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Religious Funerals

Our community is richly diverse and representative of many religious and cultural beliefs. Because we are extremely proud of this fact, we are committed to arranging excellent services that are in keeping with any kind of religious specification.

Simply let us know what your wishes are and connect us with your religious authority and we will work tirelessly to accommodate you.

Islamic Funerals

Muslim prayingAfter a death occurs, an Islamic service requires fairly swift action. The body is to be washed and covered in white cotton. The death must be announced immediately to family and friends and the body must be faced toward Mecca, the holy Islamic city. As with some other faiths, Islam forbids cremation, however unlike many others, it also does not permit embalming.

Islamic tradition encourages a gathering, however there is never an open casket. During the gathering there is usually a designated reader who reads passages from the Koran, while an Imam presides. This is a somber event, and there is usually no recording or photography permitted.

Traditionally, the gathering can last for up to two days before the body must be brought to its burial site by four men, while a procession of family and friends follows. During the burial, there is usually little talking as the guests are encouraged to pray for the soul of the departed.

After the body is interred family and friends gather in the home of the departed, sharing in a home cooked meal, while socializing. This is a time for loved ones to come together in support and help each other with their grief. While guests typically stay for an entire day, family often remains together for up to a week.

The traditional mourning period is forty days, with the spouse of the deceased remaining in mourning for up to a year. Mourning is usually signified by black clothing.

Ideally, families will choose Islamic cemeteries for burial as certain traditions may not be accommodated otherwise. For example, in accordance with the Islamic faith, graves must be perpendicular to Mecca and the body must be laid in the grave facing Mecca, there are also specifications to the height of markers.

Our staff is able to advise and recommend appropriate services; we will gladly work with you to accommodate any religious or traditional needs.

Jewish Funerals

Jewish gravemarkerAlthough there are some stipulations that are set down by the Jewish faith, much of the funeral service is customized according to the family’s personal preferences and the customs of their community. For example, the funeral services may be held anywhere, including the synagogue or the funeral home. There is also no need to involve a member of the clergy, unless the family specifically desires to do so.

However, there are a few practices that are standard to Judaism:

  • Burial must occur as soon as possible (usually within 24 hours)
  • Caskets must be entirely biodegradable
  • Mourners do not greet others until after the burial of the deceased; they meet and wait together in a separate space before and after the service
  • Prior to the service, an officiant places a black ribbon on the outer garments of the attendees to symbolize a physical manifestation of grief

During the service, there are several standard components, such as the Hespeid (eulogy) and the El Malei Rachemim prayer, which serves as the sending off of the deceased to the “wings of God’s presence.”

After the service, the body is transported to the burial site and a short service is held at the cemetery.

The Jewish funeral is unique in that there is a specific process that happens following the burial. This includes the Nichum Avelin, or the comfort of the mourners, and Shiva, which is a week-long mourning period during which the family stays together to grieve.

We are well-versed in the processes of a Jewish funeral and would be honored to make all the necessary arrangements for you and your family.

Catholic Funerals

Catholic servicesThe Catholic funeral rite usually has three distinct sections, all of which create a complete structure.

Wake or Vigil Service
This is very similar to a visitation period, during which the family and their friends and community gather to pay respects, reminisce and support each in their shared grieving. It is usually during this time that eulogies are read and families may choose to include readings from scripture, as desired.

Funeral Liturgy
If the family desires a service, the Catholic Church offers this central liturgy for their deceased member. It is encouraged that this service be incorporated into Mass. However, if that is not possible, accommodations can be made to hold it at a funeral home or at the church.

Rite of Committal
A final graveside service, the Rite of Committal occurs during the burial procedures. The family and the Church place the body in its resting place and say their final prayers and goodbyes.

We are happy to work closely with your church to arrange all of the above-mentioned services.

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Eastern Orthodox Funerals

Eastern Orthodox crossFor those belonging to the Eastern Orthodox faiths, which includes Greek, Russian and Roman Orthodox believers, the funeral rites are closely tied to the church and steeped in tradition and ritual. Please note that cremation and body donation are strictly prohibited by the Eastern Orthodox religion, additionally those who have taken their own life would not be considered as qualifying for a religious service.

Shortly after death, the body is to be cleansed and clothed by the family and friends of the deceased. In some cases, the clothing may reflect a person’s station in life—for example, veterans may wear their uniform and those belonging to the church may don their ceremonial garb. A priest is typically present for this process and blesses it by sprinkling holy water.

Once the body is prepared, the family will usually hold a wake, which begins with the First Panikhida, a prayer service. Although in some cases a wake can last for up to three days, in recent times it is more common to hold it over the course of a single day. During this time, family and friends may read psalms and share in their grief.

After the wake, the body is transported to a church for a funeral service. It is traditional to place a bowl of boiled wheat and honey, topped with a candle at the head of the casket to symbolize the cycle of life and the sweetness of Heaven. After a funeral service, mourners are invited to say their goodbyes to the deceased before the coffin is closed and transported to the burial site, where a final, short service is conducted by a priest by the graveside before the body is interred.

It is traditional for Eastern Orthodox mourners to hold a memorial service after 40 days.

We are happy to work closely with your religious advisor to organize a service that closely adheres to your wishes as well as those of the church.

Hindu Funerals

Hindu ServicesWe at Phaneuf want to honor the traditions that go into planning and organizing a Hindu service and as such are entirely available for advice, suggestions and accommodations.

Most notably, Hindu tradition dictates that the family of the deceased should prepare the body. The preparation includes washing, particular arrangement of hands and feet and the placement of the body into a white shroud for burial.

Hindus typically hold a short gathering, where the body is displayed in a simple casket with ash and sandalwood applied to the forehead and a garland placed around the neck. Family and friends gather around to mourn and recite Hindu hymns and mantras before the body is removed.

With the exception of babies and children, all Hindus are cremated.

Our staff is sensitive to such traditions as carrying the body feet-first and performing the ritual circling of the body prior to cremation, however, please feel free to ask questions or communicate any special needs and we will be happy to accommodate you.

Other Funerals

We are sensitive to the spiritual needs of our customers and always seek to abide by the specifications of their religious affiliation. If there is any special arrangement that needs to be made, any alteration to our standard services or any question about our procedures, we really want to hear it about it so that it can be addressed.

Getting to know our clients and working closely with them to organize a service that is meaningful and special is our top priority. There is no religious service that we are not willing to accommodate.

We have developed an end-of-life planning guide to help families answer important questions as they plan their final wishes.

Funeral planning guide