Wednesday, June 27, 2012
WHAT COLOR YOUR FUNERAL, I MEAN, REQUIEM?
At another blog, whose name will go unmentioned, a controversy was begun when it was reported that a certain bishop of a certain Wisconsin diocese had mandated that from here on out violet or black vestments must be used for funerals, I mean, Requiems.
It turns out that it was hysterical reporting based upon eye-witness rumors. Sadly, it wasn't true, but it made for some good hysterical comments showing the adolescent attitudes toward authority which seem to grip so many who are nostalgic for the 1970's.
But what if it were true? Or better yet, what if a certain pastor in a certain small southern city in a certain diocese where a certain novel, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"which was set in the diocese's namesake, and said pastor who has an eccentric, eclectic blog allowed for options for funerals, I mean, Requiems, such as what is listed in the "rubrics" for the appropriate liturgical color, violet, white or black? What would you choose?
We all know that in our American culture there is denial of the grief that death brings about, denial about judgment, denial about purgatory and outright denial about hell. There is also a denial about the goodness of the body, now tattooed and pierced to the nth degree and not in the most visible places either. Bodies are cremated and the ashes are lucky to be given a Christian interment. Usually these are left with the funeral director to dump, or placed in a closet or put in a weird urn and kept in odd places. And to make matters worse, the Church is now enabling this contempt for the body.
I've had parishioners who are "bereaved" tell me that they want happy, peppy,uplifting music at the loved one's funeral, I mean, Requiem. Sing me no dirge!
What we (I) have done at St. Joseph Church is to narrow the choices for adjunct hymns, required that the official Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons be sung.
At the Final Commendation, there are only three official chants as music selections and these are all the official chants that are in the funeral, I mean, Requiem ritual.
The recessional must be "May the Angels Lead you into paradise..." either in Latin or a contemporary English version. (The contemporary English version is the big hit and no one asks for a substitute hymn anymore.)
I encourage that any eulogies by laity be given at the Vigil for the Deceased at the funeral home and once the Vigil Prayer Service is concluded. If a family insists, though, I will only allow one person to offer a eulogy at the Requiem and that person must be a believing,practicing Catholic.
And we now give the bereaved the choice of which liturgical color will be used and place it on the form they fill out for their readings and adjunct music selections, and ask them to circle one, violet, white or black.
What choice would you pick for your loved one and why?