A kerbside funeral rite for a grieving family


Father Maurice Carmody met the funeral directors — at the required social distance – by the roadside outside his home, which is close to the parish church, to conduct a simple funeral rite.

Standing near the open rear door of the hearse, he said the prayers of final commendation while the family watched and prayed over a phone video link.

“I was able to pray the prayers and bless the remains of their loved one knowing they were there,”

“It was a beautiful experience, and it was something I felt graced to do.”

Camody is the parish priest of  St Theresa’s in Plimmerton, north of Wellington.

Archdiocese of Wellington Vicar for Māori Deacon Danny Karatea-Goddard has been using technology to remotely accompany whānau in their tangi.

“Even though we are not able to be there kanohi ki te kanohi, we are reaching out using alternatives.”

“It’s not the best way of doing things, but it’s what we can do.”

Karatea-Goddard says he can train younger whānau members to offer words of farewell and prayer: “Families themselves are drawing on their own resources.”

While New Zealand is at alert level four no funerals are being celebrated.

Funeral directors have advised that families have the choice of immediate cremation or burial, or putting bodies in their mortuary facilities.

Technology cannot help with all funeral lockdown problems, but grieving families are being encouraged to contact parishes to link with the support available.

The Government has said the proposed change to Alert Level 3 – whenever it happens – will allow ten people to attend a funeral, though families will need to decide who the ten will be.


Supplied  Te Huinga o ngā Pīhopa Katorika o Aotearoa
The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference


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