Funeral Directing Glossary

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Ablution (Abluere)

Rinsing of the mouth, Eucharistic vessels and fingers after touching the sacred host.

Absolution

Sacramental remission of sin.

Acclamation

Peoples response, in liturgical worship.

Acknowledgment Cards

Cards of recognition sent to friends for kindness shown to a deceased's family.

Acolyte

An altar attendant (male or female).

Adaptive Funeral Rite

A funeral rite that is adjusted to the needs and wants of those directly involved; one which has been altered to suit the trends of the times.

Aftercare (Follow-up Care)

Those appropriate and helpful acts of counseling that come after the funeral.

Agnus Dei

Lamb of God

Alar Hashalom

Phrase used after the name of a departed male meaning, "Peace be upon him".

Alehaw Hashalom

Phrase used after the name of a departed male meaning, "Peace be upon her".

Alb, Tunica Alba

White undergarment of linen, reaching to the feet.

Allah

In the Islam Faith, the name for God.

Alleluia

Praise ye God

Altar, Altaria

An elevated place or structure on which sacrifices are offered or at which religious rites are performed; in the Christian faith, a table on which the Eucharist or Holy Communion is served and prayers are offered.

Alternative Container

An unfinished wood box or other non-metal receptacle or enclosure, without ornamentation or a fixed interior lining, which is designed for the encasement of human remains and which is made of fiberboard, pressed wood, composition materials (with or without an outside covering) or like materials.

Ambo

A raised place between the sanctuary and nave. For reading of the lessons/sermons.

Amen

So be it, let it happen.

Amice

Shouldercloth, Rectangular linen cloth with straps (30" x 20") worn under the alb.

Apse, Apsis

Semicircle end of the presbytery.

Archbishop

in the Roman Catholic faith, the head of an archdiocese.

Archdiocese

A geographical grouping of one or more diocese under the jurisdiction of an archbishop.

Ark

Focal point of service in a synagogue or temple, the receptacle of the Torah (written law). It may be portable or an opening in a wall.

Aron

Hebrew meaning container; a casket made entirely of wood and contains no metal parts.

Arrangements Conference

The meeting between the funeral director and the client family during which the funeral arrangements are discussed.

Artificial Grass

An imitation of grass made in mat form and used at the cemetery to cover the earth around the grave.

Asperges

Holy water

At Need Counseling

A death has occurred and the funeral director is counseling with the family as they select the services and items of merchandise in completing arrangements for the funeral service of their choice.

Avelim

A mourner; (Abel, Avel, Ovel) The nearest of seven blood relatives; father, mother, husband, wife, son, or daughter, brother and sister.

Bais Hakevorus

Burial grounds.

Bar Minen

A deceased male.

Bat Minen

A deceased female.

Benediction

a ritual blessings offered at the conclusion of a service.

Bet Olan

To bury; (Bais Olam, Bet Almin) everlasting home, graveyard or burial grounds.

Bimah

The portion of the synagogue or temple raised above the congregation seating.

Bishop

 in the Roman Catholic faith, the head of a diocese.

Book of Common Prayer

the text containing recitations, prayers and prescribed orders of worship in the Episcopal Church.

Bow

An inclination of the body made while standing during Liturgical prayer.

Brandeum

A cloth that has been laid upon the grave of a saint and then used as a substitute for a relic.

Breaking of Bread

The fractioning of the altarbreads before the communion.

Brother

in the Roman Catholic faith, a man who is a member of a religious order without being ordained or while preparing for ordination.

Brotherhood

Relating to a social or religious organization

Burial

The act of placing the dead human body in the ground.

Burial Ground

An area of ground set aside and dedicated for the final disposition of dead human bodies.

Burial-Transport Permit (Disposition Permit)

A legal document, issued by a governmental agency, authorizing transportation and/or disposition, of a dead human body.

Calling Hours

Time set aside for friends and relatives to pay respect for the deceased prior to the funeral service.

Canopy (Cemetery Tent)

A portable shelter employed to cover the grate area during the committal.

Cantor

A religious singer who assists the clergy; assists the Rabbi in the Jewish faith; assists the Priest in the Eastern Orthodox faith.

Cardinal

In the Roman Catholic faith, a dignity conferred upon Bishops making them Princes of the church.

