St. Thomas the Apostle
Wilmington, Delaware
Copyright © 2015 St. Thomas the Apostle  ∑  All Rights reserved  ∑  E-Mail: rectory@sainttom.org
FUNERALS - WHAT WE BELIEVE
If you have ever wondered why Catholics have certain rituals and
practices at the time of death, then you are not alone. Our faith in the
Paschal Mystery (the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ)
reveals itself through the dying and death of each Christian. The
following points are designed to invite reflection upon the meaning of
what we do and believe at the time of a Christianís death. We also hope
that this information will guide you to a better understanding and
appreciation of our beliefs and practices.
In facing death, we are reminded that God has created each person for
eternal life. We celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise and
thanksgiving to God for the gift of a personís life, which has now been
returned to the Author of Life. At the death of a Christian, the Church intercedes on behalf of the deceased. We are confident in the
conviction that death is not the end, nor does it break the bonds of family, friendship and community that are forged in life.
The Church through its funeral rites commends the dead to Godís merciful love and pleads for the forgiveness of his or her sins. The
celebration of the Christian funeral brings hope and consolation to the living.
In the Eucharistic sacrifice, the Church celebrates Christís Passover from death to life and our participation in this great mystery. The
faith of all the baptized is renewed and nourished in this celebration. The intimate connection between the baptism of the Christian
into the death and resurrection of Christ and the Eucharistic celebration is one of the main reasons for offering the Mass for the
deceased.
In summary, we believe that in celebrating the funeral rites, we affirm and express the union of the Church on earth with the Church in
heaven in the one great communion of saints. Though separated from the living, the dead are still at one with the community of
believers on earth and benefit from their prayers and intercession. In the gathering of the community of believers with the community of
saints in heaven, we offer our prayers through the person of Jesus Christ in the greatest prayer of the Church, which is the
Eucharist.
If you have ever wondered why Catholics have certain rituals and practices at the time of death, then you are not alone. Our faith in the
Paschal Mystery (the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) reveals itself through the dying and death of each Christian. The
following points are designed to invite reflection upon the meaning of what we do and believe at the time of a Christianís death. We
also hope that this information will guide you to a better understanding and appreciation of our beliefs and practices.
In facing death, we are reminded that God has created each person for eternal life. We celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship,
praise and thanksgiving to God for the gift of a personís life, which has now been returned to the Author of Life. At the death of a
Christian, the Church intercedes on behalf of the deceased. We are confident in the conviction that death is not the end, nor does it
break the bonds of family, friendship and community that are forged in life.
The Church through its funeral rites commends the dead to Godís merciful love and pleads for the forgiveness of his or her sins. The
celebration of the Christian funeral brings hope and consolation to the living.
In the Eucharistic sacrifice, the Church celebrates Christís Passover from death to life and our participation in this great mystery. The
faith of all the baptized is renewed and nourished in this celebration. The intimate connection between the baptism of the Christian
into the death and resurrection of Christ and the Eucharistic celebration is one of the main reasons for offering the Mass for the
deceased.
In summary, we believe that in celebrating the funeral rites, we affirm and express the union of the Church on earth with the Church in
heaven in the one great communion of saints. Though separated from the living, the dead are still at one with the community of
believers on earth and benefit from their prayers and intercession. In the gathering of the community of believers with the community of
saints in heaven, we offer our prayers through the person of Jesus Christ in the greatest prayer of the Church, which is the
Eucharist.