Prayer and Worship Office
Order of Christian Funerals
Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany
Guidelines for the Reflection on the Life of the Deceased

To the Family Member or Friend who will be giving a reflection on the life of the deceased:

Please accept the condolences and prayers of the people of the Diocese of Albany as you mark the passing from this life to the next of someone with whom you have been close as you mourn their absence.
The family has entrusted you with a sacred task in asking you to speak on their behalf
These guidelines are offered to assist you in your preparation and the delivery of your remarks.

  • The purpose of the reflection is to draw attention to the deceased as his or her life bore witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • A question for you to consider is how did he or she most resemble Christ
    1.  in their relationship with others,
    2.  their perspective on right and wrong,
    3.  their suffering,
    4.  their faith in our Heavenly Father's concern for all people?
  • Christians believe that in death life is changed, not ended. Wherever possible consider not only the past and significant events in the person's life but also look forward to the time when all the faithful will be together again.
  • A story or example is a helpful means to illustrate a point.
  • Only one person may speak at a funeral Mass. This may be done following the Prayer after Communion or before the funeral liturgy begins. Reflections on the life of the deceased may also be given at the Vigil for the Deceased (wake service)
    and / or the committal. More than one person may speak at these times.
  • Your remarks are limited to no more than two to three minutes in duration.
  • It is appropriate and recommended that you review beforehand what you intend to say with the priest or pastoral minister who is assisting the family in preparing for the funeral liturgy. Additionally, the diocesan Office of Prayer and Worship is also available to help you, if needed, at (518) 453-6645
  • Rehearsing your remarks aloud will help you to prepare and feel more self-assured when speaking during the funeral service.
  • At no time is it acceptable to use coarse or profane language or to engage in actions that would not ordinarily take place during a sacred ritual.

Approved by Howard J. Hubbard, DD, Bishop of Albany, January 31, 2006