Saturday, June 18, 2016

Funeral Talk

How to deliver an effective eulogy at a Catholic Funeral Mass in ten easy steps:

1. Don't do it!
2. Seriously, don't do it!
3. Please... don't do it!
4. Just... don't!
5. Step away from the podium!
6. Rip up your prepared speech!
7. Stay in your seat and let Father finish Mass!
8. Dang it!  Don't do it!
9. No! No! No!

Probably the biggest abuse to ever happen at a mainstream "Church of Nice" funeral Mass.  Thankfully, the parish at which I am employed does not allow them - strictly forbidden!  Same with my former job as music director at the iPadre's parish - no go!

I insisted that there was to be no eulogy at my mother's funeral.  I know the normal musical taste at her parish is mainly contemporary (none of that was played either, as I was the organist and cantor for this).  I don't know what that parish's policy on eulogies is, but I insisted when my brother asked me to play: NO EULOGY!

It's gut-wrenching, however to see how many parishes allow this abomination.  Many times, it's like hearing a "second homily" after Communion --- or two, or three.  I've experienced this crap first hand.  I'm sure many other organists with the same number of rocks in their heads as I do have experienced the same.

I played a funeral at one certain roundhouse church over a decade ago that had about a half hour added to it just by adding THREE eulogies, one right after the other.  The first two, fifteen minutes each, the third, only about three minutes.

Then there was the one I played in a now-closed church in Providence where all went well until I started to intone the In Paradisum on the organ for the recessional.  The undertaker scrambled out to the altar: WAIT! YOU FORGOT THE EULOGY!  Since when is a eulogy required at Holy Mass?  It's actually prohibited.  The priest, in his homily, will often reflect on the deceased's prayer life, say some words of comfort to family and friends, pray for the soul (as we Catholics are in the business of saving souls from destruction), relate Scripture of the day to our lives, etc.  We don't need a lay person to do this again after Communion for another 10-15 minutes.  We don't need to hear about how many drinks the deceased says you had last night, or how he spent 20 years in a circus training wild fleas.  Save that for after the burial, when all the prayers are done.  Or maybe you should have blurbed about Uncle Gustav's love of serenading his pet iguana at 3 AM while on the phone with Jake from State Farm for the wake the night before.

Oh!  And let's not forget Ted Kennedy's funeral Mass, where there were multiple eulogies, including one by our (thank God) soon-to-be-outgoing poor excuse for a President of the United States, Barack Saddam Hussein Obama Bin Laden.  Why the hell was someone who is not Catholic (in Obama's case, blatantly ANTI-Catholic) giving a eulogy at a Catholic Funeral mass?  I don't care if he's President or not!  He had NO business on that pulpit!

You want to deliver a good eulogy?  Don't do it at Mass.  That's a start.  Save that for secular moments.

Quod scripsi, scripsi!

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