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Saint of the Day: Sts Cornelius and Cyprian

“Many Travelers, One Journey”: Archdiocese of Newark’s Video on Catholic Funerals

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 01/28/16

This is an interesting effort from the Archdiocese of Newark, posted recently on YouTube: a six-minute video that gives some explanation and catechesis regarding the Order of Christian Funerals.

Take a look:

Unfortunately, as laudable as this effort may be, I think this was a missed opportunity. The production values are good (though, frankly, scripted and stagey) and the subject is sensitively handled, but I don’t think it adds much to what most lay Catholics probably already know about the funeral ritual. And it’s unclear what the purpose or intended audience for this video might be. Someone planning a funeral? RCIA? Funeral directors? It raises more questions than it answers.

Left unaddressed, for example: why this is a moment to pray for the dead, not celebrate them; why it’s inappropriate to canonize the departed during the funeral; why we don’t have eulogies during the funeral; why we shouldn’t think of the deceased as “another angel in heaven”; why priests sometimes wear black for funerals; what the Church teaches about “cremains”; and who may or may not receive a Catholic funeral.  These are things many people in the pews don’t understand, and some clarity here would have been welcome and helpful.   (The concept is a bit muddled, too; after viewing a casket, we suddenly see for the first time an urn, which is a distraction crying out for explanation—or continuity in need of consistency.)

As it stands, this is a thoughtful meditation on how we bury our dead, and why. But a little more thought, and information, would have added a lot more value and had greater impact.

Photo: Wikipedia

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