Three weddings and a whole lot of funerals

I've worked in parishes. For the most part, I enjoyed the work. I will tell you this: most people think that working in a church is quiet and peaceful and meditative and calm.

Not so much.

Weddings and funerals - as I'm sure most of you know - bring out the best and worst in people. For those working at a Catholic church, well...it's a whole bag of Skittles with a dash of crazy thrown in.

Brides want to know why they can't walk down the aisle to their favorite Broadway tune. Brides and grooms are upset to find out they can't write their own vows. And ever since that Irish priest burst out in song at a nuptial Mass...

And then there are funerals.

Actually, I loved planning funerals with families. It truly was an honor to be with them in their grief and sorrow, and to be able to offer prayer with them and support to them. But sometimes, people get a little bonkers.

I started thinking about this because of the news story about a church (not Catholic) in Denver that wouldn't show a video at a woman's funeral because she was a lesbian and the video showed her kissing her partner. Now, this was stupendously poor planning on the church's part: really, this didn't come up until folks were seated in the church and the funeral was literally minutes away??

My mom and dad went to a funeral (yes...sigh...in a Catholic church) where the closing "hymn" was "Goodnight Irene" because the decedent's name was Irene and it was "her" song.

I had to gently explain to a family that they couldn't play "Somewhere, Over the Rainbow" at a family member's funeral. I still don't think they are over it.

No, you can't have a eulogy.

Sorry, you can't read a poem during the Mass.

No, you can't use a CD of favorite music instead of having the organist play hymns.

It's hard to work with people when they are grieving, and you have to tell them "no." And yes, there is an enormous amount of ignorance about Catholic liturgy.

The next time you are tempted to think that your local parish staff has an easy job, sitting in church gazing at the crucifix in meditation all day long, remember that they are really busy fending off brides who want to bounce down the aisle to Beyonce's "Put A Ring On It" and a grieving family who wants to send off Dad in high style with "Oh, Danny Boy."

1 comment:

  1. I've always been of the opinion that you should choose a different place to have a funeral if you don't agree with how things are run in a parish. A lot of confusion and frustration can be avoided if you simply do a little research on all of your options. You don't want to have a ceremony that isn't exactly what you want. That may mean that you should not hold it at a church. http://www.losangelescasketcompany.com/

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