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Guidelines for Funerals at the Chapel of Saint Anne's Shrine

Baptized Catholics are entitled to a Christian Burial from the parish church of their choice, and funerals are permitted in the Shrine Chapel. Those wishing to be buried from the Chapel must meet the following requirements:

1. A Catholic funeral is usually celebrated in the parish of the deceased. For pastoral reasons in light of someone's connection to Saint Anne's Shrine as an employee, pilgrim or benefactor, a funeral for a baptized Catholic is permitted by exception.

2. Requests for funerals at Saint Anne's Shrine are to be made either by phone (802.654.2476) or in writing via email to the Spiritual Director, Fr. Brian Cummings, S.S.E. at

3. Permission from the deceased's local pastor to the Spiritual Director is required for the funeral to take place at the Shrine.

4. Funerals may not be celebrated on a Sunday or Holy Days of Obligation or prior to the Shrine opening (Memorial Day weekend) or after the pilgrimage season closes in mid-October.

5. Representatives from the immediate family of the deceased should meet with the Spiritual Director or the priest celebrating the Funeral Mass to select the scriptural readings of the Mass and usually at the same meeting with the Director of Liturgical Music to select appropriate music for the celebration.

6. Individuals selected to proclaim the scripture readings and recite the Prayer of the Faithful are to be baptized Catholics.

7. Music in the Funeral Rite allows the community to express convictions and feeling that words alone may fail to convey. It has the power to console and uplift the mourners and to strengthen the unity of the assembly in faith and love. The texts of the hymns chosen should express the paschal mystery of the Lord's suffering, death, and triumph over death and should be related to the Readings from Scripture. The texts should help to create in the people present a spirit of hope in sharing in the victory won in the Resurrection of the Lord. The sacred music itself should be appropriate to the solemnity of the occasion. Other sacred music is admissible, such as the Ave Maria, especially when the deceased or survivors have a particular devotion to the Blessed Mother. Seasonal hymns are also appropriate. A hymn with a Eucharistic theme is appropriate at Communion time.

8. Secular songs, even those that were the favorite of the deceased, are not permitted during the Funeral Rite, nor are national or ethnic songs. They have a proper place at the funeral home after the Vigil Service, or at a family celebration following the burial.

9. Music selected for the funeral must meet the Guidelines Concerning Music for Christian Burial in Addendum 3 and 4 of the Sacramental Guidelines of the Diocese of Burlington.

10. A eulogy is not normally given at a Funeral Mass but is permitted upon request to the Spiritual Director. If there is a eulogy, it is given at the beginning of the Funeral Mass after the Processional Hymn before the Opening Prayer.

11. A funeral homily should give us insight into the mystery of Our Lord's Passion, Death and Resurrection and how we participate in this mystery during this life and after our own death. A eulogy speaks more generally of the life of the deceased, and belongs more properly to a setting other than the Mass, such as after the Vigil Service. If there is a eulogy at the Funeral Mass, there are some diocesan guidelines which come into effect:

        Only one person may speak.

        The eulogy may last no longer than five minutes.

        The eulogy must be written out beforehand and be reviewed by the celebrant of the Mass.

        The talk should concentrate on the Christian virtues of the deceased.

The reasons for these Diocesan regulations are simple. Having too many speakers changes the focus from the Word of God in the Scripture Readings to the words of others; a eulogy should not last longer than the homily; sometimes emotions prevent a speaker from remembering his or her words; the words shared should not be merely a biography, or worse, a "roast", but a witness to the faith of the deceased.

12. Flowers may be brought from the funeral home or sent directly to the Shrine chapel for the Funeral Mass. They will be placed discreetly so as not to obscure the altar, pulpit, tabernacle nor block passage for the ministers in the sanctuary.

13. A fee of $75 (Diocesan Policy) is given to the Shrine. (Visiting clergy are given $25 stipend, $50 to the Shrine).

14. Any questions please contact Fr. Brian Cummings, S.S.E., Spiritual Director at 802.654.2476 or at Thank you.

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