Prayers

Rite of Committal 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 Committal
Go to the Intercessions
Go to the Conclusion

INVITATION

319 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 commit his/her body to the earth/elements, let us comfort each other in our sorrow with the assurance of our faith, that one day we will be reunited with N.

SCRIPTURE VERSE

320 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

321 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 Committal

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 Committal

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 Committal

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 Committal

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 Committal

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 Committal

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.

COMMITTAL

322 The minister then says the words of committal. One of the following formularies or one provided in no. 406 may be used.

A 322.A

A baptized child


Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend N.
Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you,
a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock.
Receive him/her into the arms of your mercy,
into the blessed rest of everlasting peace,
and into the glorious company of the saints in light.

Go to the Intercessions

B A child who died before baptism

322.B


Lord God,
ever caring and gentle,
we commit to your love this little one [N.],
who brought joy to our lives for so short a time.
Enfold him/her in eternal life.

We pray for his/her parents
who are saddened by the loss of their child [baby/infant].
Give them courage
and help them in their pain and grief.
May they all meet one day
in the joy and peace of your kingdom.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Go to the Intercessions

406.1

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.

Go to 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.

Go to 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.

Go to 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.

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

INTERCESSIONS

323 The following intercessions or those given in no. 407 may be used or adapted to the circumstances, or new intercessions may be composed.

The minister begins:


Dear friends, let us turn to the Lord, the God of hope and consolation, who calls us to everlasting glory in Christ Jesus.

Assisting minister:

For N., that he/she may now enjoy the place prepared for him/her in your great love.
We pray to the Lord.

R. Lord, hear our prayer.

Assisting minister:

For N.’s father and mother [brother(s) and sister(s)], that they may know our love and support in their grief.
We pray to the Lord.

R. Lord, hear our prayer.

Assisting minister:

For his/her friends [and teachers], that they may love one another as you have loved us.
We pray to the Lord.

R. Lord, hear our prayer.

Assisting minister:

For this community, that we may bear one another’s burdens.
We pray to the Lord.

R. Lord, hear our prayer.

Assisting minister:

For all those who mourn their children, that they may be comforted.
We pray to the Lord.

R. Lord, hear our prayer.

Assisting minister:

For all who are in need, that the fearful may find peace, the weary rest, and the oppressed freedom.
We pray to the Lord.

R. Lord, hear our prayer.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

324 Using the following or similar words, the minister invites those present to pray the Lord’s Prayer.

As sons and daughters of a loving God, we pray in the confident words of his Son:

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

325 The minister says one of the following prayers or one of those provided in no. 408.

A A baptized child

325.A


Tender Shepherd of the flock,
N. has entered your kingdom
and now lies cradled in your love.
Soothe the hearts of his/her parents
and bring peace to their lives.
Enlighten their faith
and give hope to their hearts.

Loving God,
grant mercy to your entire family in this time of suffering.
Comfort us in the knowledge that this child [N.]
lives with you and your Son, Jesus Christ,
and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

B A baptized child

325.B


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

C A child who died before baptism

325.C


God of mercy,
in the mystery of your wisdom
you have drawn this child [N.] to yourself.
In the midst of our pain and sorrow,
we acknowledge you as Lord of the living and the dead
and we search for our peace in your will.
In these final moments we stand together in prayer,
believing in your compassion and generous love.
Deliver this child [N.] out of death
and grant him/her a place in your kingdom of peace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

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.

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 /her with the robe of salvation
to enjoy for ever the delights of your kingdom.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

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

326 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.

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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