Funeral Preparation

The loss of a loved one is perhaps the most challenging time in our lives. We, the staff at St. Joseph Parish, offer our condolences on the loss of your loved one and want to accompany you during this time of sorrow. Our mission is to surround you with pastoral care during this time and assist you in planning and celebrating a meaningful, beautiful, and reverent liturgy.

If you have a loved one who has died, please call the Parish Office at 410.683.0600.

Once you have scheduled the funeral date and time with our Parish Office, the Director of Liturgy and Music, and/or the priest or deacon celebrating the funeral will contact you to arrange a meeting time at the parish. This meeting is a time to share about the life of the loved one, and select roles for those you would like to incorporate into the funeral liturgy as well as, scripture readings and music. We will provide you with a booklet containing special prayers and readings from which to choose.


You may have planned a time of at the funeral home or St. Joseph which can be done with or without the remains of your loved one. To provide ample time for the sharing of memories, the visitation is the most appropriate time to offer a eulogy or allow others to share their remembrances publicly. We provide a beautiful set of prayers for a Christian Wake that can also be offered at this time. If you wish for a clergy person from St. Joseph to be present and offer those prayers, we just ask that you make that known at the planning meeting.

Funeral Mass

Flowers or plants may be brought to the church sanctuary for the funeral, however, flowers are not allowed on top of the Altar of Sacrifice. If you wish to take your flowers after the funeral, please collect them immediately following the liturgy. Otherwise, you are welcome to leave them in the sanctuary as a memorial offering. Parish ministers will arrange them so as to enhance the beauty of the sanctuary.

Printed programs may be prepared by the funeral home for Mass as part of their services. St. Joseph does not print programs for funeral liturgies. At the request of the family, the Director of Liturgy and Music at St. Joseph will design a simple layout of the liturgy program and email it to a designated contact person who would be responsible for any further design and printing.

Altar Servers are provided by St. Joseph Parish for the funeral Mass. If, however, a family member is an active altar server, they are welcome to serve.

The Organist/Pianist for the funeral liturgy and the Cantor, who leads the congregational song and sings any solo music, are professional staff persons at St. Joseph. Guest musicians are welcome with the approval of the Director of Liturgy and Music.


The Mass begins with the procession of the ministers, family, and body of the deceased if it is present. A family member may carry cremains in procession, or the urn can be placed at the front of the church from the beginning.

It is best to offer a eulogy during the time of visitation and not during the Mass. If for some serious reason, a eulogy must be offered at Mass it takes place immediately after the procession. One eulogy of no more than five minutes may be offered.

Placing of the Pall

If the body with a casket is present, the family is then invited to place the pall over the casket as the priest blesses the body with holy water. The pall is a symbolic garment like the white baptismal garment received at baptism. It symbolizes Christ, the Paschal Mystery as the totality of life, from its beginning on earth to the hope of the resurrection on the last day. Likewise, the tall Paschal candle that is lighted at the front sanctuary stands as a symbol of the Light of Christ connecting to the candle received at baptism.

Readings and Prayers

You will be asked to choose four scripture passages (two readings, a psalm, and a gospel) from the printed resource used during the planning meeting as well as review the text for the Prayers of the Faithful. The reading and psalm choices recommended by the Catholic Church can be found online HERE.


Family members or friend may participate by reading:
• The First Reading
• The Second Reading
• The Prayers of the Faithful

The Cantor will lead the assembly in singing the Psalm and the Priest will proclaim the Gospel. If no lector is provided by the family, the parish will be happy to provide one.

Gift Bearers

Two or three gift-bearers may be chosen by the family to present the gifts of bread and wine during the offertory. It is, however, not required that you provide these ministers.


You are welcome to invite Eucharistic ministers to serve Holy Communion.  These must be active Eucharistic ministers in a Catholic parish.  However, it is not necessary to provide these ministers.


The burial of the body or cremains is arranged with the funeral home and St. Joseph Parish.  A priest, deacon, or seminarian will offer prayer at the graveside.

St. Joseph has a cemetery on its grounds with a limited number of spaces available. The Campbell Memorial Section offers grave spaces for full-size human burials. Each will be sold individually. The Lenaghan Memorial Cremation Section offers grave spaces for the burial of a single cremation. Each 3’x3′ grave space will be sold individually. Contact: Lane C. Tracey, (410) 472-4100 or (410) 771-4140. Sales of grave spaces are by appointment only with Mrs. Tracey.

Paver Program at St. Joseph

You may wish to honor loved ones, living or deceased with an engraved stone in the St. Joseph courtyard.  This can be arranged by contacting the parish office.


The family offers $350 to St. Joseph Parish for all our services, including organist/pianist and cantor. The funeral home collects that donation and sends it to the parish. A special parish donation or honorarium for the priest is welcome and may be given directly to the priest or parish office.