Continue with the Lord’s Prayer

B

The minister begins:


Dear friends, in reverence let us pray to God, the source of all mercies.

Assisting minister:

Gracious Lord, forgive the sins of those who have died in Christ.
Lord, in your mercy:
R. Hear our prayer.

Assisting minister:

Remember all the good they have done.
Lord, in your mercy:
R. Hear our prayer.

Assisting minister:

Welcome them into eternal life.
Lord, in your mercy:
R. Hear our prayer.

Assisting minister:

Let us pray for those who mourn. Comfort them in their grief.
Lord, in your mercy:
R. Hear our prayer.

Assisting minister:

Lighten their sense of loss with your presence.
Lord, in your mercy:
R. Hear our prayer.

Assisting minister:

Increase their faith and strengthen their hope.
Lord, in your mercy:
R. Hear our prayer.

Assisting minister:

Let us pray also for ourselves on our pilgrimage through life.
Keep us faithful in your service.
Lord, in your mercy:
R. Hear our prayer.

Assisting minister:

Kindle in our hearts a longing for heaven.
Lord, in your mercy:
R. Hear our prayer.

Continue with the Lord’s Prayer

C 407.2

The minister begins:


Dear friends, our Lord comes to raise the dead and comforts us with the solace of his love. Let us praise the Lord Jesus Christ.

Assisting minister:

Word of God, Creator of the earth to which N. now returns: in baptism you called him/her to eternal life to praise your Father for ever: Lord, have mercy.
R. Lord, have mercy.

Assisting minister:

Son of God, you raise up the just and clothe them with the glory of your kingdom:
Lord, have mercy.
R. Lord, have mercy.

Assisting minister:

Crucified Lord, you protect the soul of N. by the power of your cross, and on the day of your coming you will show mercy to all the faithful departed: Lord, have mercy.
R. Lord, have mercy.

Assisting minister:

Judge of the living and the dead, at your voice the tombs will open and all the just who sleep in your peace will rise and sing the glory of God: Lord, have mercy.
R. Lord, have mercy.

Assisting minister:

All praise to you, Jesus our Savior, death is in your hands and all the living depend on you alone: Lord, have mercy.
R. Lord, have mercy.


THE LORD’S PRAYER


221 Using one of the following invitations, or in similar words, the minister invites those present to pray the Lord’s Prayer.

With longing for the coming of God’s kingdom, let us offer our prayer to the Father:

All say:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done on earth
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.


CONCLUDING PRAYER


222 The minister says one of the following prayers: A   B   C   D   E

A

God of holiness and power,
accept our prayers on behalf of your servant N.;
do not count his/her deeds against him/her,
for in his/her heart he/she desired to do your will.
As his/her faith united him/her to your people on earth,
so may your mercy join him/her to the angels in heaven.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Continue with the Conclusion

B

Almighty God,
through the death of your Son on the cross
you destroyed our death;
through his rest in the tomb
you hallowed the graves of all who believe in you;
and through his rising again
you restored us to eternal life.
God of the living and the dead,
accept our prayers
for those who have died in Christ
and are buried with him in the hope of rising again.
Since they were true to your name on earth,
let them praise you for ever in the joy of heaven.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Continue with the Conclusion

C 408.1

Listen, O God, to the prayers of your Church
on behalf of the faithful departed,
and grant to your servant N.,
whose funeral we have celebrated today,
the inheritance promised to all your saints.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Continue with the Conclusion

D 408.2

Loving God, from whom all life proceeds
and by whose hand the dead are raised again,
though we are sinners, you wish always to hear us.
Accept the prayers we offer in sadness for your servant N.:
deliver his/her soul from death,
number him/her among your saints
and clothe him/her with the robe of salvation
to enjoy for ever the delights of your kingdom.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Continue with the Conclusion

E 408.3

Lord God,
whose days are without end
and whose mercies beyond counting,
keep us mindful
that life is short and the hour of death unknown.
Let your Spirit guide our days on earth
in the ways of holiness and justice,
that we may serve you
in union with the whole Church,
sure in faith, strong in hope, perfected in love.
And when our earthly journey is ended,
lead us rejoicing into your kingdom,
where you live for ever and ever.
R. Amen.


PRAYER OVER THE PEOPLE


223 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:

Merciful Lord,
you know the anguish of the sorrowful,
you are attentive to the prayers of the humble.
Hear your people
who cry out to you in their need,
and strengthen their hope in your lasting goodness.
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.

Go to the Blessing if (A) a priest or deacon (B) a layperson

[Latin:

Réquiem æternam dona ei, Dómine.
R. Et lux perpétua lúceat ei.

Requiéscat in pace.
R. Amen.

Anima eius, et ánimæ ómnium fidélium defunctórum,
per misericórdiam Dei
requiéscant in pace.
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.

[Latin:

Pax Dei, quae exsúperat omnem sensum,
custódiat corda vestra et intellegéntias vestras
in sciéntia et caritáte Dei,
et Fílii sui, Dómini nostri Iesu Christi.
R. Amen.

Benedícat vos omnípotens Deus,
Pater, et Fílius,+ et Spíritus Sanctus.
R. Amen.]

The minister then concludes

Go in the peace of Christ.
R. Thanks be to God.

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

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