It is important that the services you plan at the Van Matre Funeral Home are appropriate and memorable. Please feel encouraged to “personalize” them so that they may be more meaningful to those attending, allowing them to leave the funeral home with good memories or thoughts of the deceased. Memorial items may include DVD’s, photos, displays, personal interest items, etc. Ask a funeral director about personalizing the services.
Visiting hours, or calling hours, is the time when you and your family and friends gather at one of the Van Matre Funeral Home locations to share and to grieve about the death. The hours will be listed in the local newspaper and on this website. You will find that people will make every effort to attend these visiting hours. They may change their plans, leave work early, or arrange to come in a group with others. They need not be acquainted with every member of your family, but they will come because they care.
During these hours, you and your family should be at the funeral home to talk to the friends as they arrive. They will offer you their support and sympathy and you will find that it will become natural to talk about the deceased. You might want to accompany them to the casket, introduce them to other family members, or look at photos or watch a memorial DVD with them.
Remember, these friends need to grieve, too. The visiting hours allow a whole community to grieve together and to accept the reality of the death. After four generations of experience, the Van Matres have found that there are two to five times more people who attend visiting hours than a funeral service.
Usually, funeral services conclude with a committal service at the cemetery necessitating pallbearers to carry the casket. It is considered an honor to serve as a pallbearer and anyone can be asked– family members or friends, male or female. Even an elderly person or someone with a physical impairment can be a pallbearer.
Any number of pallbearers can be used, but six would be the norm. The pallbearers should introduce themselves to one of the Van Matre funeral directors upon arriving for the funeral so that instructions can be explained to them.
The funeral service usually takes place the day following the calling hours. It may be at one of the three Van Matre funeral home locations or at a church. At the Van Matre locations, there are comfortable surroundings to accommodate a small gathering of 20, or large gatherings 150 or 200. You and your family will be seated together in a designated area, and when it is time to begin the service, one of the Van Matre funeral directors will offer a brief welcome and introduce the minister who will then conduct the service.
The funeral service is a time to acknowledge our faith in God and to pay tribute to the life of the deceased. At the conclusion, the funeral director will first dismiss friends, and then, when only your family members remain, you may, together as a family, privately say your last goodbyes to the deceased.
Procession to the Cemetery
At the conclusion of the funeral service, anyone desiring to attend the committal service at the cemetery will travel in a formal funeral procession. This procession will have been organized when you first arrived at the funeral home. The procession is led by the funeral director and then followed in order by the hearse, the family cars, and finally all others. Drivers in the procession should turn on their headlights and hazard lights, and should exercise caution at all times, especially when driving through intersections.
When the procession arrives at the cemetery the people will be escorted to a tent erected close to the grave. There they will observe as the pallbearers make the final carry of the casket from the hearse. The minister will conduct a brief service of commendation, which will conclude the service. The purpose of this committal service is for the family and friends to “complete” or finalize the services by accompanying the deceased to the final resting place.
The Catholic Diocese encourages a grieving process that includes two stages of a Christian funeral.
The Funeral Liturgy begins at the funeral home when family and friends gather to say the final prayers and have their last viewing of the deceased. They then travel in procession to the church arriving at the designated time for the Mass of Christian Burial. At both the funeral home and the church, the cars remain in the procession.
At the conclusion of the Mass of Christian Burial, all those traveling to the cemetery return to their cars and the procession then travels to the cemetery where the Rite of Committal takes place.
If the deceased was a veteran, there are ways to honor that military service. An American Flag can be folded and placed in the casket during the visitation periods. It then can be draped over the casket for the procession to the cemetery and folded again and presented to an immediate family member at the committal service. Full military honors would include an honor guard to be present at the committal service to present a gun salute and the playing of “Taps”.