The Rite of Committal is the final rite of Christian Burial, a final act of caring for the body, the ritual procession to the deceased’s final resting place. It is at this time, as a community once again, that we commit our departed loved ones to the hands of God. It is also a time in which we can pray for the strength and peace to continue on during this most difficult time. This is the third time we have been given the opportunity to be comforted by the presence of our family and friends.
It should be noted that burial should take place in a Catholic Cemetery whenever possible. “The Catholic Church strongly encourages those who were part of the Catholic community to be buried in a Catholic Cemetery. Not only is the Catholic Cemetery a sacred place, a place of prayer and a place reflecting our beliefs, but it also expresses the link of community between all the faithful, living and dead. It is recognition of the shared belief of the dead and the living who commit the bodies of their deceased to such a holy place. It is a sure link between heaven and earth, between time and eternity” Most Reverend John O. Barres, Bishop of Allentown, in a letter published in the AD Times.
During the difficult time of a loved one’s passing, human nature is to grieve and grasp for any source of comfort we can find. The rite of Christian Burial not only affords us an opportunity to pray for the soul of the departed but it provides multiple opportunities to find the comfort and solace we so desire, in the presence of our friends and family.
Often times I hear comments to the effect “but the mass is too long” or “so many of my relatives are not catholic”. If you were to celebrate the Rite of Christian Burial, in one day, in its entirety, with the Funeral Liturgy celebrated with the mass, it would last about three hours. Even less when the Liturgy is celebrated outside of mass. This includes the viewing and Vigil, the Mass and the Committal at the Cemetery.
It is my hope, that those of you reading this may come to understand the encompassing nature of the Rite of Christian Burial and the opportunity for faith, comfort and healing it truly affords us, for no other reason than your personal peace at the time of a loss.
And is three hours really too much?