Scheduling a Funeral
“Christians celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God for the gift of a life, which has now been returned to God, the author of life and the hope of the just. The Mass, the memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection, is the principal celebration for the Christian funeral.”
– Order of Christian Funerals
Planning a Funeral Mass
Every funeral provides a grace-filled occasion for every participant to be evangelized anew by the Good News of Jesus. Therefore, as you plan your funeral or that of a loved one, please consider the following guidelines, which strive to articulate our beliefs and practices pertaining to Catholic funerals.
There are various ways of celebrating funerals. A Catholic funeral traditionally includes three parts:
- A vigil (wake) service often at a funeral home/Reception
- The funeral Mass in the church
- Committal prayers at the cemetery
The priest who assists in planning the funeral rites will work with the family to select the most appropriate liturgical format. At times, depending on circumstances, certain elements (for example, the vigil service) may be omitted. Also, each stage of the funeral rites provides the celebrant and the family of the deceased with several options. The funeral rites contain a rich variety of scriptural readings and prayers from which to choose. Regardless of which specific options are chosen, a Catholic funeral is always a time to pause, to grieve, and to reflect on our eternal destiny in God. In a society that tends to accommodate less and less time for this important moment, Catholic funerals provide a much-
needed spiritual reminder.
It is helpful to collaborate with the pastoral staff of a parish when planning a funeral. When faced with the loss of a loved one, immediate planning of a funeral may be a first-time experience. For parish staff, especially the clergy, the death of a loved one is a uniquely privileged and graced opportunity for the parish to initiate outreach to the family, to welcome and to minister to them. The parish priest along with the parish staff can help expedite the task of planning the funeral rites and make the process less burdensome. Planning also provides the priest and staff member with a better understanding of the life of the deceased. Families will help to adapt and personalize the funeral rites in a way that meaningfully conveys the Church’s consolation and prayer.
We offer the option for you to choose the readings and songs for your loved one’s Funeral Mass.
From each section below, please review the readings, choose one selection from each section, and indicate your choice on the Template.
Please review the Old Testament readings, choose a selection, and indicate your choice on the Funeral Mass Template.
Wisdom 3:1-6, 9
The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace. For if to others, indeed, they seem punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself. And the faithful shall abide with him in love: Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with the elect.
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 he 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!”
“At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people; It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since the nation began until that time. At that time your people shall escape, everyone who is found written in the book. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; Some to everlasting life, others to reproach and everlasting disgrace. But those with insight shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.
Job 19:1, 23-27
Job answered and said: “Oh, would that my words were written down! Would that they were inscribed in a record:that with an iron chisel and with lead they were cut in the rock forever! As for me, I know that my vindicator lives, and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust. This will happen when my skin has been stripped off, and from my flesh I will see God: I will see for myself, my own eyes, not another’s, will behold him: my inmost being is consumed with longing.”
But the righteous one, though he die early, shall be at rest. For the age that is honorable comes not with the passing of time, nor can it be measured in terms of years. Rather, understanding passes for gray hair, and an unsullied life is the attainment of old age. The one who pleased God was loved, living among sinners, was transported—Snatched away, lest wickedness pervert his mind or deceit beguile his soul; For the witchery of paltry things obscures what is right and the whirl of desire transforms the innocent mind. Having become perfect in a short while, he reached the fullness of a long career; for his soul was pleasing to the Lord, therefore he sped him out of the midst of wickedness. But the people saw and did not understand, nor did they take that consideration into account. Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones and his care is with his elect.
My life is deprived of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is; My enduring hope, I said, has perished before the Lord. The thought of my wretched homelessness is wormwood and poison; Remembering it over and over, my soul is downcast. But this I will call to mind; therefore I will hope: The Lord’s acts of mercy are not exhausted, his compassion is not spent; They are renewed each morning—great is your faithfulness! The Lord is my portion, I tell myself, therefore I will hope in him. The Lord is good to those who trust in him, to the one that seeks him; It is good to hope in silence for the Lord’s deliverance.
Please review the Responsorial Psalm readings, choose a selection, and indicate your choice on the Funeral Mass Template.
(R) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.
In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me; he restores my soul. (R)
He guides me along right paths for the sake of his name. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me. (R)
You set a table before me in front of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (R)
Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the LORD for endless days. (R)
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?
One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek: To dwell in the Lord’s house all the days of my life, To gaze on the Lord’s beauty, to visit his temple.
Hear my voice, Lord, when I call; have mercy on me and answer me. “Come,” says my heart, “seek his face”; your face, Lord, do I seek!
O God, you are my God—it is you I seek! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, in a land parched, lifeless, and without water.
I look to you in the sanctuary to see your power and glory. For your love is better than life; my lips shall ever praise you!
I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands, calling on your name. My soul shall be sated as with choice food, with joyous lips my mouth shall praise you!
