(updated 7 Feb 2019)
Catholic Teaching on Death
The Catechism of the Catholic Church(CCC) no. 1007 states that “Death is the end of earthly life. Our lives are measured by time, in the course of which we change, grow old and as with all living beings on earth, death seems like the normal end of life. That aspect of death lends urgency to our lives: remembering our mortality helps us realize that we have only a limited time in which to bring our lives to fulfilment:
“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth …before the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it”.
Due to Christ Christian death has a positive meaning as stated in CCC 1010: “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain”. The saying is sure: if we have died with him, we will also live with him. What is essentially new about Christian death is this: through Baptism, the Christian has already “died with Christ” sacramentally, in order to live a new life; and if we die in Christ’s grace, physical death completes this “dying with Christ” and so completes our incorporation into him in his redeeming act:
“It is better for me to die in (eis) Christ Jesus than to reign over the ends of the earth. Him it is I seek who died for us who rose for us. I am on the point of giving birth…Let me receive pure light; when I shall have arrived there, then I shall be a man”.
In the event of death, family members of the deceased of Blessed Sacrament Parish are to follow these procedures and are NOT recommended to publish any obituary upon obtaining approval or after consultation with the parish priest or parties concerned.
It is recommended that you contact the CATHOLIC MUTUAL BENEFIT SOCIETY OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF KUCHING
- Office: Beatrice Mary Goh 082-244493
- Funeral Service: Christopher Chin 019-856 3438
- Families are free to choose any company for the funeral service. If you use Mr Christopher Chin, he will be able to help you make all the necessary arrangements with the Church; i.e. the following
1. FUNERAL MASS
Ordinarily the Funeral Mass of a parishioner of Blessed Sacrament Church will be celebrated by the Rector of the Parish. However, it is the practice of the Archdiocese of Kuching that all funeral masses are centralised and celebrated at St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Therefore, the family members of the deceased should contact:
- Family of the deceased should inform both parish offices of St. Joseph’s Cathedral and Blessed Sacrament Churchto arrange a suitable date and time for the Funeral Mass – this is subject to the availability of the Cathedral and of the priest of BSC. Should he not be available, other priests may celebrate the Mass.
- St Joseph’s Parish Office may be able to assist with arranging the choir, reader, commentator, and other liturgical ministers to assist during the Funeral Mass. The coffin is placed in the Cathedral about thirty minutes before Mass begins.
- It is not a practice to have a eulogy at Funeral Masses in Kuching. However a brief eulogy of no more than five minutes may be permitted by the officiating priest before the Funeral Mass begins. The speaker should have a written text approved beforehand by the priest. There should be only one eulogist, and the person must be of upright reputation.
2. BAPTISMAL CERTIFICATE
St Joseph’s Cathedral will request the submission of the baptismal certificate of the deceased. If the certificate is lost, it may be obtained from parish where the decesased was baptised.
3. BURIAL PLOT OR CREMATION ARRANGEMENT
Make arrangements with the Catholic Mutual Benefit Society. In the event parishioners prefers to engage other funeral services they are allowed to do so but required to follow the stated procedures for funeral arrangements.
- Burial plot
- Burial plots are under the administration of the Archbishop’s Office, person in charge Raymond Lee (082-242634, ACCPC Level 1) with the following options:
- The Lord’s Resting Ground (7 ½ mile) – RM1,500 per plot. The cemetery permits only the construction of a simple tombstone in a largely lawn set up, Catholic Memorial Park (13 mile) – RM2,000 per plot. This is a cement style cemetery.
Arrangement with an undertaker is required to have the plot prepared. The Catholic Mutual Aid Society may be contacted for this purpose. Fee would be imposed for this service.
- Cremated remains should be placed in a worthy container. Then they should be buried in a grave or in an urn in a columbarium niche, preferably in a Catholic cemetery.
4. PREPARATION OF THE BODY AND RESERVATION IN THE COFFIN
The Catholic Mutual Benefit Society or other private funeral companies can arrange for the body of the deceased to be transported from the hospital, prepared and dressed (in some cases with help from the family members of the deceased), and placed temporarily in a chiller or in a coffin. After preparation, the body is brought either to the home of the deceased or the funeral parlour of the parish. The rates for preparation, coffin and transport depends on the undertaker.
5. RESERVATION OF THE DECEASED IN THE HOME OR FUNERAL PARLOUR
The funeral parlour at St. Joseph’s Cathedral may be available for use before the funeral Mass. Bookings require the completion of request forms. Check with the parish office (St. Joseph’s Cathedral) at 082-423424. The parlour is intended to accommodate two bodies. Therefore the parish reserves the right to allow the bodies of two deceased in the parlour at any one time. The parish sets the rate for the use of the parlour to cover the cost of air-conditioning and the maintenance of the parlour: RM 150 per day/night (not exceeding 24 hours) or RM 300 for 2 days/nights (not exceeding 48 hours).
6. WAKE PRAYERS
Wake prayers are usually offered for the deceased at the parlour or the home where the body of the deceased is kept, before and after the funeral, for a total of seven evenings. Parishioners of Blessed Sacrament Church can get the help of the parish office of BSC (082-578857) or contact the person in charge of the BSC Compassion Ministry (William Ting – 016-8605003) to arrange for groups lead the wake prayers.
Newspaper publications is only to be done after the date and time of the Funeral Mass is set by the Parish Office(s). The family is responsible for arranging the obituary in the newspapers.
The Cathedral Parish will provide a minister to lead the prayers at the burial site or crematorium.
The Church does not charge for the sacred celebrations. However, it is customary to offer tokens of reasonable amounts to:
- St Joseph’s Cathedral Parish for the use of the facilities
- The celebrating priest as token of appreciation
- Blessed Sacrament Parish as token of appreciation
- The Burial Minister, to cover transportation cost to the cemetery and back
- Please clearly indicate on envelops who/what each of the offerings is meant for.
10. REQUIEM MASS
Mass and prayers offered for the deceased are important practices of Catholic life. Masses for the deceased can be arranged with the BSC parish office. It is customary to accompany requests for Masses with offerings of reasonable amounts in support of the parish.
11. HEADSTONE / MEMORIAL
- Please follow the requirement as stipulated by the Archbishop’s Office and refer to the Cathedral parish office or Catholic Cemetery Committee for further information. Only contractors registered with the Catholic Cemetery Committee are allowed to erect monuments at the cemeteries.