Funeral Arrangements

Please use these guidelines to assist in the planning of a funeral.

The Funeral

There are basically three forms the funeral service can take: 1) the traditional Requiem Funeral Mass, followed by Committal service at a cemetery; 2) funeral service at the Funeral Home chapel, with no Mass, followed by the Committal; 3) Graveside Committal service. If Cremation is involved, please meet with the Pastor for procedures. Once the family decides which option they desire, then certain aspects can be addressed.

Concerning the Requiem Funeral Mass: This will be the traditional Requiem Funeral celebrated in Church. The family will be asked about choosing the Scripture readings (the Pastor will provide reading selections) as well as if there will be a Lector to proclaim the Word of God. It is important that the Lector be someone who is acquainted with proclaiming the Scriptures at Mass. There is also the option for the family to have members bring up the Offertory Gifts. There is no need to secure Altar Servers, unless some in the family already do this and want to assist. Normally there is no need for an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (if there would be, due to an expected larger attendance, the Extraordinary Minister must be someone who is appointed here at St. Helena Catholic Church). If the family desires to have music (it is not mandatory), then they will need to contact our Music Director and arrange the music selection. If the family wants actual singing, they will need to inform the Music Director and he will secure a soloist.

Please contact our Parish office for more information at (707) 963-1228.

The Rosary (Vigil)

The proper terminology for the service the night before the Funeral is “Vigil.” It has been a longstanding custom that the Rosary is prayed either completely or at least a few decades of it.

A Vigil includes readings from Scripture and prayers for the deceased—focusing on our love for the deceased through prayer. Should a family member(s) wish to speak (eulogize) or offer some memories and thoughts—the Vigil is the proper place to do so. These “Guidelines” are meant to assist families and loved ones who, while grieving, need to attend to the funeral planning. We offer some aspects of the process should a question arise or something is overlooked while meeting at the Funeral Home. Simply reviewing these notes might be helpful. Your Church is here to assist you. When the family meets with the funeral director, it is then that scheduling will be coordinated between the Funeral Home and the Parish for the services. After that, the issues connected with their choice of service and the scheduled times can better be completed. The Priest or Deacon will meet with the family to help plan the services to honor the deceased loved one.