"I am not dying; I am entering eternal life."  -St. Therese

CELEBRATING A FUNERAL AT ST. THERESE CHURCH:  When a loved one is facing death, it is good to recall that Our Heavenly Father has prepared a place for each of His followers in His eternal Kingdom. As Catholic Christians, we rejoice in our belief that Jesus Christ, by His death and resurrection, has earned this eternal life for us.  When a Christian dies, there is no greater source of comfort for those who mourn than to proclaim belief in the Resurrection, and to celebrate the life of the one who has died in the Lord.  The liturgy of our Church guides both this proclamation of faith and the celebration of life. In times of sorrow and grief, let us keep before our minds and hearts the words of Jesus:

I am the Resurrection and the Life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, 

will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die (John 11:25-26).


- For a brief list of St. Therese funeral planning information, click HERE for a checklist. 


Below are the names (CONTACTS) of those who can help you in scheduling and planning the funeral Mass for your loved one. Underneath those are the Funeral Guidelines to aid you in the preparation of the details of your loved one’s final celebration. Scroll down to the section, Liturgy of the Word, to find a link to a selection of readings as well as a downloadable form  to write down your reading selections, etc.  You may also choose the Prayers of the Faithful.

May Our Lord watch over you and comfort you during this time of sorrow. 


Parish Secretary: Denise McMaster-Holguin – (626) 282-2744 x 1 + 223 – email: 

Pastor: Fr. Peter Mary Vecellio, OCD – (626)282-2744, x 1 + 224 -  email:  

Associate Pastor:  Fr. David Guzman, OCD (626) 282-2744, x 1 + 232 - email:

Associate Pastor:  Fr. Robert Barcelos, OCD (626) 282-2744, x 1 + 225 - email:  

    Music Coordinator: Justin Senneff - email:   

For A Latin Rite Funeral MassSacristan: John Janosik: (626) 795-5151

In House Caterer: Maureen Craig - (626) 840-7288



Scheduling a Funeral:  Funeral Masses are normally celebrated at St. Therese Church at 10:00 or 11:00 a.m., between Monday and Saturday.  In place of a vigil (a "wake") the night before the funeral, it is suggested that you begin the Mass with a Rosary.  This is normally thirty minutes before the time of the funeral. If these times are not convenient, we will be happy to work with you to find another time—depending on clergy and church availability. 

The first step to take when planning a funeral liturgy is to fill out the form above (highlighted in yellow) and EMAIL it to the Parish Secretary at For questions, call or email the Parish Secretary in the office (SEE BOXES ABOVE) or have the funeral home you’re working with contact her.  Once the date and time are scheduled and the celebrant is chosen and is available, the funeral date will be confirmed. If you have emailed the secretary but don't hear back within a couple days, your email may have gone into her Junk Mail, so please call to have her check.

Fees:  See info at bottom of the Guidelines.

The Funeral Mass:  The funeral Mass is celebrated for the repose of the soul of our deceased loved ones.  It is an opportunity for the friends and family of the deceased to gather together in the Church to pray for their loved one’s soul and to thank God for his or her life.  The Funeral Mass consists of several parts, as follows:

·  Introductory Rites:  If a casket is present, it is sprinkled with holy water and covered with a white ceremonial cloth called a pall, which serves as a reminder of the white baptismal garments a new Christian wears as he or she is welcomed into the fellowship of believers within the church. If you desire to use a flag to drape the coffin, you may do so for the burial ceremony but not during the Mass, as nothing supersedes Christ. The assembly then joins together in a gathering song, and the presider leads the opening prayer. The family is seated in the pews at the front of the church.

·  Liturgy of the Word:  Readings from ther the Old Testament and the New Testament are proclaimed (or one reading from either the Old or the New Testaments), followed by the homily and the Prayers of the Faithful.  

To select the READING for the funeral Mass in English, click here (x).  Please choose one reading from the Old Testament and one reading from the New Testament (CANNOT be from one of the four Gospels).  You may also indicate your choice for the Psalm, the Gospel Acclamation, and the Gospel reading (only the priest reads the Gospel).

To select the READINGS for the funeral Mass in Spanish, click here (x).  Please choose one reading from the Old Testament and one reading from the New Testament (CANNOT be from one of the four Gospels).  You may also indicate your choice for the Psalm, the Gospel Acclamation, and the Gospel reading (only the priest reads the Gospel).

For a FORM on which to enter your preferences for the Scripture readings, click here (X).  Once you have filled out the form, scan and e-mail it to the Parish Secretary at

If you prefer, you may also stop by the Parish Offices (510 North El Molino Street, Alhambra) to pick up a funeral planning booklet (“Through Death to Life”), which has the same suggested readings and a selection form.  

