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The Burial Service

Subsequent to a death, and prior to meeting with the funeral home, surviving family members and/or those responsible for making the funeral arrangements should contact the Church so that the parish priest (or in the absence of a priest, deacon or senior warden) may be present at that meeting. This is especially important if no prior planning or contact has been made with a funeral home. Your priest will help guide you toward making appropriate and reasonable decisions regarding the funeral home services.


Selection of a time for the service should be based on the needs of the family, the expectation or lack thereof of out-of-town mourners, and the availability of the Church. This should be done in consultation with the priest prior to establishing a day and time with the funeral home.


St. Paul’s uses The Book of Common Prayer for all services. The Holy Eucharist is customarily celebrated at funerals; however it is not required. The Prayer Book Service of The Burial of the Dead with Communion takes approximately forty-five minutes, depending upon the number of people receiving communion. A homily may or may not be preached.


The coffin or cremains may be already in place in the Church or may be a part of the opening procession. A coffin is always closed in the church and is covered with a pall. Cremains are covered with a smaller pall*. [* pall - a white hanging placed over the casket instead of flowers] *. In the case of a veteran of the Armed Forces, the American Flag may be used. Such arrangements may be made by the family prior to the service.

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