Funeral Readings and Music

The funeral liturgy in the Catholic Church is a time for the family and friends of the deceased to gather with the larger church community for prayer and support. While there are many elements that lend focus and meaning to the Christian funeral, two are of particular importance: the Scripture readings proclaimed in church and the hymns, psalms and  acclamation sung by the assembly. Through the Scriptures, the Word of God, the church hears anew the promise of new life.  Similarly, the hymns, psalms and acclamations sung by the community during the funeral liturgy fill us with hope and consolation. Music has a unique ability to touch our heart, to heal our pain, to express our sorrow and to lift up our soul. In this brief brochure we offer some thoughts on the readings suggested for the liturgy as well as some hymns and psalms which may be chosen for use during the funeral Mass. We hope we will be able to discuss the funeral arrangements with you in person so that together we may rightfully and prayerfully bid farewell to your beloved family member in the church.

The Readings

In the funeral Mass a total of three readings is recommended. Family or friends of the deceased are encouraged to proclaim the first two readings while the priest or deacon normally reads the gospel. Generally, it is good to select a person who has some public speaking experience.

The complete text of these and the other funeral readings can be found in any Bible or by clicking here.  You may print them and give them to the persons delivering the readings.

  • The first reading is drawn from the books of the Jewish Bible, the Old Testament.
  • The Responsorial Psalm, which is usually sung, follows the first reading.  It is typically chosen by the organist.
  • The second reading is drawn from the pages of the New Testament.

The Music

In the funeral liturgy, there are four opportunities for hymns: The Gathering Song, when we enter the church, the Song at the Presentation of the Gifts, the Song at Communion and the Recessional Song, as we leave the church.  We offer the following suggestions for your consideration. The placement of the music is usually best left to the discretion and experience of the parish musician.

Please note: The music samples are given to familiarize yourself with the melody; therefore, musical arrangements may vary from church to church.  Every attempt will be made to accommodate your requests.

Click on a title to the right to view the verses and listen to a preview of the music.


Click on a title to review the verses and music.

Liturgical Forms

Coming Soon...


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