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Catholic Cemeteries: Living Eulogy


By Laura Schemmel, Outreach

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Hebrews 10:24-25

Living eulogies are gaining popularity as a chance to honor people while they’re still alive. Is this appropriate for a Catholic? Yes, because Catholic funerals typically do not allow eulogies during the Mass, only at the wake or reception. A living eulogy is something you can write for yourself.   It is also an appealing alternative to honor those you love while they are alive. It can be a powerful life affirming gift.

Writing your own eulogy can be cathartic. It is a reflection on your own life; the people who have impacted your life and those lives you have impacted.  Reviewing your life may also help you recognize how God has been present in your life journey.  Your eulogy can be shared with your loved ones by you before you die. Or, it can be shared by someone at your own funeral reception. It then becomes a part of your legacy. We cannot forget that our legacy has already begun. It is up to us to continually feed those traits in ourselves that we want to pass on to others in our words and actions.

Giving people living eulogies allows us to speak lavish, unashamed words of love and kindness, not about them after they are gone, but to them while we can. A living eulogy can be written for someone who might be nearing the end of their life or your feelings of love and gratitude you want to express to a loved one in a special way. The eulogy can include anything that you think would express your honest appreciation. It could be a traditional written format, a speech, song or poem. It could include a slide show or a photograph display. How would you like to present it? It can be done privately or at an event like an anniversary or birthday. If at a gathering, you could invite others to offer their stories. The most important thing is to share what you have written with the person it is about.

Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San José encourages you to pre-plan all parts of your funeral; purchasing of property and burial needs, planning the Vigil, Funeral Mass, Graveside Service, and reception. We have counselors available to assist you. We provide workshops to give you the tools to assist with planning.

On October 12, there will be hosting a workshop with Saint Nicholas and Saint William Parish on Celebrating a Life. This is a hands-on workshop that will help you in planning a funeral liturgy or Mass for yourself or a loved one.

For more information, contact us at (833) 677-9644 or ccoutreach@dsj.org  to inquire about our next event or contact a counselor.

Upcoming Workshops

Celebrating A Life – Planning A Funeral Liturgy
October 12,  10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Saint Nicholas Church – 473 Lincoln Ave, Los Altos
Presenter: Carol Thornton, Director of Liturgy and Pastoral Care
Learn the basic elements on planning a funeral or memorial Mass liturgy for yourself and your loved ones. We’ll consider scripture, song, and liturgical elements that celebrate the unique life of each person. A worship aid template and basic resource guides will be provided.

Anticipating the Holidays – Consolation of Grief
November 5, 1 – 3 p.m.
Church of the Transfiguration – 4325 Jarvis Ave., San José
Presenter: Father Christopher Bennett
Holidays often accentuate our sadness and grief. This interactive workshop offers hope and support to better navigate the holidays.
For more information or to schedule a free workshop in your parish, contact Catholic Cemeteries at (833) 677-9644 or ccoutreach@dsj.org.