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    A Look at How Funerals Have Changed Over Time

    Last updated 4 days ago

    Funeral customs are constantly evolving with the passage of time. For instance, inviting people to a funeral, which was once done exclusively by phone, is now often done by sending e-card invitations. Services that were once only held in religious institutions are now being held everywhere from favorite restaurants to parks. How did the funerals of the past compare with today’s customs? Here’s a look at some old funeral traditions that have disappeared. 

    Families Tending the Deceased

    Before funeral homes were established, it was customary for families to tend to their lost loved one themselves. They would wash the deceased, dress them for burial, hold viewings at the house, and bury the person on family land. This practice began to change when families started calling cabinetmakers to create coffins for burials. Eventually, some cabinetmakers made coffins their full-time business, and funeral homes grew around those services.

    New Preservation Techniques

    Embalming is the norm today, but it only dates back to Civil War times. The practice was invented so that lost soldiers could be sent back home to their families for funerals and burial, and it has persisted. The first president to be embalmed was Abraham Lincoln.

    Funeral Directors’ Expanding Roles

    In the early days of the funeral industry, selling coffins was the main focus. As funeral homes expanded, they began providing other services, such as facilitating funeral planning and hosting visitations. Today, funeral directors must wear many hats. In addition to the practical support they offer to families, one of the biggest jobs for directors today is to provide emotional support for grieving families. They must listen to families talk about their feelings and offer referrals to grief support services as needed.

    Today, Chapel of the Chimes is a full-service funeral home that can help with every aspect of funeral planning. From pre-need services to personalized memorials, we meet all of your needs in a single location. Get the support you need with funeral planning by calling our Hayward funeral home at (866) 475-9407. 

    Mandela Monument Design Competition Draws Hundreds of Submissions

    Last updated 10 days ago

    SAN MATEO, Calif. – Nov. 7, 2014 – Nearly 200 design entries were submitted for the creation of a permanent monument honoring the life of the late Nelson Mandela. Skylawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park and Chapel of the Chimes partnered with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Oakland chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on the contest which was open to all U.S. residents over 13 years of age and closed in mid-October. By Dec. 31, 2014, the Nelson Mandela Foundation will announce the winning memorial designer’s name, along with the date of the unveiling ceremony which will take place in summer 2015. Skylawn will construct the winning design and permanently host the monument at its park in San Mateo.

    Hundreds of architects, artists and students from across the country honored Mandela’s contributions to world peace, human rights, social justice and democracy through their designs. The competition judges were touched by the deeply personal impact the creative process had on the designers. Many cited the process as a way to truly understand the importance of humility and Mandela’s legacy. 

    Read more here.

    A Look at Catholic Funeral Customs

    Last updated 17 days ago

    In the Catholic faith, funeral rituals allow loved ones the time to accept their loss while coming to terms through several events revolving around prayer and blessing of the deceased. Some of the traditions may vary, as there are differing degrees of Catholic orthodoxy that may guide a family’s choices for the funeral services. However, most Catholic funerals still include the following features, which are all conventional in the faith. 

    Vigil prayer service

    Instead of a funeral or wake, those in the Catholic faith will hold a Vigil, which does historically involve a viewing of the body. This service may take place in the home of the deceased or in a funeral home or church. During the Vigil, eulogies will be delivered as a priest or deacon presides over the service.

    Funeral Mass

    During Funeral Mass, which is led by a priest, there is no eulogy, but rather a priest will deliver a sermon and guide friends and loved ones through a set of prayers, hymns, and readings. These selections may be coordinated with the priest if any psalms or hymns have a special meaning for the deceased. While this service is primarily led by members of the Church, loved ones may participate as ushers, pallbearers, readers, or musicians. The music selected for Catholic Funeral Mass should consist only of church music.

    Burial traditions

    Interment, or the Rite of Committal in the case of the Catholic faith, is the final service performed to send off loved ones in the Church. Close family and friends gather at the burial site, mausoleum, or columbarium, which will be blessed before the body is laid to rest. The ritual is completed with the Lord’s Prayer. Traditionally, cremation was not condoned by the Catholic Church, but more progressive members of the faith are now accepting of this practice. If cremation does take place, it should be following the Vigil and Mass.

    Regardless of your family’s requests and faith in funeral planning, Chapel of the Chimes can accommodate your needs. Our peaceful and beautiful grounds feature the Circle of Peace Mausoleum along with several manicured gardens, so your loved one can have peaceful surroundings in his or her final resting place. To begin planning services with our Hayward funeral directors, visit our website or call us at (866) 475-9407. 

    Dia de los Muertos Celebration - Nov. 1, 2014

    Last updated 24 days ago

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    Moving through the Stages of Grief

    Last updated 25 days ago

    When considering the stages of grief, it is important to recognize that some people move through each and every stage of the process while others may skip certain phases or dwell on them. As this video explains, every stage of grief is considered a normal reaction to loss, but moving on from these feelings is critical to the healing process. Getting stuck on anger or depression may lead to the need for grief support or therapy so that physical reactions to death are not a persistent issue following loss.

    At Chapel of the Chimes, we have a staff of counselors and grief specialists led by our executive counseling director who can point you to the resources you need. You can reach out to us for support during the grieving process by calling (866) 475-9407 or visiting our website. 

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