Planning a Funeral at St. Thomas More


This web page contains some resources for making funeral arrangements for a loved one. Some people also choose to pre-plan their own funerals so that their wishes are known.


If you have had a death in your family and need to reach someone to make arrangements, please call the church at 919-942-1040. Off hours, please call the rectory at 919-240-4095 or the priest residence at 919-240-4705.   Please also contact a local funeral home.



“In the face of death, the Church confidently proclaims that God has created each person for eternal life and that Jesus, the Son of God, by his death and resurrection, has broken the chains of sin and death that bound humanity.” Vatican Council II, Scarosanctum Concilium, 5.



The principal liturgies in the Order of Christian Funerals are the (1) Vigil for the Deceased, (2) the Funeral Mass or Funeral Liturgy Outside Mass, and (3) the Rite of Committal.


·         Vigil –A priest, deacon, or a qualified lay minister may preside at the Vigil service. This is an appropriate time for family and friends to share memories of the deceased.

·         Funeral Mass or Funeral Liturgy Outside Mass –The Church will supply a presider (priest/deacon), cantor, organist and a funeral program.  Here are some things you may want to consider:

o    Scripture Readings – You may choose three readings (plus a Psalm which is part of the music selection). If you prefer hard copy, the parish library has a copy of Through Death to Life by Joseph M. Champlin. 

o    Music – The Church will provide a cantor, an organist, and guidance for musical selections.

                Psalm 23 - The Lord is my Shepherd

                Psalm 27 The Lord is my Light

                Psalm 63 My soul is thirsting for you

                Psalm 103 The Lord is Kind

                Psalm 116 I will walk before the Lord

o    Reflection – A family member or friend may offer a brief reflection during the funeral service (3-4 minutes). (The preferred time for family and friends to share memories of the deceased is at the Vigil.)

o    Program – We will provide a funeral program.

o    Family involvement - Some opportunities for friends/family to be involved in the liturgy are: readers (2 people), a reflection (1 person), pallbearers (2-6 people), extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, and the presentation of the gifts (2+ people). The church can supply people for these roles if requested.

o    Reception – There is a funeral reception ministry called Loaves and Fishes. Finger foods and refreshments are provided, and it is a nice opportunity for you to greet friends without the stress of hosting at your home. There is no charge for this service. If you would like to request a reception, please let us know about how many people may be in attendance.

·         Rite of Committal – This is a very short rite, about 5 minutes long. The presider may be a priest, deacon, or a qualified lay minister. The Rite takes place graveside or in the columbarium.


Donations: There is no charge for the funeral mass. Often families ask if they can make a contribution to the church. Since the organist and cantor are paid $100 each, most families assume this cost by writing checks made out directly to those individuals. In our experience families generally make additional gifts to others involved in the funeral (priest, pastoral associate, deacon, funeral reception committee, etc.) in the range of $100.00-$150.00 each. Should you desire to do so, checks should be made out to the individual. Should you desire to give a gift to the church, the check can be made out to St. Thomas More. Again, note that there is no charge to celebrate a funeral liturgy at St. Thomas More. This information is simply provided as we are often asked by families what might be appropriate.


If you have any questions about funeral planning, please contact the Pastoral Associate Mary Ellen McGuire at (919) 942-6230 or