San Antonio Catholic Church
24445 Rampart Blvd
Port Charlotte FL 33980





 We understand that the death of a loved one causes grief and sorrow and we want you to know that here at San Antonio we want to do all we can at this difficult time. Please be assured of our sincere condolences and also our prayer for the repose of the soul of your loved one and for the consolation of both family and friends.


The celebration of a funeral in the Catholic Church is a most important element in the grieving process reminding us through the readings and prayers of the Mass of the promises of Christ and the will of God that “It is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:40). This celebration falls into three parts.


  1. The Vigil or Wake

  2. The Funeral Mass or, on certain occasions, the Service

  3. the Committal


All three parts are important but many at San Antonio do not have the Vigil service which takes place during the Wake or Viewing of the Body. Detailed information on arranging a funeral will be found through this link. Arranging a Funeral. The Committal is also important in laying the person to rest. This is sometimes not understood by those who have cremated their loved one’s body. Out of respect for the cremains they should be buried or placed in a columbarium in their entirety. They must not be divided between members of the family or friends as mementos of the deceased nor should they be scattered. If a memento is desired a lock of hair taken before the person died and enclosed in a locket is a far more effective and appropriate remembrance.


A Memorial Mass is not a Funeral Mass. Such celebrations usually take place when the funeral and committal have taken place elsewhere and friends and/or family were unable to attend. A Memorial Mass is similar to a Funeral Mass but it is not the same and should not be confused with it.


We hope that you have found this introduction and also the detailed instructions helpful but urge you to contact us if you have any questions.


May God Bless you and console you at this sorrowful time.







The "Order of Christian Funerals" is the church document which outlines the funeral rites of the church as well as their meaning and purpose. The following quotes are from the Introductory Norms for Catholic Funerals.



"At the death of a Christian, whose life 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 does not end nor does it break the bonds forged in life...Christians celebrate funeral rites to offer worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God for the gift of life which has now been returned to God...The Church commends the dead to God's merciful love and pleads for the forgiveness of their sins...the celebration brings hope and consolation. "


"In planning and carrying out the funeral rites, the pastor and all other ministers should keep in mind the life of the deceased and the circumstances of death...the spiritual and psychological needs of the family...Christians respect and honor the bodies of the dead and the places where they rest..."

"In every celebration for the dead, the Church attaches great importance to the reading of the Word of God...they may not be replaced by non-biblical readings..." Similarly readings should only be chosen from those approved by the Church for use at funerals.

"A brief homily based on the readings should be given...but there must never be a eulogy...attentive to the grief of those present, the homilist should dwell on God's compassionate love..."

"The music at funerals should support, console, and uplift the participants...the texts chosen should express the paschal mystery of the lord's suffering, death, and triumph over death and should be related to the readings from organist, cantor, even a choir, should support the assembly's full participation in the singing..."

Only Christian symbols may rest on or be placed near the coffin during the funeral liturgy. Any other symbols, for example, national flags or flags or insignia of associations, have no place in the funeral liturgy..."

Under the specific rubrics of the "Final Commendation" within the funeral liturgy, one brief reference is made to the possibility of family members speaking at the funeral Mass: "A member or a friend of the family may speak in remembrance of the deceased before the final commendation begins."




The staff and members of San Antonio pray for you at this, your time of loss. It is our hope that by being with you at this time and assisting you in putting together the Funeral Liturgy for your loved one that we will help ease some of your sadness.

There are three types of Mass that are held at San Antonio that are associated with the Mass of Christian Burial. The first is the Mass of Christian Burial with the body present.  This is the preferred practice among   Catholics. The second is the Mass of Christian Burial with cremains present. While having the body present and cremation afterwards is the preferred practice for those who will be cremated because it is thought to be more helpful in the grieving process, if the cremains are present they are treated with the same dignity and care the body. The third is a Memorial Mass which is held when there is neither the body nor cremains present.  This Mass is usually celebrated when someone dies elsewhere and the funeral has taken place there.  The Memorial Mass is held here so that friends and community may come together to celebrate that person’s life. It is usually held within 30 days of the death.