Cash Advance

Any item of service or merchandise described to a purchaser as a "cash advance," "accommodation," "cash disbursement," or similar term. A cash advance item is also any item obtained from a third party and paid for by the funeral provider on the purchaser's behalf. Cash advance items may include, but are not limited to: cemetery or crematory services; pallbearers; public transportation; clergy honoria; flowers; musicians or singers; nurses; obituary notices; gratuities and death certificates.

Casket Bearer (Pallbearer)

One who actively bears or carries the casket during the funeral service and at the committal service.

Cassock, Alb

A garment reaching the ankles, black worn by secular priests (white in the tropics), purple worn by bishops, red worn by cardinals and white worn by the Pope.

Celebrant

The officiant who celebrates the Mass in the Roman catholic church.

Cemetery

An area of ground set aside and dedicated for the final disposition of dead human bodies.

Cemetery Tent

A portable shelter employed to cover the grate area during the committal.

Ceremonies

Sacred public worship.

Certified Copy of a Death Certificate

A legal copy of the original death certificate.

Chalice, Calix

A vessel in which wine is consecrated at mass. Composed of the cuppa (cup), nodus (stem) and the base (foot).

Chancel

The place about the altar of the church, usually enclosing the clergy and other officials.

Chant

The singing or intoning of all liturgical portions of a service.

Chapel

A building or designated area of a building in which services are conducted.

Chaplain

An ecclesiastic attached to the military or to the chapel of an institution.

Chasuble, Casula

Outer garment worn by a priest during a Mass.

Chevrah Kadisha

Hebrew meaning "Holy Society". Holy Brotherhood of men or women from a synagogue who care for the dead. (Often referred to as "washers" by laymen.)

Chrism

Holy oil.

Christian Burial Certificate

A letter or form from a Priest stating the eligibility of the deceased, for burial in a Roman Catholic Cemetery.

Christian Burial Permit

A letter or form from a Priest stating the eligibility of the deceased, for burial in a Roman Catholic Cemetery.

Christian Wake

A prayer service.

Columbarium

A structure, room, or space in a mausoleum or other building containing niches or recesses used to hold cremated remains.

Commentator, Presentor

A lay person who leads prayer and/or reads scripture.

Committal Service

That portion of the funeral, which is conducted at the place of disposition of dead human bodies.

Common Carrier

Any carrier required by law to convey passengers or freight without refusal if the approved fare or charge is paid (airline, train, etc.)

Communion

Reception of the Eucharist (body and blood of Christ).

Communion-Chant

The chant that accompanies the distribution of communion.

Communion-Paten

A flat plate held under the chin at communion.

Concelebration

Corporate celebration of the same Mass by several priests.

Consecrated Ground

Ground set aside for a special purpose, blessed by the clergy.

Contemporary Funeral Rite

funeral observances that reflect present day (modern) influences in lieu of (or in addition to or as part of) the traditional ceremonies.

Cope

Semicircle cloak reaching the feet and provided with a hood.

Coroner

A public officer whose chief duty is to investigate questionable deaths. (Also see: Medical Examiner)

Corporal

A cloth upon which the Eucharist is placed.

Corpus Christi

From the Latin meaning, "the body of Christ".

Cortege

The procession of vehicles from the place of the funeral to the place of interment.

Cot

A portable stretcher commonly employed in an ambulance or transfer vehicle for the moving of the sick, injured, or deceased.

Cremains

Cremated human remains.

Cremation

The reduction of a dead human body to inorganic bone fragments by intense heat in a specifically designed retort or chamber.

Crematorium

A furnace or retort for cremating dead human bodies; a building that houses a retort.

Crematory

A furnace or retort for cremating dead human bodies; a building that houses a retort.

Cross

A religious emblem consisting of two plain bars, which intersect at right angles to each other.

Crossbearer

One who carries the crucifix/cross during an ecclesiastical procession.

Cruicfer

One who carries the crucifix/cross during an ecclesiastical procession.

Crucifix

A cross with a figure or image representing the body of Christ (corpus christi) on it.

Crypt

A chamber in a mausoleum, of sufficient size, generally used to contain the casketed remains of a deceased person.

Dalmatic

The deacon's vestment.

Daven

To pray

Deacon

In the Roman Catholic faith, a member of the clerical order clergy) just below a Priest. Also defined as a subordinate officer in a Christian church.

Death Certificate

A legal document containing vital statistic, disposition, and final medical information pertaining to the deceased.

Death Notice

classified notices publicizing the death of a person and giving those details of the funeral service that the survivors wish to have published.

Deceased

One in whom all physical life has ceased.

Dentures

false teeth.

