This weekend, Bishop Ryan Jimenez and the Commission on Worship is publishing the new “Liturgical Guidelines for the Celebration of Christian Funerals in the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa”, with its implementation effective immediately.
The document is a fruit of more than three years of discussion and consultation among the clergy, members of the Commission on Worship and funeral home directors in the diocese. Its purpose is to have uniformity in liturgical practices during funerals in all the parishes according to the proper liturgical books of the Church with consideration to some of the local funeral practices.
Because of the strong family ties in our culture, funeral is always one of the important events in the islands. Losing someone you love is never easy and obviously it is during funeral liturgy, (including vigil, funeral Mass and burial) that families and friends would express their love and appreciation towards the deceased and at the same time sympathy to the family of the deceased. Over the years, (with good intention) many non-liturgical elements has been added to funeral celebrations which risked covering up the power and dignity of Christian Funeral Rite.
Bishop Ryan and the clergy have taken up this matter on many occasions during their monthly meeting to ensure uniformity in liturgical practices while maintaining a balance in following the Rite of Christian Funeral as prescribed by the Church and at the same time being sensitive to some local customs.
With the implementation of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan last year, the newly established Commission on Worship under Fr. Harold Funa has taken up the responsibility on drafting the document. During the clergy meeting last month, the final draft was commented, amended and approved by Bishop Ryan and the priests. Last Monday, the document was finally presented to the representatives of all funeral homes in Saipan.
The copy of the document will be published in the North Star and will also be uploaded to the diocesan web site.