My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, The death of a loved one begins a time of great loss, loneliness, pain, sadness, confusion and searching. But it is also a time when the core of all that we believe as Catholics - that new life comes through death - is remembered and celebrated.
The Christian funeral offers worship, praise and thanksgiving to God, the creator of all life. It commends the deceased person to God's merciful love and affi rms the bond between the living and the dead in the communion of saints. It brings hope and consolation to the bereaved and celebrates Christ's Passover and our participation in it through Christian initiation.
Those of us who minister within the Church recognize the deep sorrow of the bereaved. We offer this booklet as a helpful guide and companion as you make the necessary, but diffi cult, decisions that the death, or impending death, of your loved one requires. It is also a great reference for those who wish to decide in advance about the many details of their own funeral or the funeral of loved ones.
The information contained inside this booklet comes from many sources. It is designed to ease this time of loss and transition. I also urge you to meet with your parish bereavement ministers for further counsel. The spiritual and physical support of your parish community can serve to strengthen your reliance upon God and our Catholic traditions as you persevere in this most difficult time.
At this time, and always, know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
With every good wish, I am
Sincerely in the Lord,