Funeral Ministry

Published on May 18, 2024

The Christian community since the earliest times has accompanied bereaved people by providing a ritual framework within which a funeral takes place.

These rites are acts of public worship at which a number of elements are involved: God is praised; the Resurrection of Jesus is proclaimed conveying the hope of being gathered together again in God’s kingdom; prayers are offered for the soul of the deceased person, their body is honoured and the bereaved are consoled.

Through these rituals, which express our faith in the Resurrection of Jesus, space is offered to the bereaved family to express grief and sorrow. They also provide an opportunity to celebrate the life and memory of the deceased person.

With changing circumstances in Church we need to look at how funerals are organised and celebrated.

We need to take into account the changing reality of Irish society today, including the ageing population and ever increasing decline in the number of priests.

We must  look to the immediate future when lay people will be more centrally involved in carrying out this ministry in parishes. We must also acknowledge the relative distance of many people from parish life and religious practice in recent times.


With this in mind it is proposed to move ahead with the appointment of a number of lay ministers who will assist the priest at funerals, initially with the prayers for the removal of remains from a funeral home or the home of the deceased and with the prayers for the reception of the deceased into the church.

In the event of a priest not being available these ministers could lead these prayers on behalf of the community.

The first three members of this important ministry, Helen Fahy, Mary O Malley, and Elaine Duffy have agreed to take on this responsibility. To start one of them will, when possible, accompany the priest in leading the prayers at the removal of remains. It is hoped that others will join with them in the near future.

The diocese is also planning to run a training course for this ministry.


adapted from Dublin Diocese