Funeral Readings and guidelines

At the time of death of a loved one there are so many difficult decisions to be made quickly and among those are organising the Funeral Liturgy. This page contains readings and prayers for the Funeral Mass to help you choose what is fitting for and appropriate for your deceased loved one. You will need to consider the following:

For a funeral, the Readings necessary are as follows:
The First Reading – An Old Testament Reading (options below)
A Psalm (options below)
The Second Reading – A New Testament Reading (options below)
Prayer of the Faithful (options below)

Given that two readings are required as well as the psalm and Gospel Acclamation, it is normal to have two readers. One reader would do the First Reading and the Psalm and the other would do the Second Reading and the Acclamation. The two readers could then share reading the Prayer of the Faithful. 

A selection of Readings and Prayers are given below. We recommend that you read through all the options, reflect on them as the Word of God and select the ones which seem to speak to you as appropriate for the celebration of the funeral of your loved one. Once you have selected your option, you can download and print them off via the link at the end of each reading or prayer.

Points to remember when reading:
Always read slowly and distinctly. At the end of the reading pause for three seconds before saying: “The Word of the Lord”.
Announce the Psalm in these words: “The response to the Psalm is..”.
After the Second Reading invite the people to stand in these words, “The Gospel Acclamation”, then read the Alleluia and verse.  

Other elements of the Mass to consider include:
Music, including an organist and vocalist
Offertory Procession – usually 2-4 people to carry forward the bread, wine, vessels.

It is important to discuss these options with the priest celebrating the Funeral Mass. For example, funerals which take place during the Easter season can have special readings with a stronger emphasis on the Resurrection.

The First Reading 

(Select 1 from the 6 Provided Here)

First Reading: A Reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes  3:1-8 (A Time for Everything)  
There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven, a time for giving birth, a time for dying; a time for planting, a time for uprooting what has been planted. A time for killing, a time for healing; a time for knocking down, a time for building. A time for tears, a time for laughter; a time for mourning, a time for dancing. A time for throwing stones away, a time for gathering them up; a time for embracing, a time to refrain from embracing. A time for searching, a time for losing;  a time for keeping, a time for throwing away. A time for tearing, a time for sewing; a time for keeping silent, a time for speaking. A time for loving and a time for peace.
The word of the Lord.

First Reading: A Reading from the book of Job 19:1,23-27
Job said: ‘Ah, would that these words of mine were written down, inscribed on some monument with iron chisel and engraving tool, cut into the rock for ever. This I know: that my Avenger lives, and he, the Last, will take his stand on earth. After my awaking, he will set me close to him, and from my flesh I shall look on God. He whom I shall see will take my part: these eyes will gaze on him and find him not aloof.’
The word of the Lord   

First Reading: A reading from the book of Wisdom       4:7-15        
The virtuous man, though he dies before his time, will find rest.  Length of days is not what makes age honourable, nor number of years the true measure of life; understanding, this is man’s grey hairs, untarnished life, this is ripe old age. He has sought to please God, so God has loved him; as he was living among sinners, he has been taken up.  He has been carried off so that evil may not warp his understanding or treachery seduce his soul; for the fascination of evil throws good things into the shade, and the whirlwind of desire corrupts a simple heart. Coming to perfection in so short a while, he achieved long life; his soul being pleasing to the Lord, he has taken him quickly from the wickedness around him. Yet people look on, uncomprehending; it does not enter their heads that grace and mercy await the chosen of the Lord,
and protection, his holy ones. 
The word of the Lord.     

First Reading: A reading from the prophet Isaiah       25:6-9
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food.  On this mountain he will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples, and the shroud enwrapping all nations, he will destroy death forever.
The Lord will wipe away the tears from every cheek; he will take away his people’s shame everywhere on earth, for the Lord has said so.  That day, it will be said: See, this is our God in whom we hoped for salvation; the Lord is the one in whom we hoped.  We exult and we rejoice that he has saved us.

