According to Christian doctrine, a person would either go to paradise, hell, or purgatory after death, depending on their deeds and beliefs. If one is exemplary, they will go to paradise and be with the Lord, while sinners, depending on the severity of their misdeeds, will either attend purgatory to pay their punishment and repent, or they will go to hell.
The purpose of a Christian funeral service is to allow church officials to administer the proper religious procedures while also remembering and celebrating the life of the deceased via songs and prayers.
All religions go through a similar process, albeit Catholics and Protestants have notable differences. It is advisable to seek guidance from your spiritual leader if you are unsure. The vigil, the funeral ceremony and Rite of Committal, and the reception or wake make up the customary Christian funeral liturgy for both Protestants and Catholics.
The vigil for Christ
In Singapore, a medical expert must confirm the death in the house or hospital when a Christian passes away. If necessary, rituals are also performed on the deathbed by a pastor or priest.
The family may prepare and clean the body, or it may be taken to a funeral home by the cheapest funeral services for the vigil. The family will need to choose the funeral venue (often the house, church, or funeral home) and schedule a meeting with the clergyperson who may have saved the deceased’s preferences for songs and prayers.
Before the funeral ceremony, there will be a vigil when close relatives and friends will gather to honor the deceased via hymns, prayers, and remembrances. As people honor the lives of the deceased and their ascension to heaven, the atmosphere tends to be happier. The church or a funeral home like Memorial Funeral will help with the arrangements at this time, taking care of things like chairs and refreshments if necessary.
The casket arrives at the spot, and the funeral service starts. The funeral usually takes place on the third day. Family and friends are welcome to stop by at this time, which also marks the start of the actual Christian funeral ceremony.
The actual Christian funeral service:
Anyone may come to pay their respects to the deceased in their coffin throughout the funeral service, which can continue anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Protestants should expect the sessions to be packed with Psalm readings, hymn singing, and prayer songs that were either chosen by the deceased or their family. They might also contain tributes to the deceased.
Eulogies are often brief and postponed until the Rite of Committal immediately before the individual is buried or burned because Catholics place a high priority on rituals. Catholics may opt to have a funeral liturgy in place of a funeral Mass. When the mourners receive the corpse in the casket at this point rather than the former, there is prayer and holy communion. The corpse will be prepared at the location during the ritual, and there won’t be any holy communion.
During this time, religious leaders are free to preach as they see fit, and anybody is welcome to attend at any time. To depart only after a sermon, prayer, or song session is over is polite.
Although logistics are kept to a minimum, receiving presents like wreaths, especially if space is at a premium, may be made simpler with designated personnel overseeing the placing.
The family may choose to have the pastor or minister lead some prayers as the Rite of Committal is about to begin. They will then accompany the coffin to its last resting place, whether it be a crematorium or a graveyard.
Singapore has one cemetery, Choa Chu Kang Cemetery Complex, and one non-denominational cremation, Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium Complex. The final rites will then be performed there by the minister or priest, and it is at this point that Catholics permit a eulogy to be spoken before the body is buried or burned. The family will be present to pick up the urn in the case of cremation.
The wake or reception:
The family may have a reception or wake up after the funeral. Similar to the vigil, but less formal, this event is open to everyone who wants to offer their sympathies and appreciation to the deceased. Again, songs and prayers are frequently said, but there are also some small snacks served.
Avoid bright colors, with black and navy being the most popular choices suggested to visitors. Dress modestly, if possible. Giving the family gifts of food, flowers, or cards is acceptable.
Christians often observe 40 days of mourning, after which the family may decide to host a memorial service. This can be a private or an invitation-only event, with identical activities and refreshments as the wake. The entire Christian funeral liturgy is over at this point.