| Procedure for the Burial of a Deacon |
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Procedure for Burial of a Deacon
At the outset, it is most important that the following guidelines be taken as suggestions to assist the family upon the death of the Deacon. It is not the wish of the Diaconate Council to do anything, which is contrary to the wishes of the family of the deceased. Family wishes will always have the highest priority in any arrangements. The guidelines below are offered to assist the appropriate individuals with steps to be taken in order that the Church of Atlanta may respect the memory of one of its good servants.
On the death of a deacon, the entire diaconal community should be notified through the communications systems established for that purpose.
The family (or if need be the local pastor) is asked to notify the regional coordinator of the Bereavement and Hospitality Committee of the council Deacon’s (here after will be referred to as the regional coordinator) who will then notify the appropriate person to activate the calling post messaging system. The regional coordinator will also notify the Director of the Permanent Diaconate, who in turn will notify the Archbishop and the Georgia bulletin.
A permanent deacon is an ordained minister of the church. The family, in consultation with the regional coordinator, should make funeral arrangement. The wishes of the widow/family take precedence, given approved liturgical norms.
Wake services can be planned with the local pastor with additional assistance from the Bereavement and Hospitality Committee of the Deacon’s Council. It is most fitting for deacons to be invited to participate in the services, observing the appropriate liturgical norms.
Because of the numbers of deacons/ priests who may attend a funeral liturgy, it is suggested that prior thought by the parish staff be given to the arrangements for the procession of clergy, reception of communion and other details, to the celebration involving large numbers of clergy.
It is most appropriate for the family to indicate a deacon whom they wish to serve as the Deacon of the Mass for Christian burial. This deacon should work closely with the pastor in planning the liturgy, being particularly mindful to keep the regional coordinator informed of any special-needs exist which they could facilitate.
It will be the responsibility of the Director of the Permanent Diaconate to arrange for the presence of the Ordinary, or in his absence his designated representative. As soon as firm arrangements are made for the general liturgy those details should be communicated to the Permanent Diaconate office or the Vicar General of the Archdiocese.
The wake is normally held in a funeral home. If desired and with the approval of the Pastor the body may lie in state at the Parish of assignment the evening prior to the funeral liturgy. Specific visiting hours comparable to those at the funeral home are suggested.
The body of a deceased deacon should be clothed according to the wishes of the family the family. The family may choose liturgical vestments for this clothing. If lay clothes are chosen, a symbol of the actual office [e.g.: Stole, book of Gospels, etc.] may be placed near or on the bier.
CELEBRATION OF THE FUNERAL LITURGY
In planning the funeral liturgy the family will want to consult the Celebrants and Parish staff. The regional coordinator will serve, as a resource to the Celebrants should he so desire. Options for an evening funeral with burial the following morning may be used.
When a deacon’s body is brought into the church it should be so arranged that his head rest nearest the altar with his feet towards the congregation. This is the appropriate position for one who has been ordained.
It is appropriate that the family choose the Deacon of the Gospels and/or Eucharist.
The pastor and the family should agree upon the homilist of the liturgy before an invitation is extended to preach. It is appropriate that a deacon preach. The homilies should not be a eulogy as such, but should conform to the liturgical norms, which stress the death/Resurrection theme of a Christian burial. Care should be taken that only appropriate liturgical music is chosen.
The liturgy of Christian burial should reflect that it is being celebrated for a permanent deacon who, if married has a duel vocation of Christian marriage and holy orders.
Deacons who attend are invited to vest and assemble as a body for the procession. They should be seated as a body and appropriate place in the congregation so that they can kneel for the Eucharistic prayer.
Should the burial service be separated from the funeral liturgy, deacons are also invited to vest of the burial service.
It is customary for the attending bishop to conduct the prayers of Final Commendation the end of the Funeral Mass.
SERVICE AT THE GRAVE
The family, relatives and invited guests always have precedence. The grave site service may be led by a deacon depending, of course on the wishes of the family area the appropriate ritual is to be used.
DEATH OF THE SPOUSE OR WIDOW OF A DEACON
The death of a deacon’s wife or widow is also of great concern to the Deacon Community. The regional coordinator will provide any assistance the family may desire in planning the liturgy, providing help in notifying the Deacon Community of the archdiocese and advising the ordinary of the deacon’s loss.
Unless the family would desire otherwise, it is most appropriate for the deacons to vest and sit as a body at the funeral liturgy of the deacon’s wife.
In all of the suggestions above, the guiding concern will be the wishes of the deacon’s family. It would be a great help to the family if the deacon takes time to explain the suggestions above with the family and to indicate those areas where the family needs to make decisions. It is hoped that each deacon has given thought to the fact of that, both by providing a will for his family and any desires he has concerning his funeral. This is particularly important, as a family is responsible for any costs arising from the funeral.
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