A Sacred Celebration of Life: Planning a Funeral Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle Church


The parish community of St. Thomas the Apostle extends our sincere prayers of condolence and consolation in your time of loss and grief. We are honored to share with you in the sacred Mass to celebrate the life of your beloved family member in the sure and certain knowledge that “the souls of the just are in the hands of God.” (Wisdom 3:1-6) Following are some simple steps which we hope will guide you through this difficult time:

  1. Funeral Home & Church: Meet with your funeral director at the funeral home & connect your funeral home of choice with the St. Thomas the Apostle Parish & Rectory Office to begin the collaborative process of planning your funeral liturgy.

  2. Readings at Mass: Scripture readings at Mass can be a beautiful tribute and reflection of the life, faith and values of your beloved deceased. Either select readings that you know your loved one may have already chosen or chose readings which your family feels express the mercy and love of God for your beloved deceased. If members of your family are comfortable reading the scripture at Mass, it is a wonderful way to involve multiple members of your family & extended family & friends.

  3. Select one reading from the Old Testament (read by family or friend)
  4. Select a song (sung by our Music Ministry team)
  5. Select one reading from the New Testament (read by family or friend)
  6. Select one reading from the Gospels (read by the Priest)
  7. Write or select Prayers of the Faithful (read by family or friends)Prayers of the faithful follow the general format provided here:

    “For the Smith family, that all of us who grieve will be comforted by our loving God, we pray to the Lord.”

  • Music at Mass: There are many opportunities to choose music that reflects our hope in the goodness of God for your beloved deceased. Our music ministry team will work with a member of your family to plan meaningful and sacred music to celebrate the life of your loved one. There are approximately five songs/hymns that are sung at the funeral Mass that will be selected by you & our team.
  • Remembrances Outside of Mass: We encourage you to work with your Funeral Director to provide opportunities to share memories, stories, pictures and verbal remembrances of your beloved deceased without the time restrictions of the Mass. This is a most sacred and necessary ritual to honor the living and your beloved.
  • Remembrances at Mass: A spoken remembrance by family is honored at St. Thomas the Apostle Church. Mindful that this reflection is given within the context of the sacred Mass, we ask your family to observe the following guidelines:

    Remembrances should last a total of 5-7 minutes out of respect for all guests and to keep this moment in balance with the rest of the sacred celebration of the Mass. Reflections should certainly be written or typed to support the speaker on a difficult day and to provide focus. If multiple members of a family give remembrance, we ask that all speakers fit their reflections into the total 5-7 minute framework. Also, multiple speakers should coordinate in advance as not to repeat sentiments, but to offer a range of reflection.

A Remembrance in Mass should celebrate the life of the deceased, their values and their faith. This sharing is a unique context because it is a public offering at Mass. As you write your remembrance, please consider the following:

  • Does my reflection speak to values & faith of my beloved deceased?
  • Am I including stories everyone already has heard and knows and therefore, can I focus on a theme or other tribute?
  • Have I focused my comments so as to engage all of the guests, not just my immediate family?
  • Is my message filled with the hope and faith of eternal life that my beloved deceased now enjoys?

Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns as we plan this most sacred and important celebration for your family. Thank you for sharing this milestone in your faith journey with us.

Peace & Sincere Condolence,

The Parish Ministry Team of St. Thomas the Apostle Church