Christian Funeral

Though there are many Christian denominations, each with slightly different beliefs, they follow similar principles and share similar funeral traditions.

First, it's customary for the body to remain at a funeral parlor for visitation or a viewing. As a visitor, you may come and express your condolences to the family and stay and visit for the full viewing period - but it's not required.

Funeral services focus on praying for the soul of the honoree, and offering comfort and support to the grieving family. Prayers based on scripture from the Bible are read, and hymns are read and sung.

Catholic funeral services are nearly always held in a church, and it is very much about ritual. Nevertheless, the service can be personalized with the eulogy and selection of music. Eastern Orthodox and Episcopalian funeral services are similar in that respect.

Protestant funeral services can be held at a church, funeral home, gravesite, or another location. In many Protestant services, friends and relatives may be asked to share memories of the honoree.

Appropriate gestures of sympathy include sending a note of condolence; sending a Mass card, which you can get at a Catholic church; sending flowers to the family's home or the funeral parlor; or sending a donation to a charity designated by the family.

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