A funeral is a time of sadness and mourning. But for Christians it is also a time to rejoice, for Jesus Christ has won a great victory over death and made it possible for us to pass through to new and eternal life. This is our unwavering hope.
In a Catholic funeral we pray that our deceased brother or sister be admitted into paradise. We also derive strength from family and friends and lend our support to others in what can be a very difficult time.
We hope that you find this information of some help when arranging the funeral of your loved one.
One of the first decisions to make is if you would like music at the funeral. It is the responsibility of the family to contact an organist and singer /choir.
Try to do this as soon as possible.
The organist will help you choose your preferred hymns. There are normally 5 hymns chosen for the Mass – Entrance, Offertory, Communion, Communion Reflection and Recessional. The Responsorial Psalm may also be sung. A sample of suitable hymns can provided in if required.
It is important to remember that the funeral Mass is a sacred ceremony and therefore non- liturgical ‘songs’ are not appropriate. Organ music can provide a quiet and prayerful atmosphere at the beginning of the service, when mourners are likely to be upset and in need of a calming atmosphere.
We encourage family members and friends to take part in the Liturgy of the Word by reading the First Reading, the Responsorial Psalm (if not sung), the Second Reading, Gospel Acclamation and Prayers of the Faithful. A selection of readings and Prayers of the Faithful are provided in this booklet.
The First Reading is always taken from the Old Testament and the Second Reading from the New Testament. We encourage those who are reading to make themselves familiar with the text and have no problems with pronunciation.
We are not able to include other readings, such as poetry, at Mass.
Prayers of the Faithful
The Prayers of the Faithful are always introduced by the priest.
Four or five prayers, read by family members or friends, then follow. One or more people may read these. To assist you with your choice of prayers, the Prayers of the Faithful included in this booklet have been placed under different headings to suit different circumstances. The priest concludes the Prayers of the Faithful
Family members of friends bring the gifts for the Offertory of the Mass to the altar. Normally, four gifts are brought – the chalice, the altar bread, the water and the wine, but it may be reduced to two if you so wish..
If you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.
An Outline of a Funeral Liturgy
At the entrance to the church the body is sprinkled with holy water, a reminder of baptism.
The Liturgy of the Word
First Reading (Old Testament)
Second Reading (New Testament)
Prayers of the Faithful
Liturgy of the Eucharist
The Offertory* (Bread and wine are brought to the altar)
The Eucharistic Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer
Final Commendation and Farewell
The body is sprinkled with holy water and honored with incense.
After The Funeral
The Memorial Mass
It is traditional in many parishes to have a Memorial Mass or Month’s Mind for the deceased in the weeks following the funeral. The Month’s Mind is an opportunity to once again commend the deceased to our loving God. It is celebrated in an atmosphere of prayerful remembrance, of gratitude for those who have offered sympathy and of hope in the resurrection.