Christians find rays of hope in the midst of their tears at the death of a loved one. The grief we feel can seem insurmountable, and we look for ways to express our love for the one who has died. A beautiful prayer of the funeral Mass says: "Life is changed, not ended. When the body lies in death we gain a dwelling place in heaven." At the Catholic funeral the community gather to say farewell to the person who has died and entrust that person to God's loving care. Again, as one of the prayers says: "May our farewell express our affection for him/her; may it ease our sadness and strengthen our hope."
Traditionally it is celebrated in the parish church, either celebrated within Mass with a Final Commendation before taking the deceased to burial or cremation. On other occasions it is a service in its own right, with the Liturgy of the Word and Final Commendation. A committal at the cemetery or service at the crematorium normally follows. These take place whenever it is appropriate for family and friends to gather.