A beautiful funeral Mass for Eugenia Edna Rendace was held in the historic Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church.
Upon entering the church, attendees were given a prayer card with her picture on one side and the poem, The Broken Chain, on the other. Her blue-gray steel casket was already positioned at the front of the church. A pianist played soothing music as we waited for the service to start.
The church bell chimed the hour and all rose as two deacons and a bishop started the service. The family came forward and helped spread the pall over the casket as the assembled sang “How Great Thou Art.”
Part of Isaiah Chapter 25 was read:
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples,
The web that is woven over all nations.
He will destroy death forever.
The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces;
The reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken.
On that day it will be said: “Indeed, this is our God; we looked to him, and he saved us!
This is the LORD to whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”
In a responsive reading of the 23rd Psalm, the assembled intoned, “The Lord is my shepherd. There is nothing I shall want.”
A portion of the letter from Paul to the Romans (14:7-12) was read:
We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Why do you pass judgement on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God. For it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.’ So then, each of us will be accountable to God.
A song of praise, “The Celtic Alleluia,” was sung. A woman signed all of the prayers and songs to someone in the front row. Eugenia had attended the School for the Deaf in Santa Fe.
Bishop Arthur Tafoya spoke, saying, “Today’s consoling readings remind us of the Resurrection and the Life. Let us rejoice and be glad in the Lord… Eugenia was very faithful to God. She took the Eucharist at home when she couldn’t make it to church. We belong to God, and she gave herself to God when she was baptized. It continues through the Eucharist.”
“We celebrate her entry into eternal life. The veil is torn aside and she sees God face to face. Today, let us celebrate her life here and her entry into the heavenly kingdom. May the sadness of death give way to immortality.”
Communion was prepared, with the wine and water and the host brought forward and blessed. While these preparations took place, the pianist played and sang a version of The Prayer of St. Francis.
Those who were Catholic and well-disposed to receive communion were invited to come forward. Those who were not Catholic nor well-disposed (that is, they needed to go to confession) were invited to sit in prayer. Afterward, there was a long moment of silence for contemplation.
In closing, the bishop swung a censure of incense around the casket while the “Song of Farewell” by Ernest Sands played:
May the choirs of angels come to greet you.
May they speed you to paradise.
May the Lord enfold you in His mercy.
May you find eternal life.
The Lord is my light and my help;
It is he who protects me from harm.
The Lord is the strength of my days;
Before whom should I tremble with fear?
There is one thing I ask of the Lord;
That He grant me my heartfelt desire.
To dwell in the courts of our God
Everyday of my life in His presence.
To the song, “Fly Like a Bird,” the family escorted Eugenia’s casket to the door of the church, where the pall was removed. Her body was then taken for burial at the Mt. Calvary Cemetery. May she flourish in the courts of heaven.