Our Funeral Ministry was started when it became apparent, we would not always have a parish priest. A group underwent training with Sr Anne and many are still involved. Wiesia Owen is one of the group’s newest members. When asked about the activities of the group she thought they were all very practical hands-on roles. They meet a family at a difficult time and are able to help with the caring hands and hearts of Jesus.

Wiesia explains:

After notification of a death, a member of the Funeral Ministry contacts the family to arrange a meeting to plan the Order of Service for the Funeral Mass or Liturgy. Two team members meet with the family. A day and time is scheduled for the funeral, after consulting with a Priest and the nominated Funeral Director. Information about the deceased are recorded for the Register of Deaths and the Funeral Booklet.

The family are guided with choosing suitable scripture readings, prayers and hymns. Family members and friends are allocated tasks to carry out during the service eg placing Christian Symbols on the coffin and the readings. This information is also used to compile the Funeral Booklet.

Funeral Team members are emailed to advise of the Funeral and are asked their availability for assistance for the Mass or Liturgy. Two other separate teams of Door Wardens and Church Sanitisers are emailed to ask for their assistance at the Church due to COVID. Emails are also sent to the School, OOSH and parish groups with information of date and time of the Funeral. This is to inform all, that the Church is being used, and that enough car spaces are made available for people attending the funeral.

On the day of the funeral, the Team prepare the Church by putting in place the items used during a Funeral Mass or Liturgy. These include the casket pall, holy water vessel, crucifix and Bible. The thurible (for incensing) is prepared for the Funeral Directors to light. The Team also makes the usual Mass preparations.

The Team greets the mourners and answers any questions. A member speaks to those assigned to tasks during the Mass, and point out where things are placed and where to stand during the readings.

As Funerals are held on random days, and our team is small in number, there are times when members are unable to assist as they have previous engagements. To continue this Ministry in our Parish, we need to build up our numbers so there are always members available to assist in this important Ministry.

As a member of St Joseph’s community, I feel it is important to be able to support and guide families during this delicate time and show our compassion and understanding of what they are experiencing. During this time there are decisions to be made, and we aim to make this as easy as possible for them. We encourage the family to contact us during the lead up to the Funeral with any requests and queries.

If you would like to learn more or join our Team, please contact Wiesia Owen.