artphoto by splunge
artphoto by TheophileEscargot
artphoto by Kronos_to_Earth
artphoto by ethylene





Mecha Wiki

Metachat Eye


IRC Channels



Comment Feed:


13 July 2014

Condolence call/wake? [More:]
My friend's mom just passed away. They are Catholic. The obituary gives visitation hours at the funeral home and says when the funeral will be. I am not going to the funeral itself in a few days but I plan to stop by during the posted visitation hours tomorrow night to see my friend.

Should I stop at a church first and buy a Mass card? Should it be from their church or is any Catholic church acceptable? If so do I give it to them there? Should I bring flowers to the funeral home? I don't think we're close enough to warrant sending an arrangement, but I'm not sure if it's OK to show up empty-handed. I could stop and pick up flowers I guess, and put them in a vase but that feels weird. This is a friend I am very fond of but I never met her mother; we're friends through our kids who attend the same school.

I know what to say and do once I'm there but would like advice on whether I should bring anything. Thanks!
You don't have to bring anything, but I think it would be better to have a florist deliver flowers to the funeral home instead of bringing them yourself.

I've seen prayer cards printed especially for the person who died, but I think the family or church are the ones who handle this.
posted by brujita 13 July | 15:22
I think a Mass card is a nice idea. Any Catholic church will do, although if you know which is theirs, it might make it seem more personal.

You go to the church office and give the name of the person for whom you wish the Mass to be offered and tell them whether the person is living or deceased. The secretary puts the name on the calendar for Masses. You will be expected to make an offering for the card - not sure how much, but probably no more than $20 - and the secretary completes the card (sometimes with the date of the Mass, but not always) and gives it to you to take to the funeral home.
posted by Senyar 13 July | 15:25
Alternatively, you could plant a tree in memory of your friend's mother.
posted by Senyar 13 July | 15:36
The Mass Card is a really nice idea - but don't feel like you have to do that, as that's something they'll expect their congregation and other Catholics to do but would probably not expect from others. But it's nice. At the same time, just your presence speaks volumes. Bringing a condolence card with you is usual, and there will be a table where you can leave cards. If you want to send flowers, send them through a florist rather than bringing them - the funeral director takes delivery and arranges them at the wake. You're just expected to arrive, perhaps have some wine or snacks in the reception room, see your friend and offer hugs and chat, pay your respects to the deceased (this can mean just standing a moment before the casket - you don't need to pray or genuflect and in fact if you're not Catholic that would seem odd to people) and just add to the number of people and the chatter in the room. There will likely be prayer cards in memory of the deceased - with her name and a favorite prayer (or one the family chose) you can take one with you, if you like. And there will usually be a guest book for you to sign.

I come from an Irish Catholic family that has always done wakes. I know they're weird for people from other traditions, but they're enormously comforting in that they are, essentially, a social event that helps the living start transitioning to life without the person who has died, through talking and a reminder of their many supportive social connections, and a chance to recall shared memories of the person who has died. Main thing is just to show up. I'm sorry to hear of your friend's loss and she'll certainly appreciate anything you do.
posted by Miko 13 July | 21:38
Any funeral home I have been to offered mass cards at the visitation.
posted by arse_hat 14 July | 02:00
Thanks so much for the advice and thoughts. It's all really helpful. It's pretty much the same as what Jewish people do, except it's at a funeral home and not in someone's house. And there's no body there. Again, I appreciate the help!
posted by Kangaroo 14 July | 05:43
There's no body there? We usually did have the body there. Though usually there's a little anteroom or chapel where the body is, and then other rooms for people to gather and talk.

posted by Miko 14 July | 08:43
The star poet's father just had her picture at the memorial he arranged; he later had her cremated. Her coworkers sent flowers.

The service for the woman who was like a mother to me was first conducted by a rabbi at the funeral home in her hometown, then at the cemetery. She had been cremated, but the urn wasn't at the first part. Her family had a collage of pictures set up in the funeral home and provided brochures with her name and the kaddish. Her ashes were brought to the cemetery and put into a plot with those of her second husband.
posted by brujita 14 July | 12:53
I am not sure who "the star poet" is and whether they're Catholic, but that's beside the point. I mean that while I'm aware of the existence of cremation and the many flavors of memorial service that can be associated with it, it is rare among Catholics (especially older ones) because of a tenet only recently softened involving bodily resurrection. Though it's likely becoming more common.
posted by Miko 14 July | 17:09
She was in my year at IA and killed herself almost two years ago. I posted about it on mecha at the time.

Her father arranged a memorial at a NY funeral home, then brought her ashes back to the bay area and with the rest of her family scattered them privately. I organized a memorial a few months later at Poets House for her writer friends.

She was raised Catholic, but I don't know how religious her living family members are.
posted by brujita 14 July | 18:57
A ha. My best guess was Maya Angelou.

yeah, even though the Catholic Church is now a little bit OK with cremation, they are not OK with scattering which destroys bodily integrity. So I am guessing she (or her family) were not observant Catholics.
posted by Miko 14 July | 22:51
Online fax services? || HAPPY BIRTHDAY PIPS!!!!!!