Introduction: The center piece of the Order of Christian Funerals is the Funeral Mass. It is the high point of the Church's pastoral care for the family and the most important prayer offered for the deceased. It is the Church's vision, however, that prayers are also to be offered immediately after death, at the Vigil (Wake) Service and at the graveside for the burial.

Our culture normally defines a funeral as a celebration of the life of the deceased. That certainly is true for us; but for Catholics, the funeral is more. This time of loss is a time for the faithful to renew their trust in Christ who by dying destroyed death and by rising opened the gates of heaven. Through the funeral rites, especially the Funeral Mass, we pray that our loved ones may be purified of all their sins and so enter into eternal life. Of course, we also pray that the grace and love of God will bring comfort to those who are grieving, with the special awareness that grief may cause them to doubt and fear.

Planning the Funeral Mass: Families can derive much comfort and be renewed in their faith by having a part in planning the Funeral Mass. This preparation is done by meeting with the priest who will guide them in this process. The planning includes making several choices such as choosing the Scripture (Bible) readings, choosing music and involving family or friends in proclaiming the readings and bringing up the gifts in the offertory procession.

A. CHOOSING THE READINGS Three Scripture passages are normally read at the Funeral: one from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament and one Gospel reading. The first two readings may be proclaimed by a qualified lay person. The Gospel is always proclaimed by an ordained deacon or priest. Here is a list of possible choices:

Old Testament:

Job 19:1, 23-26
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
Wisdom 3:1-9
Wisdom 4:4-15
Isaiah 25:6-9
Lamentations 3:17-26
Daniel 12:1-3
2 Maccabees 12:43-46

(I know that my Redeemer lives)
(There is a time for everything under heaven)
(God accepts the souls of the just as an offering)
(A blameless life is a ripe old age)
(The Lord will destroy death for ever)
(It is good to wait for the Lord to save)
(Many of the dead will awake)
(It is good to offer sacrifice for the dead)

New Testament:

Romans 5:5-11
Romans 6:3-9
Romans 8:31-35, 37-39
Romans 14:7-12
1 Corinthians 15:20-28
1 Corinthians 15;51-57
2 Corinthians 4:13- 5:1
2 Corinthians 5:1, 6-10
Philippians 3:20-21
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
2 Timothy 2:8-13
1 John 3:1-2
Revelation 14:13
Revelation 20:11, 21:1
Revelation 21:1-5a, 6b-7

(Having been justified by Christ, we will be saved)
(Let us walk in newness of life)
(Who can separate us from the love of Christ)
(Whether alive or dead, we belong to the Lord)
(All will be brought to life in Christ)
(Death is swallowed up in victory)
(What is unseen in eternal)
(We have an everlasting home in heaven)
(Christ will change our lowly body)
(We have hope that Christ will raise the dead)
(If we have died with Him, we shall live with Him)
(We shall see God as He is)
(Happy are those who die in the Lord)
(We shall be judged according to our works)
(There will be no more death)


Matthew 5:1-12a
Matthew 11:25-30
Matthew 25:1-13
Matthew 25:31-45
Mark 15:33-39, 16:1-6
Luke 7:11-17
Luke 23:33, 39-43
Luke 23:44, 24:6
Luke 24:13-16, 28-35
John 6:37-40
John 6:51-59
John 11:17-27
John 11:32-45
John 12:23-28
John 14:1-6

(The Beatitudes)
(Come to me)
(The bridegroom comes; go out to meet him)
(Come you who are blessed by my Father)
(Jesus dies and rises)
(Jesus raises the dead son of the widow of Nain)
(This day you will be with me in paradise)
(Father I put my life in your hands)
(It was necessary for Christ to suffer and die)
(All who believe in the Son will have eternal life)
(All who eat this bread will live for ever)
(I am the resurrection and the life)
(Jesus raises Lazarus)
(The grain that dies yields a great harvest)
(I am the way, the truth and the life)

B. CHOOSING HYMNS: A number of hymns are appropriate for the Funeral Mass. (Please see the Diocesan Guidelines regarding secular songs; these are not appropriate during Mass.)

The family may select four hymns that will be sung at the Entrance, the Presentation of Gifts (Offertory), at Communion and at the Closing of the Mass. Below you will find a number of selections which may be done and have provided hope and comfort to families in their grief. These are listed according to their general theme.

Please note: The musicians will choose the Responsorial Psalm, the Gospel Acclamation, the Holy, Holy, the Memorial Acclamation (Christ Has Died), the Great Amen and the Lamb of God. The "Song of Farewell" is sung as part of the prayers of final commendation at the end of the Funeral Mass.


