Rorate Caeli

A Practical guide to having a Traditional Funeral Mass

In Penal Times, when the practice of the Catholic religion was prohibited by law in England, Catholics would sometimes bury their loved ones in consecrated ground (pre-Revolt churchyards) under cover of darkness. If nothing else, the darkness would provide a ready explanation for the use of candles...

Today it should be a little easier to make use of the ancient Catholic liturgy for funeral rites. Unless you live in a very favourable location, such as a parish run by one of the Traditional Priestly Institutes, you would nevertheless be well advised to ensure that your next of kin and executors know exactly what you want, and how to make it happen. Even if you do live in a Traditional Parish, you should think about making provision in your will for anniversary Requiems, and about things like musical options.

For everyone who is going to die one day--that is, for everyone without exception--the Latin Mass Society has put together information relating to the practicalities of organising a Traditional funeral, including things such as how long it is likely to take, how many singers and servers will be needed, and all the different options: Low Mass, Sung Mass with and without incense, High Mass, and additional ceremonies such as the reception of the body, the Office of the Dead, and the absolution of the catafalque.

This booklet should be helpful to people writing wills and other instructions, and it includes a 'fill-in-the-blanks' Letter of Wishes which can be used to make one's preferences clear.

It should be helpful to priests talking to the bereaved about what the options are, and especially to those to whom it has fallen to organise a funeral, perhaps in a parish they do not know, perhaps in conjunction with a parish priest who is not particularly knowledgeable about or friendly to the Vetus Ordo.

It is written using British English terminology ('High' for 'Solemn' Mass etc.), gives the current rates for Mass stipends in England and Wales, and the references to 'Powers of Attorney' and the like relate to English law. With these caveats the booklet is nevertheless, in all essentials, usable all over the world.

You can download the pdf for free here; you can order nicely printed copies for £2 each in the UK and £3 overseas, here. (For bulk orders please contact the LMS Office.)