From earliest times, human beings have developed rituals around death. It is a time to say good bye to the person who has died, a time to celebrate their life and accomplishments, a time to mourn, and for those of us who believe in Jesus Christ, it is a time of rejoicing. Christ opened the gates of heaven by his victory over death. As a result of his passion, death, and resurrection, we are now able to enter the heavenly banquet. This gives us hope.
Some people may wish to plan their own funeral. This is helpful to the family, but take care not to minimize the rituals. Remember that your family and friends need time to grieve and to be supported by the worshipping community of family and friends. The model for the funeral liturgy is the same as the Sunday liturgy, with all parts being sung. The Catholic Church has always encouraged prayer for those who have died. Celebration of the Eucharist is our highest and best prayer. Praying for the dead reflects our Catholic belief that death does not end our existence, but only changes it. Prayers to our merciful God on their behalf benefits everyone involved.
Our relationships with our family and friends remain intact after death. To honor them, we show them respect with a proper burial and pray for them on their journey to heaven. Once there, they pray for us.
When a member dies, the Church Community of family and friends gather to offer prayers immediately after death if circumstances allow, during the wake service, during the procession to the church, during the funeral liturgy itself and the committal at the cemetary. Each of these elements are an important part of the funeral ritual and should not be diminished.
To print a Funeral Planning Sheet, please click on the link.
Click here for a list is of music that is appropriate for funeral liturgies.
APPROPRIATE READINGS FOR FUNERAL MASS
First Reading - Old Testament
(or other appropriate Old Testament reading)
Job 19: 1, 23-26 - I know that my Redeemer lives.
Wisdom 3: 1-9 - As gold in the furnace, he proved them. (Long Version)
Wisdom 3: 1-6, 9 (Short Version)
Wisdom 4: 7-15 - A blameless life is a ripe old age.
Isaiah 25: 6a, 7-9 - The Lord God will destroy death for ever.
Lamentations 3: 17-26 - It is good to wait in silence for the Lord God to save
Daniel 12: 1-3 - Of those who lie sleeping in the dust of the earth many will awake.
Second Reading - New Testament
(or other appropriate New Testament Reading)
Acts 10: 34-43 - God has appointed Jesus to judge everyone, alive and dead
Romans 5: 5-11 - Having been justified by his blood, we will be saved from God's anger through him.
Romans 5: 17-21 - Whee sin increased, there grace abounded all the more
Romans 6: 3-9 - Let us walk in newness of life
Romans 8: 14-23 - We groan while we wait for the redemption of our bodies
Romans 8: 31b-35, 37-39 - Who can ever come between us and the love of Christ?
Romans 14: 7-12 - Whether alive or dead, we belong to the Lord
1 Corinthians 15: 20-28 - All people will be brought to life in Christ
1 Corinthians 15: 51-57 - Death is swallowed up in victory
2 Corinthians 4: 13-5:1 - What is seen is transitory; what is unseen is eternal
2 Corinthians 5:1, 6-10 - We have an everlasting home in heaven
Philippians 3:20-21 - Jesus will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours to be like his glorious body.
1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18 - We shall stay with the Lord for ever.
2 Timothy 2: 8-13 - If we have died with him, then we shall live with him.
1 John 3:1-2 - We shall see God as he really is
1 John 3: 14-16 - We have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers and sisters
Revelation 14;13 - Happy are those who die in the Lord
Revelation 20: 11 - 21:1 - The dead have been judged according to their works
Revelation 31: 1-5a, 6b-7 - There will be no more death
(or other appropriate readings from the Gospels)
Matthew 5: 1-12a - The Beatitudes
Matthew 11: 25-30 - Come to me...and I will give you rest
Matthew 25: 1-13 - Look, the bridegroom comes. Go out to meet him.
Matthew 25: 31-46 - Come, you whom my Father has blessed
Mark 15: 33-39, 16: 1-6 - Jesus dies
Luke 7: 11- 17 - Young man, I say to you, arise.
Luke 12: 35-40 - Be prepared
Luke 23: 33, 39-43 - Today you will be with me in paradise.
Luke 23: 44-46, 50, 52-53, 24: 1-6a - Father, I put my life in your hands.
Luke 24: 13-35 - Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?
John 5: 24-29 - Whoever hears my word and believes has passed from death to life
John 6: 37-40 - All who believe in the Son will have eternal life and I will raise them to life
on the last day.
John 6: 51-59 - All who eat this bread will live for ever; and I will raise them up on the last day.
John 11: 17-27 - I am the resurrection and the life.
John 11:32-45 - Lazarus, come out
John 12: 23-28 - If a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies, it yields a rich harvest.
John 14: 1-6 - There are many rooms in my Father's house
John 17: 24-26 - Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am
John 19; 17-18, 25-30 - Jesus dies on the cross