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jennica 01-02-2011 07:50 AM

My uncle just died and I attended his funeral. My relatives are all Catholic and the person who spoke at the funeral was a deacon. My uncle was a well respected auto mechanic who owned a shop in our area. The deacon kept saying that my uncle was now a mechanic in heaven. That there was a shop there with no one to run it and now my uncle is up there fixing everyone's cars. I'm not religious and don't believe in heaven, but this sentiment really bugged me. Is this in line with Catholic teachings, or was the deacon not being literal and I just didn't realize it? I mean, if my car is going to break down in heaven, it doesn't sound like a very great place to be. And now that my uncle is in heaven, he gets to work as a car mechanic for eternity? That sounds like a punishment and not a reward. No one in the audience seemed to think this was odd, and they even seemed comforted by the deacon's speech. They told him afterward how great it was. I didn't think it was so great, he talked more about his own family than my uncle, but this is how every Catholic funeral I have been to seems to be so maybe that is typical as well? I guess I wasn't comforted and am wondering if this is a real Catholic  teaching or not.

Trigger 01-02-2011 09:08 AM

I suspect that he was trying to use the mechanic thing as an analogy.  Catholics are supposed to avoid lengthy eulogies at funerals, we believe that the fond memories of a person are to be celebrated at a wake or other event outside of the funeral liturgy.


I'm so sorry for your loss.

Bebe's Mom 01-02-2011 09:27 AM

I am sure it was an analogy, Catholics are big on analogous stories...If you have ever heard a homily by a priest, you would recognize this technique, although usually a priest will do a reading from the Bible and then relate it to a person's life...Sorry for your loss.

Llyra 01-04-2011 11:22 AM

I'm guessing he meant it humorously, and non-literally. I remember when my grandfather died (also Catholic, a lot of my mother's family are), the parish priest quipped that he guessed God was in need of a good electrician-- that maybe Heaven's wiring had gone bad, and so He called my Pop to Him to deal with the problem. It was all meant in gentle fun, as a way of remembering what made my Pop unique.

Shami 01-04-2011 07:53 PM

Jennica, I am so sorry for your loss and also sorry that you had a bad experience at the memorial service.


I don't know your uncle so I cannot speak for where he is now.


I can say that God's view of where the believers end up is with Him, praising, singing, and enjoying God for eternity in an organic union with Him.


All the material things of this earth will pass away.  To picture images of playing golf or fixing cars is an earthly view.  I don't believe the deacon meant to hurt any one, but I can understand that making 'light' of it might not comfort everyone. 


fyi, I am not Catholic.  Just a believer, who feels sad and a little outraged when something so pure as the New Jerusalem (God and the believers joined for eternity) is made so lowly.

chfriend 01-05-2011 10:28 AM

He was sharing a gentle, fond memory of your uncle, while affirming that your uncle lives on in eternity.


My dad's memorial mass was last week. My brother was using my dad's car at one point, with us saying "'because Dad won't be needing to drive it now." My 6 year old asked if G'pa was driving an invisible car in heaven now. Somehow, the image was comforting.


My bet is that the priest meant it that way.


May you be comforted.

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