“Christians celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God for the gift of life which has now been returned to God, the author of life and hope of the just. The Mass, the memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection, is the principal celebration of the Christian funeral” (OCF, 5).
The celebration of the Funeral Mass is highly encouraged for every deceased Catholic. The celebration of the Eucharist is not possible if a priest is unavailable, or if the Funeral occurs between Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday or on a Sunday or on a Holy Day of Obligation. In these cases a Mass is scheduled at another, convenient time (OCF, 296). If, due to extraordinary circumstances, families do not wish to have a Mass, they should consult with the parish priest before making arrangements with a funeral director (see OCF, 349). If there is serious reason not to celebrate the Mass, The Order of Christian Funerals states that the service without a Mass is “ordinarily” to be celebrated in the parish church (OCF, 350).