Planning a funeral
The Basilica staff is here to support you and your family as you plan or pre-plan a celebration of life. They will guide you through the entire process and be on hand the day of the service.
What to expect the day of your service
Our staff will be on hand to coordinate your service and reception and to support you on this day of grief and remembrance.
- Morning funerals begin at 11:00am
- Afternoon funerals begin at noon.
- Most funerals with visitations last 3 ½ to 4 hours.
Church Policy on Cremation:
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recently issued a new instruction on Christian burial, with a particular emphasis on ashes and cremation. The document affirms the Church’s traditional preference for burial of bodies of the deceased, while making clear that cremation is a legitimate choice when it is done for sanitary, economic, or social reasons, and it is not chosen out of a denial of Christian doctrine on the resurrection of the body.
The document issues a number of directives about cremation:
- Cremation must never violate the explicitly-stated or the reasonably inferable wishes of the deceased faithful.
- Scandal and religious indifferentism must be avoided in the disposition of the ashes.
- Ashes of the faithful must be laid to rest in a sacred place, that is, in a cemetery or other dedicated place for this purpose.
- Ashes may not be scattered, reserved in a private home, divided among family members, or preserved in mementos or jewelry.
These directives are clarifications of the already existing laws of the Church, and so they are consistent with the current policy of the Archdiocese.
The document provides a reminder that these restrictions on the “reservation of the ashes of the departed in a sacred place ensure that they are not excluded from the prayers and remembrance of their family or the Christian community. It prevents the faithful departed from being forgotten, or their remains from being shown a lack of respect, which eventuality is possible, most especially once the immediately subsequent generation has too passed away. Also it prevents any unfitting or superstitious practices.”
Clarification on Church Law Regarding Christian Burial and Cremation
Walking with you
During this time of sadness, we’re here to help any way we can. If you or a family member is struggling with grief, please contact Wendy Caduff, 612.317.3474, to learn about our Grief Support Ministry.
Livestream for Funerals
The Basilica of Saint Mary has equipment to provide livestreaming of events, and can make this service available to you for funerals at your request. If you elect for us to provide this service, you agree that you will not seek to hold The Basilica of Saint Mary or any of its staff or agents liable for any disruptions or unavailability of the service for any reason, including the lack of video, audio or other technical failures.
Fees associated with the funeral service can be invoiced through the funeral home. This is preferred method as it allows you be concerned with other matters during a time of grief. You may pay directly with checks made out to individuals associated with the funeral service (i.e. organist, cantor, presider) as well as the fees for the church and hall. You may also pay online. An electronic invoice will be sent to you and you will be able to pay through our website.
Executive Assistant to the Director of Liturgy and Sacred Arts
Since 2001, Mark Wyss has been an integral part of The Basilica of Saint Mary as Executive…More
To schedule a funeral, call 612.333.1381.
The Basilica of Saint Mary is available for funerals every day of the week (based on availability), except Sundays and Holy Days.
The service may be celebrated either in The Basilica or in the Saint Joseph Chapel, ground level. The location you choose will depend on the number of people attending and the desired style of worship. The Saint Joseph Chapel seats about 100 people and provides a more intimate setting.
The Basilica of Saint Mary provides the following:
- The use of The Basilica or Saint Joseph Chapel and Teresa of Calcutta Hall for a reception
- The Basilica of Saint Mary funeral staff
- A Funeral Planner to guide you through your decisions and schedule musician.
- A Funeral Coordinator who will prepare the church and assist with the funeral
- Musicians for your ceremony
- A worship booklet designed for each funeral
The funeral rites
There are three aspects to the funeral rites according to the Catholic tradition:
The Vigil for the Deceased: this service is part of the visitation when held the night before the funeral.
The Funeral Liturgy: this service may happen with or without the celebration of the Eucharist.
The Rite of Committal: this ceremony happens at the cemetery at the time of interment.
Cremation is allowed by the Catholic Church. The cremated remains should be treated with as much respect as the body. Although not mandatory, it is preferred that the body be present for the funeral services and that cremation take place afterward.
If the body or the cremated remains are present, then a funeral Mass is celebrated, unless liturgical/pastoral reasons suggest a funeral liturgy outside of Mass.
If neither the body nor the cremated remains are present, then a memorial service is celebrated, either with or without a Mass.
Participants in the funeral liturgy
- The funeral party will be seated in the first row of pews.
- A priest or deacon. Guest priests or deacons are welcome to preside. We ask that they abide by The Basilica of Saint Mary’s liturgical customs.
