(Rituals & Ceremonies)

The Roman Catholic Church refers to their rituals and ceremonies as ‘Rites’, including Sacraments of Initiation such as baptism and first holy communion (these are detailed in our Sacraments Page). There are various rites that take place during specific times of the day, week and year, as well as rites that occur at various stages of a parishioner’s life.

The most central rite of the church is the celebration of the Eucharist in Mass. The Mass is described as “the source and summit of the Christian life” and incorporates the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Mass may also at times include rites for the conferring of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick.

Masses are either Sunday Masses (including the Sunday Masses on a Saturday evening), Weekday Masses, or special Masses for Funerals (Requiem), Weddings (Nuptial Mass), or other special occasions. Below you will find information on Sunday Masses, celebrations in the absence of a priest, the rites for the sick, dying, and those who have died.


The Mass is an ancient ritual, steeped in Scripture and tradition, incorporating the Liturgy of the Word & Liturgy of the Eucharist, where there is a priest presiding and the bread and wine are consecrated for the distribution of Holy Communion.

Mass is the core celebration of a Catholic community, and those who participate in it do so as a sign of the unity in the faith as one Body in Christ. In the eucharistic celebration of the Mass, Christ is present to us in 4 main ways: The consecrated sacrament, the Word of God, the people, and the priest.

It remains the obligation of all Catholics to attend Sunday Mass weekly (this obligation is currently suspended in the Brisbane Archdiocese due to the covid pandemic) . The Sunday Mass is also regularly held on the afternoon/ evening of the Saturday before as well as on the Sunday.


A Liturgy of the Word with the distribution of Holy Communion may be held without a priest presiding using consecrated hosts from a prior Mass. These celebrations are only permitted when a priest is not available due to sickness or absence, and there is no other option available for Mass.

If there is a Mass already being held that day within the parish, then it is not permissible for such celebrations to occur. In the absence of a priest a trained and delegated lay parishioner is instructed to lead these liturgies.

In the absence of either the Mass or a Liturgy of the Word with Holy Communion, the community is always encouraged to pray together the Liturgy of the Hours (the Divine Office) or some other common prayer form (i.e. the Rosary).


The ‘Last Rites’ is a common term used to cover various rituals used for people who are either sick, dying, or recently deceased. The ‘Last Rites’ consists of:

  • The Sacrament of Reconciliation (where possible), 
  • Anointing of the Sick,
  • Provision of Viaticum (Holy Communion administered to someone who is dying, if possible), and
  • The ritual prayers of Commendation of the Dying, and Prayers for the Dead.

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and Viaticum are for those who are still living. The anointing is also often given when people are unconscious and in the final days or hours of death. The anointing does also impart a general absolution of sins if the person has not been able to confess them. Once a person has died, the priest will then pray the prayers for the dead, and often bless the deceased person with Holy Water (if appropriate).

Contact the Parish emergency number if the ‘Last Rites’ are sought. Dial: 0438705447


Within the Catholic tradition there is the ‘Order of Christian Funerals’. This encompasses various rites (see below), such as the Vigil for the Deceased, the Funeral Mass (Requiem), the Funeral Liturgy (outside of Mass), and the Rite of Committal, either to a grave (for a coffin) or to a columbarium (for ashes).

At a Catholic funeral (either a Mass or Liturgy) the community gathers to pray for the deceased person, to honour and celebrate the dignity of their life, and to entrust that person into God’s loving and merciful care for eternity.

In all these rites the community of faith praise and thank God for the gift of a life which has been returned to its Creator. They rejoice in the redemption wrought by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They remember with joy and pain what that person has meant to them. They celebrate the memories that have been shared, and console one another in their loss. This is a very sacred journey for all.

Funeral arrangements are to be made through the parish office.

The most common Catholic funeral rites are:

Vigil for the Deceased

The Vigil may be quite informal, where the family and friends of the deceased person pray in the presence of the body in the home, in the Chapel of the Funeral Directors, or in the parish Church on the day or night before the Funeral. The Vigil would include prayers and readings and an opportunity for a relative or friend of the deceased person to give some “words of remembrance” of the one who has died.

In our parish, should such a vigil be requested, arrangements would need to be made with the parish. Arrangements for this are made with the parish either by the Funeral Director or the family of the deceased.  A meeting between the family of the deceased and the priest conducting the liturgy will be held prior to the day of the Vigil.

Funeral Liturgy – Mass or Service

The Funeral Liturgy is the central celebration of farewell of our loved ones who have died. It is usually celebrated in the church or a funeral chapel, and may be a Funeral Mass (only in the church) with the Eucharistic celebration and the prayers of commendation, or a Funeral Service – generally a Liturgy of the Word followed by prayers and a final commendation. The funeral liturgy is held whenever it is appropriate for family, friends and community to gather. 

In our parish Funeral liturgies that are in the form of a Funeral Mass are only conducted in one of the parish churches.  Where a Funeral Service is sought this may be conducted in one of the parish churches or in a Chapel of a Funeral Director.  Arrangements for this are made with the parish either by the Funeral Director or the family of the deceased.  A meeting between the family of the deceased and the priest conducting the liturgy will be held prior to the day of the liturgy.

The parish offers its parish churches at Tewantin, Cooroy, or Pomona for Vigils or Funeral Liturgies. Post funeral gatherings may also be held at the Parish Hall at Tewantin where privately organised catering can be provided and pictorial tributes (slideshows) of the life of the deceased can be shown.

The parish has kits available for you to pre-prepare your funeral liturgy and leave your requests with the parish so that your wishes may be considered at the time that your funeral liturgy is being prepared. Please contact the parish office for more details.

The Rite of Committal

This is the final act of care for and farewell to the deceased person. It may be held at the cemetery or in the Crematorium Chapel. This Rite may also be used for burial at sea (not provided by this parish). The rite of committal (burial or cremation) usually follows the funeral liturgy.

In our parish arrangements for this are made with the parish either by the Funeral Director or the family of the deceased. 

Interment of Ashes – Columbarium Walls

The Parish also provides Columbarium Walls for the interment of ashes at its Tewantin and Pomona churches. Fees apply and niches may be reserved.

Once ashes are interred in the Columbarium a Blessing and Committal ritual may be carried out.

Further details are available from the Parish Office.