Funeral Mass to Aim for a Note of Hope

Rites to Have a Focus on Resurrection

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 7, 2005 ( John Paul II’s funeral Mass on Friday will have the character of resurrection, in keeping with the revised rite he entrusted to the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.

A fruit of this revision was the «Ordo Romani Pontificis,» including the funeral rites for the Roman Pontiff, which must be followed faithfully, as established in the apostolic constitution «Universi Dominici Gregis.»

Approved by the Holy Father, the ritual underlines «the paschal character of the death of the disciple of Christ,» Archbishop Piero Marini, master of pontifical liturgical celebrations, clarifies in the volume.

The Ordo’s general premises explain: «In the funeral rites the Church manifests her faith in the victory of the risen Christ over sin and death.»

«This faith is expressed in a particular way in the obsequies of the Roman Pontiff, who because of the ministry he exercises in the Church, has confirmed all pastors and faithful in the faith,» the text states.

The Church «raises to the Father, Lord of life and death, an intense prayer of thanksgiving, for the good that the deceased Pontiff realized in favor of the Church and humanity, for the repose of his soul, and of supplication, so that he will be received by the Lord in his dwelling of light and peace together with all the saints,» explains the Ordo.

The ritual also includes prayers for the Church that, «deprived of the Roman Pontiff,» she will abandon herself confidently «to Christ, Supreme Pastor, who promises to her his everlasting presence and assistance.»

«Due honor» is rendered «to the body of the deceased Supreme Pontiff» who, «with the sacraments of Christian initiation, became a temple of the Holy Spirit, and with the sacrament of Episcopal Ordination was totally dedicated to the service of the People of God,» especially because of «faith in eternal life and in the resurrection of the flesh,» note the premises of the ritual.

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