When someone dies

When someone dies

When someone dies there are many things which have to be done. Its an emotional time and knowing where to start can feel difficult. Age UK has a very useful step by step guide “when someone dies” on what to do. This was updated in December 2019 and can be accessed through their website – click on the following link:


Some of the following information has been taken from their step by step guide:

If someone dies at home and their death was expected, for example because of a terminal illness, you should call their GP practice and nearest relative (if that’s not you). The doctor will issue a medical certificate, which states the cause of death. You’ll also be given a formal notice stating the medical certificate has been signed. This tells you how to register the death. Once the doctor has issued the medical certificate, and when you are ready to do so, you can call a funeral director of your choice who will move the body to a funeral home.

If someone dies at home unexpectedly, call 111 straight away and ask for advice. It’s possible an unexpected death may need to be reported to a coroner. A coroner is a doctor or lawyer responsible for investigating unexpected deaths. The coroner may call for a post-mortem or inquest to determine the cause of death. If a death is reported to a coroner, you can’t register the death until they give you permission to do so. The funeral may need to be delayed.

If the person dies in hospital, the hospital supports you with the steps you need to take and issues the medical certificate and formal notice (which explains how to register the death). The body is usually moved to the hospital mortuary until the funeral director or relatives arrange a chapel of rest, or for the body to be taken home.

Planning a Catholic Funeral at Sacred Heart

The Parish community joins you in grieving for your loved one and offers you a range of ways to give thanks to God for their life, to pray for them, to ask for the forgiveness of their sins and to affirm our hope in their resurrection.

The information which follows will hopefully help you to plan the type of funeral the person who has died would have wanted and which will help you.

As part of their duties the Funeral Director will contact the Parish Priest, Fr. Francis Ball, to try to sort out a date and time for the funeral. (The date is often determined by the availability of the cemetery or crematorium). Please do not confirm the final dates with the Funeral Director until speaking with Fr. Ball about possible timings of services.

Just as there are stages in the process of grieving, the Church encourages us to say farewell to our loved ones in three main stages:

• The Prayer Vigil (Rosary) usually the evening before the funeral

• The Funeral, which may be a Requiem Mass or a funeral service

• The Committal at the cemetery or crematorium

However, all these rites are not appropriate in every situation. Fr. Ball will arrange to see you to talk through the arrangements and help you decide what is best for you and help you to choose appropriate readings, prayers and hymns.

The Prayer Vigil (Rosary) can be held in the home of the deceased person or in a funeral home and can be led by members of your family or advice can be given by Fr. Ball.

The Funeral is the main celebration and prayer for the deceased person. It is good to ask this question: What is the most appropriate way for us to pray for and celebrate the life of the person who has died?” This could be a Funeral Mass, but if the majority of the mourners would not be able to fully participate in a Mass, it may be more appropriate to have a funeral service. A funeral service will be led by Fr. Ball and he will discuss this with you.

The Parish Community will support you and those attending the funeral on the day in any way they can.

The funeral can take place in church but if it is not a Mass it can be held in the chapel of the crematorium (or at the cemetery, if there is one) immediately before the committal.

The Committal is the final act of saying farewell. This is a brief service at the graveside or at the crematorium and will be led by the Priest or a lay Funeral Minister.

When a body is cremated there may be a further brief service for the burial of the ashes some time later.

Deanery Fees apply to all funeral services in the Catholic Churches of Chorley. The fees are the same in each of the parishes.

Fr. Ball is here to help and support you in any way he can during this time. He can be contacted through the Parish Office on 01257 410588

Roman Catholic Church. Chorley