The faith community of St. Stephen offers its prayers and condolences to your family in this time of sorrow.
In the face of death, the Church confidently proclaims that God has created each person for eternal life and that Jesus, the Son of God, by his death and resurrection, has broken the chains of sin and death that bound humanity. At the death of a Christian, whose life of faith was begun in the waters of baptism and strengthened at the eucharistic table, the Church intercedes on behalf of the deceased because of its confident belief that death is not the end nor does it break the bonds forged in life. The Church also ministers to the sorrowing and consoles them in the funeral rites with the comforting word of God and the sacrament of the eucharist.
At the funeral rites, especially at the celebration of the eucharistic sacrifice, the Christian community affirms and expresses 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 intercessions.
The celebration of the Christian funeral brings hope and consolation to the living. While proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and witnessing to Christian hope in the resurrection, the funeral rites also recall to all who take part in them God’s mercy and judgment and meet the human need to turn always to God in times of crisis. 
1 Excerpts from the Order of Christian Funeral, 1987
Below are links for the preferred First and Second Readings, Funeral Music Suggestions, and Words of Remembrance (formerly Eulogy). Please prayerfully consider your options as you plan the liturgy for your loved one.
FOR PREFERRED FIRST READING FROM THE BOOK OF WISDOM, CLICK HERE
FUNERAL MUSIC SUGGESTIONS
“Music is integral to the Funeral rites. It allows the community to express convictions and feelings that word alone may fail to convey. It has the power to console and uplift the mourners and to strengthen the unity of the assembly in faith and love. The texts of the songs chosen for a particular celebration should express the paschal mystery of the Lord’s suffering, death, and triumph over death and should be related to the readings from Scripture.”
Thus, while Funeral music may express “convictions and feelings,” its subject must always be the paschal mystery and it must be related to the readings from Scripture. Rather than adopting popular secular songs which are inappropriate to a liturgical setting, we should seek out good liturgical music on a paschal theme which can “support, console, and uplift participants and help to create in them a spirit of hope in Christ’s victory over death and in the Christian’s share in that victory.” (Order of Christian Funerals, number 31)
Above is a printable list of suggested music for funerals. It does not encompass the vast number of choices that are possible, but offers familiar and beloved music. The typical liturgy contains an Opening Song, a Responsorial Psalm (it is customary that the Responsorial Psalm be sung), a song at Preparation of Gifts, Communion and a Closing Song. Sometimes families also choose a Communion Meditation piece, but it is optional. The Opening Song and Communion Song should encourage the gathered assembly to sing. The Song at Preparation of Gifts may be sung by the assembly, or may be a vocal solo or instrumental piece. The Closing Song is most often sung by the assembly, but an instrumental piece can also be considered.
WORDS OF REMEMBRANCE (formerly Eulogy)
In a Catholic Funeral Mass, we turn our hearts to our Lord Jesus Christ, whose death and resurrection opened the way for us to be united with Him in our death and to rise with Him on the last day. The Funeral Mass proclaims this truth of eternal life to all who are present. It unites our prayers for the repose of the soul of the deceased and for the consolation of the bereaved in the Church’s most powerful act of prayer and worship.
While eulogies have never been a part of the Catholic liturgical tradition, sometimes the family may wish to say a few words about their loved one. Words of remembrance “provide an opportunity for the family to speak in loving remembrance of the deceased person’s characteristics which manifested their faith in God and how they attempted to live the Christian vocation to love God and neighbor as Christ taught us.”1 Only one family member or friend may offer words in the Church. Other family members or friends may speak at the Wake Service at the Funeral Home or at the cemetery.
The remarks should:
- be simple and brief (about 3 – 5 minutes)
- speak about the life of the deceased in relation to their Catholic faith
The remarks should not:
- include anything contrary to the Catholic faith
- include anything that is scandalous, offensive or inappropriate for a celebration of Christian faith and hope
1 Funeral Norms for the Diocese of Bridgeport, 2019
For more information, please click here to refer to the Diocese of Bridgeport’s Resource for Catholic Funerals: Words of Remembrance