Department of Veterans Affairs or VA (previously known as Veterans Administration)

A federal agency that administers benefits provided by law for veterans of the armed forces.

Diocese

In the Roman Catholic faith, a geographical grouping of Parishes under the jurisdiction of a Bishop.

Deposition Permit

A legal document, issued by a governmental agency, authorizing transportation and/or disposition, of a dead human body.

Divine Liturgy

Liturgical celebration of the Eucharist in eastern Orthodox churches.

Ecclesiastial

Of the church or clergy.

Ecumenical

an epithet applied to a council regarded as representing the whole of Christendom.

Elegy

Song or poem expressing sorrow or lamentation for the dead.

El Molei Rachamin

In the Jewish faith, a memorial service; literally "God full of compassion"; usually the last prayer of the funeral service; sometimes referred to as the Molei.

Entombment

The placing of a remains in a crypt in a mausoleum.

Entrance Rite

Approach of the celebrant and his assistants to public worship.

Epistle

the right side of the church ( as the congregation faces the altar ) from which readings and prayers are often proclaimed.

Epistle Side

That side of the chancel containing the lectern, from which the Old Testament and Epistle lessons, are read.

Epitaph

A commemorative inscription on a tomb or cemetery marker.

Escort

To accompany, as a leader of the procession or guardian of the group.

Eternal Light

Traditionally an oil lamp.

Eucharist

The consecrated elements of Holy Communion.

Eucharistic Minister

Layperson sanctioned to administer Holy Communion and other assigned tasks.

Eulogy

An oration praising an individual, usually after death.

Exequies

Liturgy of the dead.

Final Comendation

In the Roman Catholic faith, the ending portion of the Funeral Mass.

First Call

The moving of the dead human body from the place of death to the funeral home or other designated place.

First Call Car

The automobile generally used for transporting the uncasketed dead human body from the place of death to the mortuary.

Forwarding Remains

One of the categories required to be itemized on the GPL (if the funeral provider offers the service). This involves services of the funeral provider in the locale where death occurs and preparation for transfer to another funeral provider as selected by the family (consumer). Funeral Rule requires package pricing of this service with a description of the components included.

Foyer

The entry way into the funeral home or church.

Fraternal

Belonging to a brother; of or relating to a brotherhood.

Funeral Mass (Mass of Christian Burial or Funeral Liturgy)

The name of the funeral service in the Roman Catholic Church.

Funeral Service

The rites held at the time of disposition of human remains, with the body present.

Funeral Arrangements

The term applied to the completing the financial and service details of a funeral.

Funeral Profession

The procession of vehicles from the place of the funeral to the place of disposition.

Genuflect

The act of bending the knee as an indication of reverence or as an act of humility.

Gilgul Hanefesh

Transmigration of the soul.

Gospel

the left side of the church (as the congregation faces the altar) from which sermons are preached.

Gratuity (Tip)

Gift or small sum of money tendered for a service provided.

Grave

An excavation in the earth as a place for interment.

Grave Straps

webbing or similar material used for lowering the casket into the grave.

Guaranteed Contract

one where the funeral home guarantees that the services and merchandise will be provided at the time of need for an amount not exceeding the original amount of the contract plus any accruals, regardless of the cost of providing the services and merchandise at the time of the funeral.

Hesped

In the Jewish faith, a eulogy or true evaluation of the deceased's life that is a part of the funeral service.

Holy Water

Consecrated (blessed) water.

Homily, Sermon

Preaching the word of God by the clergy.

Honorarium (Plural: Honoraria; Honorariums)

a nominal compensation or recognition for service performed.

Honorary Casket Bearers (Honorary Pallbearers)

Friends of the family or members of an organization or group who act as an escort or honor guard for the deceased. They do not carry the casket.

Honorary Pallbearers

Friends of the family or members of an organization or group who act as an escort or honor guard for the deceased. They do not carry the casket.

Host

The consecrated bread of the Eucharist.

Humanistic Funeral

A funeral rite that is in essence devoid of religious connotation.

Icon

In the Eastern Orthodox faith, a holy pictures; usually mosaic or painted on wood.

Iconostasis

In the Eastern Orthodox church, the partition that extends across the front of the church separating the sanctuary from the solea.

Incense

A mixture of various resins burned to produce a pleasant odor; used in Church rituals.

IHS

The first three letters in the Greek word for Jesus.

Imam

In the Islam faith, the leader of the local congregation.

Informant

One who supplies the vital statistic information concerning the deceased.

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