Review: Light in the Darkness: Preparing Better Catholic Funerals

Light in the Darkness: Preparing Better Catholic FuneralsLight in the Darkness: Preparing Better Catholic Funerals by Paul Turner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another masterful work from the pen of Fr Paul Turner, this books draws on both his extensive knowledge of the contemporary Roman liturgy and his extensive experience as a pastor in a Catholic Parish in the United States. And this combination of knowledge and experience is evident in the way in which Turner addresses the very real practical and pastoral concerns that many Parish ministers – both lay and ordained – face when assisting bereaved families to arrange and celebrate the funeral rites for a member of their family in a contemporary setting.

Although set in the context of the US Catholic Church, where some funeral customs are particularly specific, there is much wisdom to be found in this volume that is transferable and applicable to other settings, and reading this contribution with an awareness of local experiences and expectations will greatly assist the reader to mine the gold that is to be found here.

Perhaps the most significant benefit of this book is to be found in the second half of the book, the ‘Toolbox’, where Turner provides commentaries and explications of the Scripture readings suggested in the Order of Christian Funerals, looking at both the Catholic meaning and teaching that is highlighted in these readings, together with suggestions as to the appropriate circumstances for which they might be helpful. Together with the other contents of the Toolbox, this section makes the purchase of this book worthwhile for any minister involved in preparing and/or leading Catholic funerals. Other of the resources included in this section have been given copyright permission to be reproduced at will for Parish ministry – a great resource in and of itself.

As with all of Turner’s books, and his other contributions, this volume is accessible, informative, and well reference and resourced, making it a must have for any Catholic Parish and Parish minister.

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