Who Should Participate in the Funeral Service?

When our care team at St. Pierre Family Funeral sits down with a family to talk about funeral plans, there are many important decisions that need to be made. When and where should the funeral take place? Did the person who died express a preference for cremation or traditional burial? When it comes to the funeral service itself, did they put any of their wishes in writing ahead of time?

There are also decisions about who will be involved in the funeral, and in what capacity. Will a funeral director, clergy member, or officiant lead the service? What about the music? Who will serve as pallbearers? There are also many opportunities to speak, including saying prayers, giving readings, and sharing stories about the loved one lost.

Gathering to honor someone’s life is one of the most important steps in the grieving and healing process, and it goes without saying that all of these decisions can be emotional ones. Six generations of our family have helped our neighbors in Indianapolis, Pendleton, Greenwood, and Anderson plan funerals, burials, and receptions for their loved ones – and we are here to walk alongside your family during a difficult time.

Consider these expert tips about how to decide who should participate in the final farewell:

  • One way to determine how many people to involve is to think about how long you would like the service to be. There is a difference between a funeral that features one eulogy or five, or includes multiple readings, poems, prayers, and songs.
  • If there isn’t an obvious choice for an officiant, the funeral director can help you decide who to ask. Was there an affiliation with a church or synagogue? If so, it is appropriate to notify the pastor, priest, or rabbi of the death regardless of their role in the service.
  • If the person who died did not specify who they wanted to speak at their funeral, the closest family members usually have the final say. They knew their loved one best, and can base the decisions on what that person would have wanted.
  • Some people find writing and delivering a eulogy to be a healing experience, while it may be too emotionally difficult for others. It’s important for the family to work together to decide who should speak and how many eulogies to include. There may be an opportunity for two people to come together and deliver a longer eulogy. Other times, it’s preferred to have multiple shorter eulogies. There is also the option for a family member to write the eulogy, but have the funeral director or clergy deliver it.
  • In the case that no one steps forward to deliver a eulogy, you can ask for volunteers or contact those you think would have something meaningful to share.
  • If the person who died did not select pallbearers ahead of time, reach out to friends, co-workers, neighbors, or church members who are physically able to lift and carry the casket. It’s not as common to select close family members, as they need to be available to support one another.

Deciding on these details during a stressful and emotional time can be a challenge, but we’re here to make the process as smooth as possible. Family is extremely important to us, and we want to help you honor your loved ones in a personal and meaningful way. If you would like to learn more about our services or about putting your own funeral plans in place, contact us any time. Our compassionate and professional staff is always here to lend a hand.