Funeral Officiant Duties

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The death of a loved one can be a difficult time for many people. Families are forced to plan funerals and help create a lasting memory for all who once knew the deceased person. One detail needed for a memorial service is a master of ceremonies. For those who have a religious faith, it may be the priest or pastor of their church. For those who do not belong to a specific church, there is the funeral officiant. A funeral officiant assumes the duties of controlling the flow of a memorial service. During this event, they may offer spiritually uplifting phrases to help all guests find peace with their loss.

Gather Information

A funeral officiant takes time to speak with the remaining family members. During this time, the officiant gains information regarding the life lived by the deceased person. Information regarding past employment history, favorite part of certain jobs and work-related memories will start a memorial service speech. All information gained is used to eloquently portray the beauty of the life that was once held. Funeral officiants will discuss their own personal memories if they knew the deceased, and discuss memories that families and friends have shared. Learning about the children, grandchildren and close family relationships a deceased had helps the funeral officiant determine the proper spiritual phrases and Biblical verses to use during a sermon.

Create a Lasting Impression

Funerals help families find closure and come to terms with the death and loss of a loved one. A funeral officiant will open the floor to the funeral attendees. This gives family and friends the opportunity to share a personal experience or fond memory about the person who has passed with everyone else who loved him. The process of sharing positive memories helps each person find closure in knowing that the death is not a life lost, but a celebration of the life that was once lived. Funeral officiants create picture slide shows and memory boards for guests to view that also create a positive lasting impression of the loved one lost. Finally, the service is drawn to a close with a choice phrase that indicates to survivors that their loved ones is safe, happy and would not want them to be sad. The verses and phrases chosen for a service are based upon information and background of the deceased person and his family. Deeply religious phrases may be used for a Catholic funeral, whereas lighter, common phrases may be used for a nondenominational service.

Direct the Service

From greeting people at the door of the funeral home, to conducting the service, to the graveside and then to the reception, a funeral officiant remains in command. The duties of a funeral officiant include starting and ending the service at the funeral home, continuing the service at the graveside and then ultimately directing the family and friends to a reception. Families may invite the officiant to join in the final reception if she was close to the deceased.


Giselle Diamond is a freelance writer and has been writing since 1999. Diamond is experienced in writing in all genres and subjects, with distinguished experience in home and garden, culture and society, literature and psychology. Diamond has a Master of Arts in English and psychology from New York University. Diamond has articles published on both eHow and LiveStrong.