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Planning a Funeral

Music Notes

Music Selections for the Funeral Liturgy

In the Catholic Funeral Mass, the community gathers to give thanks to God for Christ’s victory over sin and death, to commend our loved ones to the Lord’s mercy and care, and to proclaim the paschal mystery.

“Music is integral to the funeral rites.” It allows the community to express convictions and feelings that words alone may fail to convey. It has the power to console and uplift the mourners and to strengthen the unity of the assembly in faith and love. The texts of the songs chosen for a particular celebration should express the paschal mystery of the Lord’s,  suffering, death, and triumph over death.” (Order of Christian Funerals, par. 30)

At any Catholic liturgy, it is always the intention of the Church to facilitate the full, active, conscious participation of the assembled worshippers. This is no less true at a Funeral Mass. Each part of the Mass has its own purpose and character. The Music Director offers these suggestions with a brief explanation of what the liturgy calls for at these times during the Mass.

Entrance Procession: A song for the entire congregation as a sign of unity and solidarity rather than a song suitable only to a soloist.

Responsorial Psalm: Must be a psalm text and in responsorial style that calls for the participation of the entire congregation.

Presentation of Gifts (Offertory): This can be a hymn, solo piece, or instrumental. Since it is not tied to any particular ritual action, the music here can be more flexible-such as a hymn or song to the Blessed Mother, if so desired.

Communion Song: We sing during communion procession as a sign of our unity. Music that speaks directly of communion, the Lord’s Supper and unity is most important here.

Recessional Hymn: We sing together as we depart from the Church.



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“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.”