Religion or Personal Projection

Photo by Ivan Samkov on

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Gal 2:1-2, 7-14; Ps 117:1bc, 2; Lk 11:1-4

Speaking of the first reading a few days ago: I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel, I would like to share a story from this week.

We had the Catholic funeral liturgy for a beloved member. The Vigil service, Funeral Mass and the Committal Rite. All carefully prepared and the liturgy meticulously followed according to the faith.

We gathered:

  1. To pray for the soul of the dead (mercy, forgiveness, and the beatific vision).
  2. To pray for one another in consolation (love, unity, forgiveness).
  3. To remember our baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (salvation economy).
  4. To remember the sure hope of the resurrection and the mercy of God (the Divine Will).

After the graveside service the Funeral Director took it upon himself to orate for 20 minutes straight. And essentially demand the family and friends gather around the coffin for an extra-liturgical expression.

The worst part?

He started with: The real reason we are here

Really? You know the real reason. See the list I provided above items one to four.
In speaking with his coworker, he told me this FD does this all the time.


  • Funeral Director has a competence and role distinct and true.
  • He is not the spiritual director of the family and grieving.
  • I know he meant well and for that he gets this gentle warning.
  • At most he can provide comforting context when the context is not already provided.
  • He is there to provide concluding comments such as: ‘Thank you for coming’, and ‘This service is concluded’.

After three days of meticulous and exact theological understanding, developed over millennia, the FD decided of his own ego to declare, ‘the real reason’. He was not asked to do that. He is of unknown theological basis. He is unknown ordination or appointment. He did not read the discomfort of the family gathered to his expectations. He had zero understanding of interfaith practices.

Apparently he does this all the time.

I have done many interfaith services and faith services of other traditions, great and meticulous care must be given to represent the faith tradition of the grieving, not my own. His activity is a slap in the face of all religions and traditions and interfaith practices.

Why does it matter?

Because he is not in the position to declare the purpose of the gathering, the theological framework of the gathering nor listened to the words of the liturgy provided. The family and their ways are the paramount canon.

Some of our prayers are 2,000 years old given by the Lord himself!

How closed can a person be in such a moment!

I am writing this as a neglected reality. In the modern world, I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel. In your context it is fine. But in the context of a family with distinct and specific religious tradition, no, not at all.

Today is also the Optional Memorial of Saint Faustina Kowalska, virgin.
She is an impactful saint in the western church. Her modern era life (August 25, 1905 – October 5, 1938) and her diary has inspired millions to a life of loving the Lord and acting justly.

Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska’s Story here:

For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

First reading
When they saw that I had been entrusted with the Gospel.
But when I saw that they were not on the right road in line with the truth of the Gospel, I said to Cephas in front of all…

Responsorial Psalm
Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.

Alleluia Verse
You have received a spirit of adoption as sons through which we cry: Abba! Father!

Gospel Portion

This! This is our focus:

Father, hallowed be your name,
your Kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

3 thoughts on “Religion or Personal Projection

  1. timely and very unfortunate experience to relate with today’s first reading. who would have thought a plan for one’s services needs to include a limitation on the FD’s public comments at services?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Rite of Committal is deliberately brief so as not tire the grieving and prolong the ritual and formal aspects involved. It is time for silence and quieting the heart. Hard to watch anything else.


    2. A graveside service earlier in the week.

      It’s the grieving that design their expression of liturgy.

      Dear Deacon Palermo,
      Thank you for your guidance and leadership at my mother redacted service at the redacted . The service was moving .
      Thank you for leading with such grace and kindness and preparing the eulogy to include all family members.
      You took the time to create a memorial that honored the lady my mother was.
      I cannot thank you enough for all the love and spiritual support you’ve provided to our family during this time of great sorrow . Thank you for keeping all of us in your prayers.
      May God bless you.



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