At our local parish, a deacon's homily was a eulogy for one of his friends. It seems a eulogy to praise people at Sunday Masses when we are there to worship God is a clear violation of rubrics. Am I wrong in being scandalized by his actions?
I am confident that your deacon meant well, and perhaps his intention was to inspire the congregation to follow the virtuous example of his friend. Still, I agree that it’s best to point to the saints when we want to inspire other Christians to virtue. As you describe it, a “eulogy” is out of place during the homily at the Sunday parish Mass; while you need not be scandalized at his actions, it is appropriate to be concerned.
Even during the funeral, “eulogies” are not to be given. The Order of Christian Funerals General Introduction no. 27 states: “A brief homily based on the readings is always given after the gospel reading at the funeral liturgy and may also be given after the readings at the vigil service; but there is never to be a eulogy.” After Holy Communion, a friend or relative can “speak some words in remembrance” of the deceased, but acquired pastoral experience suggests that only one person should speak, the remarks should be brief (two typed pages double space), and the celebrant should insist on this with family members before the funeral Liturgy commences.
Rev. Francis J. Hoffman, JCD (Fr. Rocky) is Executive Director of Relevant Radio. Ordained as a priest for Opus Dei in 1992 by Blessed John Paul II, he holds a doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, an MBA from the University of Notre Dame, and a BA in History from Northwestern University. His Question and Answer column appears in several Catholic newspapers and magazines across the country.