Celebrant or Clergy Member, Which Should I Choose, and Why?

By: Myles O'Riordan
Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Choosing the individual who will act as an officiant for your loved one’s funeral is a big decision. While it’s important to make sure you are comfortable with the person, it’s also important to decide if you would prefer a celebrant or clergy member to perform the funeral service. 

The type of ceremony directed by a clergy member or celebrant varies a lot. These two types of officiants facilitate two very different services, so choosing the one that is right for you will help ensure the ceremony is exactly how you or your loved one planned.

Benefits of Choosing a Celebrant 

The officiant is a master of ceremonies in for the service. The officiant has the power to set the tone and pace of the service and choosing the wrong one may have a devastating impact on the funeral service. In general, celebrants are not bound by specific religious rituals and are generally more flexible in how the service is structured. A celebrant will work with your family to create the perfect ceremony that is designed to celebrate the life and accomplishments of your loved one. 

Why Choose a Clergy Member?

Choosing a clergy member to facilitate your funeral service indicates that your family is involved with a church or religious organization. A clergy member will perform a funeral service based on the specific rituals outlined by your religion. For Catholics, this includes performing a funeral Mass, prayer, and absolution. Clergy members also work with families to facilitate a unique and personalized ceremony, however, there are certain traditions, which must be respected. 

How to Know Which one is Right for You

In many cases, a person will have outlined funeral instructions in their wills. In these cases, it’s important to respect the person’s last wishes and go with whichever type of officiant they have requested. If no instructions were provided, it’s up to the family to choose which type of officiant is best. 

Talking to family members and loved ones will give you a better idea of the type of service that is most appropriate. If a structured, religious ceremony is preferred, choose a clergy member. If your loved one was not religious and instead you would like the focus to be on their life, loved ones and accomplishments, a celebrant may be a better choice. 

Making these decisions while grieving the loss of a loved one can be trying. Let the experts at Wagg Funeral Home in Port Perry, ON help. For more information and to speak with one of our experienced and compassionate employees, call 905-985-4752 today.

 

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