From Mrs Ann Hopkinson
Sir, Living wills and advance directives seem to be a fashionable means of making known one's last wishes in the event of terminal illness. More importandy, practising Catholics should be making known their wishes concerning their funeral rites. It cannot automatically be assumed that the funeral of a Catholic will consist of a Requiem Mass.
The criteria regarding this could well depend on whether the family and friends of the deceased are practising or lapsed. The priest concerned may suggest that the funeral takes place at the parish morning Mass to ensure the presence of a worshipping community. The difficulty regarding this arises when the mourners consider this to be too early in the day. Many families are seeking other options and are being offered prayer services or graveside services as alternatives to a Requiem Mass. Some priests also deem it "inappropriate" to subject lapsed or non-Catholic people to Mass. Arrangements are being made to suit the requirements of those attending the funeral, regardless of the spiritual desires and aspirations of the deceased person.
The Catholic Church teaches that "it is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead." The perfect prayer for the dead is the Mass, which I have always
believed to be for the repose of the soul of the dead person. Faithful Catholics are being denied the benefit and dignity of a Requiem Mass at their funeral because those left to make the arrangements lack the necessary goodwill and commitment.
Yours faithfully, ANN HOPKINSON Blackley, Manchester.