Music at the Funeral Mass:  Music is a very important part of the funeral celebration, and you may already have some ideas about what songs you’d like included. The Music Coordinator (see the CONTACT section above) will work with you to help select the music.  Click HERE for a FUNERAL MASS MUSIC PLANNER (also highlighted above). Fill it out and mail it the Music Coordinator (see CONTACTS)Please note that all music must be liturgical. St. Therese Church policy is that we do not *allow outside musicians but only our own musicians to serve as organist/pianist and cantor (the cantor leads the assembly in the singing.) (*except under extraordinary circumstances). Please note that we do NOT allow recorded music at funeral Masses.  The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) states in Nos. 39-40: "The Christian faithful who gather together as one to await the Lord's coming are instructed by the Apostle Paul to sing together Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Coloss. 3:16). Great importance should therefore be attached to the use of singing in the celebration of the Mass.”  The reason for this is that the use of music in the liturgy is always to enhance the quality of liturgical prayer and can never be considered as entertainment. It is practically impossible for recorded music to serve the same function.

FUNERAL PROGRAM FOR YOUR GUESTS:  If you would like St. Therese to prepare a program (includes readings, hymn titles, photo(s), bio [optional]) to be used by the congregation during the funeral Mass, there is a base fee of $75, which includes printing of up to 50 copies (additional copies are .20 cents each). For this option, contact Denise at 

Note about Eulogies:  As per the General Instructions of the Roman Missal (GIRM), which regulates the celebration of Mass, St. Therese Church does NOT allow eulogies to be given at our funeral Masses  (The GIRM states, "At the Funeral Mass there should, as a rule, be a short homily, but never a eulogy of any kind" - Chapter VIII, No. 382). The celebrant will give a short homily after the Gospel, but not a eulogy. If family members would like to deliver eulogies, they may do so at a vigil the night before the funeral (after the Rosary, prayers, etc), at the gravesite, or at any reception held after the services (be sure that anyone giving a eulogy is emotionally able to do so). Moreover, we do not allow “welcomes” or “closing remarks” to be offered by anyone other than the priest.

·   Liturgy of the Eucharist:  The gifts of bread and wine are presented and blessed, followed by the Eucharistic Prayer. The assembly then joins in the Lord’s Prayer, exchanges the sign of peace with one another, and receives the Eucharist.

Note about Receiving Holy Communion:  While all Christians are united in charity, prayer, and a common baptism, those within the Catholic tradition believe that the Eucharist, the true Body and Blood of Jesus, is also a sign of our full communion in Faith.  While full unity continues to be our prayer, until such full communion can be recognized among Christians, reception of the Eucharist is reserved for practicing Catholics who are in the state of grace (without consciousness of having committed a mortal [serious] sin).  All who are not receiving are welcome to either remain in their seats in prayer or come forward to receive a blessing, indicating their desire for such blessing by crossing their arms over their chests.

· Concluding Rites, Final Commendation, and Farewell:  The celebration is formally closed, and the body is honored with incense before being taken to the place of burial.

· The Committal or Burial Service:  This last stage of the Order of Christian Funerals is celebrated at the place where the body of the deceased will be buried. At the cemetery, the faithful again proclaim their belief in the Resurrection for themselves and for the one who has died. The service normally consists of a short prayer, a reading from Scripture, and prayers of intercession. You may also deliver eulogies there. (Note to those who have chosen to have the body of your loved one cremated: Please treat these remains the same way you would treat the body (the Church does not allow "sprinkling" the ashes in the ocean or other places nor keeping the remains in your home.  They should be interned in a mausoleum, etc.)

The Participation of your loved one’s family and friends:  We welcome and encourage you to have your family members and close friends participate in the funeral liturgy. Please select people who you believe to be “emotionally able” for this. There are areas on the form used to select the readings in which you may indicate the names of these persons.  You can choose for them to...

·  Read the reading chosen from either the Old or New Testaments.

·  Read the Prayers of the Faithful.

·  Bring forward the gifts of bread and wine. 

Sanctuary:  Please do not enter the sanctuary (the area around the altar).  This is only for priests, deacons, and those participating in the ministry of the altar (servers, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, etc.).

Vigils:  If you have arranged with the funeral home for a vigil the night before the funeral, this will normally be held at the funeral home; vigils are not normally held at St. Therese Church unless you are expecting a number of people attending which the mortuary cannot hold.  If available, we will arrange for a deacon to go to the funeral home to lead the prayer service at the vigil. Again, you may also deliver eulogies during the vigil (after the prayer service). We suggest, in lieu of a vigil, having a Rosary before the funeral Mass begins.

Flowers:  Your family and friends are welcome to have flowers delivered to the church before the funeral.  Outside of the seasons of Advent and Lent, we are happy to keep and use any of these plants or arrangements that you may wish to leave in the church after the liturgy is over. However, during Advent and Lent, you must arrange to take the flowers with you. (Suggested local florists are:  Alhambra Main Florist at (626) 282-7518 OR Mercados at (626) 293-8155.)

Picture Displays:  You are allowed to bring photos of the deceased to be displayed during the funeral Mass. We have easels on which you may place large pictures; the funeral home or our sacristan will help you to display them in the proper place.  Please arrange to have someone from your family remove these after the liturgy.

