Here is a checklist for funeral planning:

• Make an appointment
Contact your pastor, the pastoral minister, the liturgist or other staff person in charge of funeral planning. Find out what guidelines the parish follows. Some parishes have a helpful checklist of things to be considered.

• Notify relatives and friends
Find someone to help answer sympathetic phone calls, cards and letters, as well as greet people when they call.

• Review burial choices
If you have not made arrangements with a cemetery, consider calling the Catholic Cemeteries office (503-234-5334) to review burial options. If you have not made prior arrangements with a specific funeral home, your parish may assist with recommendations.

• Selections
Choose cemetery property, casket, clothing, flowers, music, thank you cards.

• Choose Scripture
Consider readings that are special to your loved one. Hopefully, the deceased spoke about readings and songs before death. Ask for a list of the optional readings for a funeral in your parish.  

• Meaningful music
What are the hymns and music that are used for funerals at your parish? Which ones do you think are appropriate for a celebration of new life?

• Who will take part?
What members of your family and which friends do you want to have certain roles in the vigil, funeral Mass and service at the burial site? Who might deliver a brief remembrance after Mass (a few minutes), if allowed by your pastor? Who could proclaim the chosen readings from Scripture?

• Get key information
Secure important information about the deceased, including date and place of birth, Social Security number and/or veteran’s serial number, etc. Assemble important documents, including will, cemetery and/or funeral arrangement documents, birth certificate, marriage license, etc. Check deceased’s will for special wishes.

• Other notifications
In addition to priest and relatives and funeral directors, notify doctor, coroner, pallbearers, insurance agents, banks, union and fraternal organizations, church musicians. Also speak with utilities, landlord and post office.

• Memorial gifts
Decide appropriate memorial to which gifts may be made (church, hospice, etc.).

• Obituary
The funeral home can assist you with writing an obituary. Many newspapers have forms. Most secular newspapers charge a fee. The Catholic Sentinel does not.