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Whitney Houston Invite

It's NOT a Funeral

It's a 'Home Going' Service

2/17/2012 8:40 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Official Whitney Houston invitation... not a funeral... but rather a home going service.
Here's the official Whitney Houston invitation ... and  Whitney's family is not referring to the singer's burial ceremony as a "funeral" ... but rather a "home going service."

The invite -- obtained by TMZ -- reads, "With heartfelt gratitude, the Houston Family requests the honor of your presence at the home going service for Whitney Elizabeth Houston."

A "home going" service is more common in the black community and is usually more upbeat and positive than a typical funeral. The focus is to honor the deceased as they go "home" to Heaven to be with God.

As we previously reported, the ceremony at The New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, NJ will be a very exclusive affair ... with a guest list hand-selected by Whitney's family.

The event will begin at 12:00 PM EST -- with several of Houston's famous friends expected to participate in the service ... including Kevin Costner, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin.

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