Irish archbishop issues guidelines for funerals

 The Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dr Dermot Clifford, yesterday published guidelines for celebrating the funeral liturgy. Archbishop Clifford said: "These guidelines will help us maintain the essential religious nature of our funeral liturgies, and encourage all of us to focus on commending our deceased to the mercy of God and on giving thanks to God for the blessings that they received in life. "Today's guidelines will ensure that the celebration of the funeral liturgy is a dignified, prayerful and consoling experience for mourners and all who participate in the funeral ceremonies. They have been compiled to assist all those whose duty it is to make the necessary arrangements for the Christian burial of one of the faithful. "The death of a family member is a particularly sad and painful experience. Even when expected, the death of a loved one always leaves a sense of shock and loss. However, the Church's funeral liturgy is a rich source of consolation and hope at this difficult time," concluded Archbishop Clifford. The guidelines address: Arranging the Funeral Liturgy; Communication; Prayers in the Home/Funeral Parlour; Reception of the Body at the Church (Christian symbols, Personal Emblems, and Flags); Funeral Mass; Word of God (Readings, Homily, Prayers of the Faithful); Presentation of Gifts; Music and Hymns; Mass Cards; Flowers; Address/Eulogy. To see the guidelines visit: www.catholiccommunications.ie