The Catholic funeral rites have three stages (Vigil, Funeral Mass and Committal) that take us through the grief process and are related to the principle Catholic beliefs of dying, death and the afterlife.
The Vigil is the initial rite celebrated by the community after the death of the person. People offer both prayer and comfort to the family of the deceased here. In the Vigil service, reading, reflecting on the Word of God is and calling upon Him through intercessory prayer is done. This links to how Catholics believe that the dead are still with the community of believers on earth and therefore will benefit in the afterlife from the community's prayers and intercession even though they are separated from living. Thus, another link is formed with the Catholic principle belief about how all people appear before God in the after life at first for a 'particular judgement.' God decides whether the person will enter heaven-a place where Catholics believe that those good and devoted to God will go as a reward of seeing God.
Catholics believe that Jesus opened up heaven for all true believers, where there will be: "...no more death, no more grief or dying or pain..." (Revelation 21:4). Or they may go into eternal punishment of hell.-A place of isolation that Catholics believe those who reject God's love will go. By calling upon God through intercessory prayer, the community ensures that God will make the right judgement for the person.
This stage also gives an opportunity for family and friends to recall the memory of their loved one and acknowledge how they forever will be remembered. (Eulogy). Declaring that the person will always remembered relates to how Catholics believe that death is not the end nor does it break the bonds of family, friendship and community...