“The Vigil, the Funeral Liturgy and the Committal set us on a path to a true healing, wholeness and peace.”


Know Your Christian Burial Rights
Christian Burial Rites…. The Vigil for the Deceased (Wake), the Funeral Liturgy (Mass), and the Rite of Committal (Burial/Entombment) each have distinct purposes in the journey to healing. The Vigil, the Funeral Liturgy and the Committal set us on a path to healing, wholeness and peace. We don’t have to face it alone, our Church will be there for us, for that we are truly thankful. 

Vigil for the Deceased (Wake) 
The Vigil for the Deceased (Wake) is the first way that the Church captures the sentiments of those who are grieving and sets them in the context of our faith. A prayer service with readings selected from Scripture to fit the circumstances of the deceased, a homily that comforts and gives hope, and intercessions that speak to the faith of those gathered around the deceased, and prayers selected from the rich resources found in the Order of Christian Funerals can do a great deal to prepare people to enter into the Christian spirit of the Funeral Liturgy. 

The Vigil (Wake) is a time to laugh, cry, remember and pray. This is a time to rejoice in all that our loved one was and is. The Vigil can truly be a healing time for all those who are grieving; it is a time for family and friends to offer stories, reflections and eulogies on the life of the deceased. The Vigil (wake) is also a time to mourn the passing of the loved one, to share memories of his/her life, to accept the sympathy and support of the Christian community, and to pray that the deceased may have eternal life. 

Funeral Mass

The Funeral Liturgy (Mass) is our great "Thank You" to God who created us, died for us, and who is calling each of us back to Himself. In this step the focus shifts slightly from emphasis on the deceased to God’s saving works though Jesus Christ. The Mass, particularly at the time of death, is truly a special moment, a holy moment, a God-moment.

Celebrating the funeral liturgy at Mass in the parish church is the normal way in which most Catholics experience the Order of Christian Funerals. The Eucharist looks forward to our participation in the heavenly banquet, where we are united with Jesus, the saints, and all those who share eternal life. Jesus said, "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood shall live forever." (John 6:54) The Eucharist is truly the central point in a Catholic funeral. Its effectiveness is greatly enhanced when the family participates in appropriate ways: clothing the casket with the pall, selecting the Scripture readings, serving as lectors or extraordinary ministers, singing the responses and the hymns and, most especially, receiving Holy Communion. 

The funeral homily is of utmost importance in the funeral liturgy. A homily may only be delivered by a priest or a deacon, as liturgical homilies are part of the sacramental rite of the Eucharist. The homily speaks of the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection and gives the deeper meaning that is found in the experience of death and dying. The homily occurs within the context of a funeral Mass that is offered for the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of the soul of the faithful departed.

Rite of Committal (Burial/Entombment)

The last step important step during the time of the loss of a loved one is the Rite of Committal (Burial/Entombment) of the body or cremated remains of the deceased. The relationships, bonds and communion" we build with one another in faith are not broken by death. Resting in a holy place with our brothers and sisters is a profound statement of that belief.

The Rite of Committal is the final liturgy in the Order of Christian Funerals. Like the Vigil Service, the Rite of Committal makes use of Scripture, a few words of hope by the presider, intercessions and prayers.

A Catholic cemetery is a sacred place of honor and respect for those who have died. It is a memorial to all who are interred there. It is a sacred place where Catholics come to express their grief and hope in the resurrection for their loved ones who have preceded them in death. It is blessed ground, fitting for someone whose body was a temple of the Holy Spirit on earth and now awaits the resurrection from the dead.

To have a representative of the Church present at this final moment is a great source of consolation to those who will now have to continue their journey in life without their beloved. While a priest may be unable to preside at the Committal Service, a deacon or an appointed lay person may represent the Church at this final moment. 


Saint Joseph cemetery was established by Reverend Henry Plaster, Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Hammond. The date is thought to be about August 11, 1881. St Joseph Cemetery was located at the corner of 165th street and Hohman ave. Mr. John Verhoven donated one acre of land to be used as a cemetery. In 1886 an additional three acres was added to the cemetery.

St. Stanislaus Cemetery was developed by St. Stanislaus Church as a parish cemetery. The first burial was recorded in 1898. For many years there was no general maintenance provided. The ground became very unsightly and was referred to as a “sandbur patch.”

Ss Peter and Paul Parish can trace their history back 173 years when the first Mass was celebrated in a log cabin in Turkey Creek (Merrillville) 1841. The settlement of German immigrants occasionally had a visiting priest to say Mass for them.

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