Eulogies:  As indicated above (under Liturgy of the Word) and repeated here, per the General Instructions of the Roman Missal (GIRM), Chapter VIII, No. 382, which regulates the celebration of Mass, St. Therese Church does NOT allow eulogies to be given at our funeral Masses.  According to the Order of Christian Funerals, there is never to be a eulogy at a funeral Mass (OCF 27). Contrary to common assumption, the purpose of the funeral Mass is not to celebrate the life of the deceased but to offer worship to God for Christ’s victory over death, to comfort the mourners with prayers, and to pray for the soul of the deceased. Relatives or friends who wish to speak of the deceased’s character and accomplishments can do so at a prayer service to be held in a home or funeral home or at the graveside following the rite of committal. 

Funeral Reception:  If you would like to host a reception following the liturgy or the burial, you may have it in our Parish Hall (IF it's on a weekend or at a time when there is no school) OR at the outdoor  Guadalupe Courtyard—depending upon availability.  The family of the deceased either provides the food OR you can contact the CATERER we use at St. Therese Church. Her contact information is in the CONTACT section (box above).  You may also use your own caterer or bring in your own food.

RECEPTION FEES: The use of the PARISH HALL for a reception is subject to availability, but, again,  it cannot be used when our School is in session, as the students use that space. There is a fee of $500 for the use of the PARISH HALL and a damage/cleaning deposit of $500 when reserved ($1,000). This deposit will returned to you if the Hall is in the same condition as when you arrived; however, any damages, etc., will be prorated and deducted from the deposit and the balance--if any--returned to you. You are responsible for setting up the tables and chairs and cleaning up (putting all trash in trash cans and then putting the bags into the bins; cleaning up spills, wiping down counters); however, arrangements can be made with someone to do it for a fee (depending upon the number attending).  

There is a fee of $300 for the use of the GUADALUPE COURTYARD, and a cleaning deposit of $300 when reservedThis deposit will returned to you if the space is in the same condition as when you arrived; however, any damages, etc., will be prorated and deducted from the deposit, and the balance--if any--returned to you.You must set up any additional tables and chairs AND take them back down and must clean up (put all trash in trash cans and then put the bags into the bins in the driveway; cleaning up spills, wiping down surfaces).  

VIDEO AND/OR LIVE STREAM:  We offer the option to have the funeral Mass live-streamed on YouTube and/or recorded offline for your loved ones who are unable to attend. Fees begin at $550. For details, please contact

Cremation: Although burial is still preferred by the Church, since Vatican II, it has become more common for families to choose cremation of a deceased loved one rather than the burial of the body (for convenience or for economic reasons). The funeral Mass may be celebrated in the presence of the cremated remains. The remains are to be placed in an appropriate container which we will then place on a table or stand and given the same respect given to the human body from which they came. The Church does not allow "sprinkling of the ashes" as nothing should be done with the ashes that would not be done with a body. 

Church / Music Fees:  Very often, the funeral home takes care of the financial arrangements (they pay the church and then bill the family).  Concerning our fees, rather than issuing separate checks (to the church, the organist, the cantor), please issue—or have issued by the funeral home—ONE CHECK for the total to St. Therese Church.  Our preference is to receive the check from the funeral home.  However, if the family will be the one issuing the check, we require that it be given to us at least two days in advance of the funeral service.

Altar Servers' Stipends:  There are normally two servers assisting at each funeral Mass celebrated in EnglisH--each of whom should receive a minimum stipend of $10 each IF the funeral is outside school hours. For a Funeral Mass in the Latin Rite, the fee for each altar server is $50 each (this is because it takes much more training, etc.).  Please appoint a family member to pay each server before or immediately after the funeral service (altar servers' stipends are NOT included in the fees shown below).

The current fees for the church and the musicians are as follows: 




     TOTAL MUSIC FEES......$450

                            CHURCH FEES

Vigil Only…….…....................…$100

Mass Only..................................$300

Graveside Only .........................$100 

Vigil and Mass ..........................$375 

Mass and Graveside .................$375    

Vigil, Mass, and Graveside.....$450

(We recommend having a Rosary before the funeral/Memorial Mass instead of having a vigil the evening before; there is no fee for the Rosary.)

Latin Rite Celebrant's fee...................$300

Live Streaming and/or recording:

fees start at $550

Program (optional).....................$75+

+Use of Hall for a reception........*$500

          (*Users are responsible for setting up/taking down the tables and chairs)

+Use of Courtyard for a reception....*$300

          +Spaces for receptions are subject to availability; the Hall is not available Monday through Friday when School is in session.

*DEPOSITS: There is a cleaning deposit of $500 for the use of the Hall and a cleaning deposit of $300 for the use of the Courtyard. Will be returned in full if there is no damage or breakage; any damages will be prorated and deducted from the deposit, and the balance (if any) returned to you