Magazine article Pastoral Music

Light in the Darkness: Preparing Better Catholic Funerals

Magazine article Pastoral Music

Light in the Darkness: Preparing Better Catholic Funerals

Article excerpt

Light in the Darkness: Preparing Better Catholic Funerals Paul Turner. Liturgical Press, 2017. ISBN: 9780-8146-4607-6. 144pages, paperback, $19.95; eBook, $15.99.

Ordinarily one does not expect to find humor in a book about Christian funerals, but Paul Turner's Light in the Darkness: Preparing Better Catholic Funerals brings a smile or two to the face of anyone who has even a little experience in bereavement ministry. It is refreshing to encounter a working scholar and a working pastor in the same person. Often such scholars serve as administrators in diocesan offices or instructors in seminaries. Here we have a real pastor struggling with the implementation of the Church's funeral rites in a real parish. He begins by asserting that, relative to funeral rites, "the Catholic Church has lost its grip over the three traditional stages of ceremonies, the management of the music, and the content and presenter of the eulogies."

But a review of Turner's book should be based on the purposes for which it was written, namely "to prepare the faithful in advance for the decisions that they will face when a loved one dies and to help them celebrate funerals well." In reading the book, however, one gets the distinct impression that it was written primarily for those who assist the bereaved in the preparation of the funeral rites of their deceased loved ones, rather than the faithful directly.

That said, the book contains much practical, helpful advice for parish staffs, funeral directors, bereavement ministers, musicians, cantors, lectors, pallbearers, and cemetery staff. Oddly, there is only one short page dedicated directly to the role of priests. To be fair, however, Turner thankfully can't seem to help himself as he peppers the text with sound, even blunt pastoral advice. These highlighted blocks of text derive from his own experience as a grief counselor in preparing the funeral rites and as a celebrant in conducting them. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.