Laypersons now burying the dead instead of priests —Austria

Premiere in the Catholic Church of Carinthia: Bishop Marketz commissioned 22 laypeople to conduct funerals, farewells and urn burials for the first time

O Bishop, your priests are too busy synoding to bury the dead.

This is the Bishop that prioritises Ecology over the Assumption of Our Lady.

The following women and men (in alphabetical order) will receive the Episcopal decree during a Vespers in the Chapel of the Sodalitas Catholic Education Center in Tainach/Tinje and will take up the newly introduced service as funeral directors:

Gabriela Amruš-Glantschnig, nursing home chaplain of the Diocese of Gurk

Prof. Mag. Hannes Berger, Tröpolach, religion teacher

Dieter Frierss, Villach-St. Martin, Pastoral Care

Mag. Marjan Gallob, St. Jakob/Petschnitzen/St. Niklas, pastoral assistant

Christine Görtschacher, Klagenfurt-Dompfarre, retired pastoral assistant

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Brigitta Höfferer, Klagenfurt-St. Egid, retired pastoral worker

Sabine Kahle, Althofen, honorary leader of the word service

Sabine Kämmerer, Villach-St. Martin, pastoral assistant

Benno Karnel, Spittal, regional officer

Maria Konrad, Villach-St. Martin, pastoral assistant

Mag. Christian Leitgeb, pastoral assistant

Hildegard Merle, Obervellach, retired religion teacher

Helmut Nagele, Klagenfurt-St. Egid, pastoral assistant

Ingrid Pak-Ramusch MSc, Maria Elend, religion teacher

Franz Pipp, Völkermarkt, pastoral assistant

Dipl. Theol. Prepeluh Primož, Maria Elend/Ludmannsdorf/Kappel, pastoral assistant

Andrea Scherer, Zedlitzdorf, honorary leader of the word service

Eva Schwarz-Dellemeschnig, Maria Pulst/Glantschach/Zweikirchen, pastoral assistant

Angela Suntinger, Spittal/Amlach/Molzbichl, retired pastoral assistant

Mag. Heidi Wassermann-Dullnig, Villach-St. Joseph, pastoral assistant

Mag. Elisabeth Zech, Klagenfurt-Dompfarre, retired religion teacher

Mag. Franz Zlanabitnig, Pörtschach am Berg, retired theologian

Trained laypersons as funeral directors are “an important and necessary step”

Content of the training

The contents of the training include dealing with grief, biblical approaches to death and grief, communication training for grief talks, information about the legal and canonical framework, the liturgical celebration, the wake prayer and liturgical training on how to organize the funeral service. In addition to preparing and leading the funeral liturgy, the service of the funeral directors also includes accompanying and advising the relatives in the event of bereavement.

The prerequisite for completing the training course is a theological qualification (minimum requirement: "Theological correspondence course") and a completed course for the extraordinary distribution of communion as well as for the management of celebrations of the Word of God and blessing celebrations. In a one-to-one discussion in the run-up to the training, pastoral competence in dealing with mourners, the ability to empathize and mental resilience are also tested.