- Pall bearers. Family and friends are invited to carry the coffin or urn in and out of the church and to the place of burial.
- Lectors (readers). Family or friends may proclaim the readings and read the intercessions.
- Gift bearers. Family or friends may bring the gifts of bread and wine to the altar.
- Eucharistic ministers. Family or friends who are installed as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion may help distribute communion.
- Musicians. Only Basilica musicians maybe used. This ensures a beautiful, high quality liturgy as our musicians work together frequently and know the specific demands of our space.
The Cathedral Choir or other Basilica music groups may be available for a funeral.
Memorial table & guest book
During the visitation and reception, you may set up a memorial table with photos and mementos that capture the life of the deceased. A guest book is a wonderful way for guests to share their memories and messages.
Funeral decorations & flowers
The liturgical furnishings will reflect the season and cannot be moved, removed or replaced.
You may bring in one fresh flower arrangement for the top of the tabernacle or two for the high altar, one on either side of the tabernacle.
- Artificial flowers or plants are not allowed.
- After the service you may take your arrangements home or leave them in the church.
- 11:00am: visitation
- Noon: beginning of funeral
- 1:00pm: end of funeral
- 1:00pm: beginning of lunch
- 2:30pm: departure for cemetery
- Noon: visitation
- 1:00pm: beginning of funeral
- 2:00pm: end of funeral
- 2:30pm: beginning of lunch
- 4:00pm: departure for cemetery
The body will arrive at the church one half hour before the visitation or the service (if no visitation).
Be careful not to leave any of your belongings unattended.
The Basilica of Saint Mary is not responsible for loss or theft.
1. Use of The Basilica of Saint Mary : $400
- Includes the use of the building, janitorial staff, a funeral planner, and a funeral coordinator.
- Includes printing of up to 125 funeral booklets. Extra booklets can be purchased at a rate of $50 for 100 copies.
- This fee does not include the hiring of extra security or police officers.
2. Use of Teresa of Calcutta Hall for Receptions: $400
- Includes use of the space, janitorial staff, the catering kitchen, audio-visuals, luncheon coordinator, and funeral ministry volunteers.
- Table linens for upto 100 guests. Add $130 for 200 people and $195 for 300 people.
- Beverages and paper products.
- This fee does not include food, catering or ordering/pick-up of food.
- Keyboardist (piano/organ): $200
- Basilica cantor/singer: $150
- A freewill offering may be given to the priest/deacon who officiates the service. The amount is up to the discretion of the family.
All fees are subject to change.
Sacred music plays an integral role in any funeral liturgy
You can listen to sound clips from music commonly used at funerals. (Click to play)
- In Paradisum
- Congregational Hymns and Psalms
- Opening and Closing Hymns
- How Great Thou Art (tune: O STORE GUD)
- For All The Saints (tune: SINE HOMINE)
- All Creatures of God and King (tune: LASST UNS ERFREUEN))
- On Eagle's Wings (Joncas)
- Ave Maria (Schubert)
- The Call (Vaughn Williams)
- Pie Jesu (Fauré)
- Panis Angelicus (Franck)
We ask families to provide the food for their guests. You may choose a caterer to plan the type of meal you’d like to serve. We are able to accommodate your guests in Teresa of Calcutta Hall in our lowest level, called the Undercroft. You may choose to serve a plated meal, light buffet, or simply desserts and coffee. Homemade food is not allowed. All food items must be catered and should arrive ready to be placed on the serving table (already in bowls or on trays) and should be able to be served at room temperature. There is a beverage preparation area, but no kitchen or ovens at The Basilica, and very limited refrigeration. Using a caterer. Catering services range from dropping off ready-to-serve trays to a full service event with servers.
You can choose any caterer, but here are a few The Basilica has used for receptions:
- Panera Catering, Kelly Hinkemeyer—651-402-1347
- Bucca del Beppo - 612.288.0138
- D’Amico (hot food, with service) - 612.238.4444
- D’Amico and Sons, Golden Valley (cold food options, delivery) – 763-546-1166
- Kowalski’s Catering - 1.888.972.7890
- Lunds and Byerlys – 952.897.9800
- Sammy’s Avenue Eatery – 612.767.6278
- Patrick’s Bakery (food options too)—612.861.7570
Please ask your family to let Wendy Caduff, Coordinator of Caring Ministries, know the name of the caterer and how many guests you are planning.
