Bereavement Team and Funeral Ministers

In the Catholic Church the responsibility for the ministry of consolation rests with the believing community, which heeds the words and example of the Lord Jesus: "Blessed are they who mourn; they shall be consoled (Matthew 5:3). Each Christian shares in this ministry according to the various gifts and offices in the Church. The priest and members of the community both have a part to play in caring for the bereaved. The community involvement is principally through active participation in the celebration of the funeral ries, particularly the vigil for the deceased, the funeral liturgy and the rite of committal. For this reason Funeral Masses are usually are at the same time as the scheduled weekday Mass.

In the face of death, the Church confidently proclaims that God has created each person for eternal life and that Jesus, the Son of God, by his death and resurrection has broken the chains of sin and death that bound humanity. 

Priests, as teachers of faith and ministers of comfort, preside at the funeral rites. When no priest is available deacons as ministers of the word, of the altar and of charity preside at fueral rites. When no priest or deacon funeral rites may be led by a Lay Funeral Minister. Lay Funeral Ministers will have been chosen as people with pastoral skills and will have taken part in approved training and been commissioned by the Archbishop.

At Our Lady's Church Lay Funeral Ministers often preside at Rites of Committal at the graveside or crematoria. They will also preside at services in church.

The ministry of consolation is also exercised at Our Lady's by a Bereavement Group who assist at funerals, who offer prayer for the deceased and their family, will stay in touch with the family beyond the funeral and will organise a Mass on All Souls Day each year. All the families of the deceased who have died in the past year are invited to this Mass. The Bereavement Team will also visit th bereaved homes to lead prayers prior to the funeral rites and very often this will include the recitation of the Rosary.