New guidelines on funeral ministry in the diocese of Cork and Ross call for the introduction of funeral ministry teams in all parishes.
The guidelines also update regulations around the repose of the deceased in a church, warning that churches are not to be used as funeral homes.
The changes come after extensive collaboration between clergy, parishes and funeral directors, said Fr Bernard Cotter, who helped create the Ministry to the Bereaved: A Mission for us all policy document.
“Sometimes people forget that funerals take an immense toll on priests once they give themselves to the ministry and really support and help people,” Fr Cotter said. “It’s great to have the help of others in this challenging, but very rewarding work.”
Speaking on changes around the repose of the body in the church, Fr Cotter stressed that “the church is supposed to be a place of worship, not a funeral home”, acknowledging that “it’s a decision that people will find difficult to accept”.