The word of the Lord   

First Reading: A reading from the prophet Daniel 12;1-3I,
Daniel, was doing penance when I received this message from the Lord ‘At that time Michael will stand up, the great prince who mounts guard over your people.  There is going to be a time of great distress, unparalleled since nations first came into existence.  When that time comes, your own people will be spared, all those whose names are found written in the Book. Of those who lie sleeping in the dust of earth many will awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting disgrace. The learned will shine as brightly as the vault of heaven, and those who have instructed many in virtue, as bright as stars for all eternity.
The word of the Lord 

The Responsorial Psalm (Choose One of the Following Responsorial Psalms)

Responsorial Psalm 1
R      The Lord is my light and my help      
The Lord is my light and my help; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;before whom shall I shrink?  R 

There is one thing I shall ask of the Lord, for this I long,to live in the
house of the Lord, all the days of my life,to savour the sweetness of the
Lord, to behold his temple.  R 

O Lord, hear my voice when I call; have mercy and answer.
It is your face, O Lord, that I seek; hide not your face.  R.

I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living
Hope in him, hold firm and take heart.  Hope in the Lord!  R

Responsorial Psalm 2
R   I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living.
How gracious is the Lord, and just; our God has compassion.The Lord
protects the simple hearts;I was helpless so he saved me.  R

 I trusted, even when I said: ‘I am sorely afflicted,’and when I said in my alarm: ‘No man can be trusted.’  R

 O precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful.
Your servant, Lord, your servant am I;you have loosened my bonds.  R

Responsorial Psalm 3
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want,
Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit.  R

 He guides me along the right path; he is true to his name.
If I shall walk in the valley of darkness no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff.,with these you give me comfort.  R 

You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of your foes.
My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing.  R 

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.  R

Responsorial Psalm 4
R    The Lord is compassion and love.        
The Lord is compassion and love,slow to anger and rich in mercy.
He does not treat us according to our sins nor repay us according to our faults.  R 

As a Father has compassion for his sons,the Lord has pity on those who
fear him;for he knows of what we are made,he remembers that we are
dust.  R 

As for man, his days are like grass;he flowers like the flower of
the field;the wind blows and he is gone and his place never sees him
again.  R 

But the love of the Lord is everlasting upon those who hold him in fear;
his justice reaches out to children’s children when they keep his covenant in truth.  R 

The Second Reading

(Choose 1 from the 14 Provided Here)

Second Reading: A reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Romans        5:5-11

Hope is not deceptive, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.  We were still help less when at his appointed moment Christ died for sinful men.  It is not easy to die even for a good man – though of course for someone really worthy, a man might be prepared to die – but what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners.  Having died to make us righteous, is it likely that he would not fail to save us from God’s anger? When we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, we were still enemies; now that we have been reconciled, surely we may count on being saved by the life of his Son?  Not merely because we have been reconciled but because we are filled with joyful trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation.

The word of the Lord.

Second Reading: A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans   5:17-21

If it is certain that death reigned over everyone as the consequence of one man’s fall, it is even more certain that one man, Jesus Christ, will cause everyone to reign in life who receives the free gift that he does not deserve, of being made righteous. Again, as one man’s fall brought condemnation on everyone, so the good act of one man brings everyone life and makes them   justified.  As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous. When law came, it was to multiply the opportunities of falling, but however great the number of sins committed, grace was even greater; and so, just as sin reigned wherever there was death, so grace will reign to bring eternal life thanks to the righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The word of the Lord.

Second Reading: A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans    6:3-9 
When we were baptised in Christ Jesus we were baptised in his death; in other words, when we were baptised we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glory, we too might live a new life.  If in union with Christ we have imitated his death, we shall also imitate him in his resurrection. We must realise that our former selves have been crucified with him to destroy this sinful body and to free us from the slavery of sin.  When a man dies, of course, he has finished with sin.  But we believe that having died with Christ we shall return to life with him: Christ, as we know, having been raised from the dead will never die again.  Death has no power over him anymore.
The word of the Lord.