I think of you upon my bed, I remember you through the watches of the night. You indeed are my savior, and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy. My soul clings fast to you; your right hand upholds me.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. (R)
He pardons all your iniquities, he heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion. (R)
He will not always chide, nor does he keep his wrath forever. Not according to our sins does he deal with us, nor does he requite us according to our crimes. (R)
For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us. (R)
R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living.
Gracious is the Lord and righteous; yes, our God is merciful. The Lord protects the simple; I was helpless, but he saved me. (R)
I kept faith, even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted!” I said in my alarm, “All men are liars!” (R)
Dear in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his devoted. Lord, I am your servant, you have loosed my bonds. (R)
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” And now our feet are standing within your gates, Jerusalem. Jerusalem, built as a city, walled round about. There the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord. (R)
As it was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord. There are the thrones of justice, the thrones of the house of David. (R)
For the peace of Jerusalem pray: “May those who love you prosper! May peace be within your ramparts, prosperity within your towers.” (R)
For the sake of my brothers and friends I say, “Peace be with you.” For the sake of the house of the Lord, our God, I pray for your good. (R)
R. Out of the depths, I cry to you, Lord.
Out of the depths I call to you, Lord; Lord, hear my cry! May your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, Lord, keep account of sins, Lord, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness and so you are revered. (R)
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and I hope for his word. My soul looks for the Lord more than sentinels for daybreak. (R)
More than sentinels for daybreak, let Israel hope in the Lord. For with the Lord is mercy, with him is plenteous redemption, and he will redeem Israel from all its sins.(R)
R. O Lord, hear my prayer.
Lord, hear my prayer; in your faithfulness listen to my pleading; answer me in your righteousness. Do not enter into judgment with your servant; before you no one can be just. (R)
I remember the days of old; I ponder all your deeds; the works of your hands I recall. I stretch out my hands toward you, my soul to you like a parched land. (R)
Hasten to answer me, Lord; for my spirit fails me. Do not hide your face from me, lest I become like those descending to the pit. In the morning let me hear of your mercy, for in you I trust. (R)
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your kind spirit guide me on ground that is level. (R)
Please review the New Testament readings, choose a selection, and indicate your choice on the Funeral Mass Template.
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection. We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin. For a dead person has been absolved from sin. If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him.
Acts 10:34-36, 42-43
Then Peter proceeded to speak and said, “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him. You know the word [that] he sent to the Israelites as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Romans 8:31b-35, 37-39
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him? Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us. Who will condemn? It is Christ [Jesus] who died, rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For this is why Christ died and came to life, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. Why then do you judge your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bend before me,and every tongue shall give praise to God.” So [then] each of us shall give an account of himself [to God].
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep. Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, console one another with these words.
Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us. For Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath. Indeed, if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by his life. Not only that, but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us. For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
Revelation 21:1-5a, 6b-7
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them [as their God]. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order has passed away.” The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new. I [am] the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water. The victor will inherit these gifts, and I shall be his God, and he will be my son.”
1 Corinthians 15:20-23
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ.
Please review the Gospel readings, choose a selection, and indicate your choice on the Funeral Mass Planner Template.
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away. And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. [But] even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”
1 John 3:1-2
See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
At that time Jesus said in reply, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “Look, he is calling Elijah.” One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.” Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” And Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.” But some of them said, “Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this man would not have died?” So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay across it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.” Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.
Please review the Prayers of the Faithful, choose a selection, and indicate your choice on the Funeral Mass Planner Template.
Priest: For (name), let us pray to our Lord Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me shall live even in death and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.”
Lord, you consoled Martha and Mary in their distress; Draw near to us when we mourn for (name) and dry the tears of those who weep.
You wept at the grave of Lazarus, your friend; comfort us in our sorrow.
You raised the dead to life; give to our brother/sister eternal life.
You promised paradise to the repentant thief; Bring (name) to the joys of heaven.
Our brother/sister was washed in Baptism and anointed with the Holy Spirit; Give him/her fellowship with all your Saints.
He/she was nourished with your body and blood; Grant him/her a place at the table in your heavenly Kingdom.
Comfort us in our sorrow at the death of (name). Let our faith be our consolation and eternal life our hope.
Priest: God of holiness and power, accept our prayers on behalf of your servant (name); do not count his/her deeds against him/her, for in his/her heart he/she desired to do your will. As his/her faith united him/her to your people on earth, so may your mercy join him/her to the angels in heaven. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Priest: God the almighty Father, raised Christ His Son from the dead; with confidence we ask him to save his people, living and dead.
(Name) was given the promise of eternal life in baptism; Lord, give him/her communion with your saints forever.
(Name) ate the bread of eternal life, the body of Christ; raise him/her up, Lord, at the last day.
We pray for our brothers and sisters, our relatives, for all who were close to us and good to us; Lord, give them the reward of their goodness.
We pray for all who have died in the hope of rising again; welcome them, Lord, into the light of your presence.
We pray for all who have gathered here to worship in faith; Lord, make us one in your Kingdom.
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