If a funeral home is involved normally they will call us and give us the family member to contact.  We call the family and set up a time convenient for the family to meet either in the office or their home. At this time we take the vital information about the deceased.  We then assist the family in choosing the readings for the Mass. On other occasions, for example when the body has already been cremated, the family will contact us directly to make the arrangements

A Parish Minister will meet with the family to prepare the funeral Mass. The minister will explain the meaning and significance of a Catholic Funeral Mass from church teaching. A copy of these guidelines will be reviewed in detail and given to the family. The minister will help the family to choose texts for the liturgy from those approved by the Church. Other texts may not be used. The family will be invited to choose readings, provide readers and also gift bearers at the Offertory. If they do not wish to be involved the priest celebrating the funeral or the minister who met with the family will choose the readings

Outside Eastertime one Old Testament, Responsorial Psalm(usually sung), and a New Testament reading may be chosen. During Eastertime the Old Testament reading is replaced by certain New Testament ones.  If family members or friends do not wish to do the readings, parish readers will be provided.  Families are asked to choose the Prayers Of The Faithful. They will also be asked if they would like a cantor and/or an organist. Four songs are chosen for the Mass and a fifth song may be sung as a prelude. “Sacred music is an important part of the funeral rites (cf. Order of Christian Funerals, 30).” 

Eulogies are fittingly done at the Vigil service (Wake) the night prior to the funeral Mass, or at other family gatherings.          

Funeral Masses are celebrated at either 9:30 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. Tuesday – Friday and 11.00am Saturday (except holydays)

Floral arrangements are welcome. If desired, a picture of the deceased with memorial cards may be displayed in the gathering area.

 Recorded music or non-worship music may not be used within the funeral Mass. Appropriate recorded music can be used at the Vigil and at the cemetery.

Liturgical music appropriate to the liturgical season, and the funeral rite may be chosen. The role of organist, cantor and/or choir is to assist the congregation in singing the Mass.

Soloists have very limited possible roles within Catholic worship. Their role is to assist the congregation in its prayerful meditation on the mystery of salvation. An appropriate solo is possible during the presentation of the gifts and before or after the congregation’s communion hymn.

Ordinarily, trained and prepared liturgical ministers may exercise the role of cantor, lector, or Eucharistic Minister. Family members or friends who wish to read at the funeral Mass will meet with a parish minister before the Mass for a brief "training."

One family member or friend may speak briefly before the "Final Commendation" when invited by the presider. The brief words need to be prepared and approved beforehand. Spontaneous remarks and eulogies can be offered at the luncheon afterward. (see GUIDELINES below)

Non-religious symbols may not be displayed in church at the funeral Mass.

We do not label or title our funeral Mass as a "Celebration of the Life of..." That label is frequently used in our culture for the funerals of celebrities. But, every catholic funeral is a celebration of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus – Eucharistic celebration. The deceased is remembered as one who shared in Christ's life through baptism. We believe that God is faithful to us, and so we believe that the deceased lives in Christ forever.


You will be greeted at the church by one of the individuals involved in the bereavement ministry, usually the person who assisted you in the planning.

The family gathers in the narthex of the church.  If it is a funeral with the body present, the casket is brought in and placed in the back of the church. If it is a funeral with the cremains present, they are placed on the cloth covered table in the church. If requested the cremains may be carried in procession at the beginning of the Mass in the same way as the body of the deceased.

The priest and the altar server process to the place of the casket/cremains to greet the body/cremains and family.  The body/cremains is blessed with holy water and if the body is present the pall is placed on the casket.  This may be done by the family or by the funeral home.

The priest and the altar server begin to process down the aisle towards the altar, at this time the casket/urn follows, and the family follows after.  You will be seated on the left side of the aisle in the first few pews.

 Remain standing for the Opening Prayer and then be seated for the first reading to be proclaimed. This is followed by the responsorial psalm and the second reading.

If family or friends are doing the readings, the bereavement minister will signal them when it is time to read.  Normally a folder with the readings and prayers is provided to avoid confusion.

After the Gospel is proclaimed, the priest will deliver a homily.  Then the intercessions are read and the gifts are brought forward.  The bereavement minister will walk to the gift table and the gift bearers will join her.  She will hand them the gifts and, they in turn, will present them to the priest. They will then be seated.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist follows and then the Communion Rite.  Those present who are not going to receive communion are invited to come forward with their arms crossed over their chest for a blessing.

Following the final prayer and Commendation and Farewell the priest and altar server process down the aisle, followed by the casket/urn and the family.




Speaking in remembrance of the dead at the funeral Mass is not allowed at San Antonio. It is recommended that such reflections take place at the visitation, the committal or the reception after the funeral.




These should take place after the funeral mass and before the Committal but a twenty one gun salute is not allowed at San Antonio



Can we have a favorite non secular song played?

Music that is non-liturgical may not be played during the liturgy.  The time for this music is at the wake or other gatherings.


What are the costs involved?

The organist stipend is $100.00
The cantor stipend is $75.00
Funeral Co-Ordinator  $60.00
Use of the church  
Parishioners $300.00  
Non-parishioners $400.00  

Church fees include the attendance of a priest or deacon at the viewing, the Funeral Mass or service and local burial.      


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