Second Reading: A reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Romans 8:14-23     

Everyone moved by the Spirit is a son of God.  The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself and our spirit bear united witness that we are children of God.  And if we are children we are heirs as well: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, sharing his sufferings so as to share his glory. I think that what we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed, which is waiting for us. The whole creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal his sons.  It was not for any fault on the part of creation that it was made unable to attain its purpose, it was made so by God; but creation still retains the hope of being freed, like us, from its slavery to decadence, to enjoy the same freedom and glory as the children of God. From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.
The word of the Lord.

Second Reading: A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans    8:31-35.37-39
With God on our side who can be against us?  Since God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up to benefit us all, we may be certain, after such a gift that he will not refuse anything he can give.  Could anyone accuse those that God has chosen?  When God  acquits, could anyone condemn?  Could Christ Jesus?  No!  He not only died for us – he rose from the dead, and there at God’s right hand he stands and pleads for us. Nothing therefore can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked.  These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us. For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The word of the Lord.

Second Reading: A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans          14:7-12
The life and death of each of us has its influence on others; if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord, so that alive or dead we belong to the Lord. This explains why Christ both died and came to life, it was so that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. We shall all have to stand before the judgement seat of God; as scripture says: By my  life  – it is the Lord who speaks  – every knee shall bend before me, and every tongue shall praise God. It is to God, therefore, that each of us must give an account of himself.
The word of the Lord

Second Reading: A reading from the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians    15:20-28
Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep.  Death, came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him.
The word of the Lord.

Suggested Prayer of the Faithful

Choose four or five of the following. If you wish, compose some of your own or adapt some of these:

  1. We pray for X in baptism he/she was given the pledge of eternal life. May he/she now be admitted to the company of the saints. Lord, hear us.
  2. We pray in thanksgiving for all the blessings that came to so many people through the life of X may he/she now receive the fullness of God’s blessings in eternity. Lord, hear us.
  3. God, you are full of mercy and compassion. Forgive X any sins he/she committed through human weakness. Lord, hear us.
  4. X touched all our lives. Help us to keep alive the values and the ideals he/she put before us. Lord, hear us.
  5. We pray for all our departed brothers and sisters. Today we pray for… May X be reunited with them in God’s kingdom where there is no more pain or suffering. Lord, hear us.
  6. We pray for the family and friends of X in these difficult days may the Lord be their strength and their consolation. Lord, hear us.
  7. May the God of all consolation be with all who are in sorrow and mourning the loss of X May he give them the courage and strength to live through this time of suffering which has been laid upon them and give them a deep peace, which only can give. Lord, hear us.
  8. Today we are saddened by the loss of one whom we have loved; may our hope in the Resurrection and the promise of eternal life bring us comfort and turn our sadness to joy. Lord, hear us.
  9. We pray for all who are gathered here in worship. May our own lives bear witness to the generous love of the Lord who lived, died and rose from the dead so that we may have life and have it to the full. Lord, hear us.
  10. God of all consolation, help us in our grief to comfort one another. May we find light in time of darkness, and faith in time of doubt. Lord, hear us.
  11. We pray for all our deceased relatives and friends. May the Lord bring them into the light of his presence and give them a share in his glory. Lord, hear us.
  12. We pray for all who are suffering with ill health at this time. May they experience the loving kindness of the Lord in and through all who journey with them. Lord, hear us.
  13. We ask the Lord’s blessings on all those who are seriously ill. Be close to them in their time of sickness, and if it be our will, heal them and restore them to full health again. Lord, hear us.
  14. We remember today those who are terminally ill. May the Lord be close to them as they enter into the last stage of their journey towards their homeland. Lord, hear us.
  15. We remember the staff at the xxxxx hospital who were so good and caring to N. during his/her illness. (We thank the palliative care team who helped us so much while X was at home). We remember all who are suffering from terminal illness, we pray for them and their families and all medical professionals that the Lord may always be their support. Lord, hear us.
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