If you choose to serve hot food, you may want to consider hiring some of the catering staff to stay on site throughout your reception. If you choose not to pay for staff, The Basilica requires that you ask for and pay for a “driver set up” which means the driver will set up the hot food with chafing dishes before leaving the site. At that point, Basilica volunteers can take over the serving and management of the food. Lunds and Byerly’s charges $35 for a driver set up. This minimal fee helps our senior volunteers do what they are good at: assuring your guests will be well taken care of.
You can bring in commercially prepared food, such as deli trays, from Costco, Sam’s Club or Kowalski’s. If you purchase trays for pick-up, it is a good idea to give that responsibility to a family friend who is willing to miss some of the funeral liturgy do the pick-up and delivery on your behalf. Ask them to connect with Wendy a couple days in advance of the funeral what the plan will be for arrival, menu, etc. Instruct them to park in the circle on 17th Street to haul food into the ground level doors and then use the elevator to come to the Undercroft. We have a couple small kitchen carts that can be used but realize it is still a labor-intensive work to ask of a friend. Please be sure all food comes ready to serve in large bowls or on trays, with serving utensils.
While your family is providing the food, volunteers from The Basilica will provide hospitality to greet and direct guests, linen tablecloths on round tables that seat 6-8 guests, with mirrors and votive centerpieces, beverages including water, lemonade, and regular and decaf coffee, paper plates, paper napkins, and compostable utensils. We prefer to provide all of the paper products and flatware so they are organic and can be composted. We will serve beverages, replenish the buffet table as necessary, and clean up the space afterward for your guests.
You are encouraged to take leftover food home with you. Friends and family may drop in or your own family may appreciate something ready-made later in the day. Ask a family friend who will not be going to the cemetery to be responsible for dropping things off at your home. Food not taken home can also be left here for our guests who come to the Sandwich Window or St. Vincent de Paul Outreach Ministries. At this time we are only able to keep and serve sandwiches, fruit and desserts—no salads. Other places such as Catholic Charities who serve a daily meal may be an option if you have large quantities of food you wish to donate. Again, please find a friend or family member willing to help you with that task. Audio & Video Support At the reception the sharing of memories is an appropriate way to honor your deceased loved one. The Basilica is able to provide the following at the reception (these requests must be provided to Wendy at least 24 hours in advance of the funeral reception):
- A handheld microphone can be provided through the Teresa of Calcutta Hall sound system for the sharing of memories and stories. It is recommended that you designate someone to facilitate/emcee this time of sharing.
- Projecting a slide show of memories on to the main screen of the Teresa of Calcutta Hall. The Basilica will provide the LCD projector. Please bring your own laptop computer along with adapters, especially if you have an Apple, to plug into our system. You may wish to have your show on a flashdrive as a backup; we could try to play it on a Basilica laptop if yours isn’t connecting. PowerPoint shows created with Microsoft work the best. We are not equipped to play videos or DVDs.
Flowers, Photos, Guest Book
During the funeral Mass, we will do our best to move flowers, photos, and mementos to the reception site in the Undercroft and set them up in a pleasing manner. A few arrangements can be left with The Basilica but also please encourage your guests to take flowers home with them if you have many given in honor of your loved one.
Revised January, 2023
Our ministry to those who are grieving is one of our most important ministries.
Central to this is the Rite of Christian Burial celebrated with the family and friends of the deceased. In order to personalize this liturgy we meet with the family and select the readings and music together. Often the question is asked if it is permissible for a family member or friend to give a eulogy. This note is intended to address this question.
The Catholic Church does not allow “eulogies” within the context of the liturgy. The most appropriate place for these is during the visitation at the Funeral Home the night before, or at a reception following the Funeral Mass. Nevertheless, occasionally allowance is made for “Words of Remembrance” to be offered by a family member or a friend at the end of the service. These “Words of Remembrance,” do not seek to canonize the decedent but highlight his/her Christian faith, hope, and love.
Guidelines for “Words of Remembrance” at The Basilica of Saint Mary:
- The text should always be written out beforehand.
- The “Words of Remembrance” should be brief. They should not exceed 8 minutes in total. Read at an appropriate pace this translates to about 500 words.
- The content should cover what was most beloved about the deceased, including his/her Christian faith, hope and love.
- The family ought to select one person to read the “Words of Remembrance.”
- This person should be the one most likely to maintain composure.
- Profanity or unseemly anecdotes have no place in the “Words of Remembrance.”
- “Words of Remembrance” should simply be read, and not be accompanied by music or video presentations.
- The pastor and/or celebrant should be given the text before the funeral to give final approval.