EWTN Catholic Q&A
Funeral Masses
Question from Tom Lang on 08-03-2001:

What is the difference between a funeral mass of transferal and a funeral mass of Christian burial? Both were recently celebrated on two separate days for a local Monsignor who passed away. Thank you and God Bless!

Answer by Fr. John Trigilio on 08-08-2001:

Mass of Transferal is a funeral Mass of a Priest the day/evening/night before the day of Burial. It is called 'transferal' since the body is transfered from the funeral home to the church where the priest is viewed in a casket with the lid removed. This allows the parishioners and brother priests to view the body in the church (where a priest does his most important work while alive). The Mass the day before also allows more people to attend the funeral since it is often the evening before the day of burial and many parishioners and priests cannot attend the Funeral Mass on the very day of burial. Since a priest offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, it is one final honor that he is afforded two Masses when he dies; the Mass of Transferal and the Mass of Burial.