"Sing with all the Saints in Glory"
"Alleluia, the Strife is O'er"
"I Am the Bread of Life"
"I Know that my Redeemer Lives"
"Keep in Mind"
"The Day of Resurrection"
(Easter Hymns during the Easter Season)



"Amazing Grace"
"For All the Saints"
"How Great Thou Art"
"Joyful, Joyful" (Ode to Joy)
"Love Divine, All Loves Excelling"
"Praise My Soul the King of Heaven"



"Be Not Afraid"
"Blest Are They"
"Come to Me"
"On Eagle's Wings"
"I Have Loved You"
"I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say"
"Irish Blessing"
"Jesus, Remember Me"
"Prayer of St. Francis"
"The King of Love My Shepherd Is"
"There's a Wideness in God's Mercy"
"This Alone"
"You Are Mine"



"Come to His/Her Aid"
"O Loving God" (Tune of "O Danny Boy")
"Song of Farewell"



"Ave Maria"
"Panis Angelicus"
"In Paradisum"


Readers: The first two readings may be proclaimed by qualified lay persons. The priest will provide them with the text that is to be read. The Scripturespassages are taken from the Revised New American Bible. It is also possible for someone to read the petitions at the General Intercessions.

Presentation of Gifts: Two to four persons may be asked to present the gifts at the Offertory; these include the altar bread, the wine and the water.

Placing the Pall on the Casket: The white pall (cloth) is draped over the casket at thefront door of the church as the casket and the family are welcomed to churchfor the funeral. Family members may choose to place the pall on the casket with the help of thefuneral director. Family members may also place the cross or a Bible on the casket.


The church permits one person to offer a few words at the Funeral Mass. The Eulogy isto take no more than five minutes and is given by only one person. If several people wish to offer thoughts, these should be conveyed to the one who has been chosen by the family, who then incorporates those ideas in his or her comments. A proper Eulogy should highlight the Christian virtues of the deceased. The speaker should speak from a written text which has been presented to the priest ahead of time.

Other times for sharing memories: Although only one person may speak during the Funeral Mass, there are other times when memories may be shared. These include the Wake Service and the Burial Prayers. It is also very appropriate for memories to be shared as part of the meal/reception after the funeral. We encourage families to take advantage of these other opportunities.


There is a committee made up of members of St. John Vianney Parish who are available to assist families with providing a meal after the funeral. Arrangements are made by calling the priest. Please note that a donation is asked
to defray the cost of the food. The funeral meal coordinator assists families in choosing the menu. An important factor is getting an approximate number of guests that might attend. Please be aware that our hall may not always beavailable for ameal; it may already have been rented out or it may be in use for another parishfunction.


Yes, it is possible to have a Funeral Service in the Funeral Home. The service would consist of introductory prayers with the blessing of the casket, the Liturgy of the Word that includes a homily and intercessions, and it ends with the Final Commendation.

Although this kind of service is permitted, the expectation of the Church is that every Catholic be granted the privilege of being brought to church on the day of their burial and that the Sacrifice of the Mass be offered for them. It would be very sad, if a person who has been a faithful Catholic all their lives, not be given the honor of a Funeral Mass.


The Catholic Church permits the faithful to have their bodies cremated for burial, provided it is not done in denial of the resurrection of the body. Normally, cremation should take place after the funeral Mass. But it is permitted to have the ashes brought to church. They are treated with the same respect as the body. Still we greet the family at the front door and bless the ashes with holy water. They are brought up in procession and placed on a table in front of the altar by theEaster Candle. At the end of the Mass they are honored with incense as part of the final prayers.

Ashes are to be treated with the same respect as the body. These are human remains and should be treated as such. Ashes should be buried in blessed ground,like the body. It is not permitted to scatter the ashes on a mountain or lake or any other place.


(Please copy and print this page for planning purposes)

Please Note: Choosing readings, music and bringing up the gifts are NOT requirements. A family may simply permit the priest and musicians to make appropriate selections. Furthermore, a eulogy is not required; it is simply permitted, provided the speaker adheres to the guidelines of the Church.

READINGS: (Selections may be chosen from those provided above)

Old Testament:  ____________________      Read by: ____________________

New Testament: ____________________      Read by: ____________________

Gospel:                 ____________________      Read by priest or deacon

MUSIC: (Four hymns appropriate for Mass may be requested.)

Entrance Hymn:       ___________________________________________

Offertory Hymn:      ___________________________________________

Communion Hymn:  ___________________________________________

Closing Hymn:          ___________________________________________

OFFERTORY PROCESSION: (2 to 4 family members or friend may bring up the gifts of bread and wine at the preparation of the gifts)

Gift bearers: _________________________ ____________________________

                       _________________________ ____________________________

EULOGY: a five minute eulogy by one person may be given after Communion. Whoever is asked or requests to offer some words must be informed of our guidelines.

Eulogist: _____________________________