About this blogger:
Andrew Motyka is the Archdiocesan Director of Liturgical Music and Cathedral Music for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
Connect on Facebook:
Connect on Twitter:
“The sun, at one moment surrounded with scarlet flame, at another aureoled in yellow and deep purple, seemed to be in an exceedingly swift and whirling movement, at times appearing to be loosened from the sky and to be approaching the earth, strongly radiating heat.”
— Dr. Domingos Pinto Coelho, noted lawyer from Lisbon and chairman of the Bar Association (1917)

ABOUT US  |  HEADER  |  ARCHIVE
It's What We Do
published 18 December 2013 by Andrew R. Motyka

N A PRETTY REGULAR BASIS, people not involved with Church music will speak to me about my work. When we start to speak about funerals, they usually have quite a few questions. At one of my previous parishes, I had 40-50 funerals per year. They would ask me, “How do you do that? I don’t think I could be around death that much. It would depress me.”

This is when I give what my wife calls my “It’s What We Do” speech. Apparently I have fallen into predictable patterns of storytelling and explanation. I call it consistency; she calls it annoying. Here it is:

Burying the dead is one of the Corporal Works of Mercy, and the funeral rites are part of that work. It’s What We Do. As Christians, we owe it to one another to pray for the dead. Furthermore, it is the only way to truly grieve the departed than to face their mortality (and ours) head on. It is for this reason that the funeral liturgy is filled with both prayers for the deceased and with reminders of our own mortality (even with the removed Dies Irae). As much of a cliché as it is, death is a part of life. Not one of us is getting out of this alive. We need that reminder of our mortality, and the dead truly need our prayers.

That’s why I can participate in so many funerals. I see them as an act of mercy, and as such, my duty as a Christian.

It’s What We Do.