Funerals, Weddings and Power Points
...Because we don't often celebrate the sacrament, our understanding of the theology that underpins it has diminished. What a pity! ...
James Robinson, Education Officer, Liturgy Brisbane
Parishes are often asked to play a Powerpoint slide show during funerals or weddings. Liturgically these are always problematic: there is no space for slide shows in either rite.
In fact, there is not even space for a eulogy as we have come to know them. The funeral rite allows for a few words of remembrance at the conclusion of the liturgy. The best place for eulogies and slide shows are at wakes and pre/post-funeral gatherings. For weddings, the best place is the reception.
It is all well and good for us to know this, but how do we do this in a way that is pastoral, respectful and sensitive? Weddings are a little easier to help people make good liturgical decisions but funerals less so. How do you say no to a grieving family member who also wants to say a few words (that inevitably turn out to be pages and pages long?)
Besides being a liturgical no-no, parishes can have difficulty in determining if photos in slide shows are appropriate. Photos tell important stories; stories that are sometimes only understood by people in 'the know'. Other times the photos are just not suitable for a church setting. Every symbol, every dressing, every action must reveal the dignity of the liturgy, the work of the assembly. More often than not, slide shows can reduce the liturgy to meaning for a select few
And of course, at funerals we are not celebrating the life and death of the deceased. We gather to remember in joy that we will all be resurrected in Christ.
A couple of simple strategies that parishes could consider are: