Roman Catholic Funeral Readings
“If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” (Rom 6:8)
In every celebration for the dead, the Church attaches great importance to the reading of the Word of God. The readings proclaim to the assembly the Paschal Mystery, teach remembrance of the dead, convey the hope of being gathered together again in God’s kingdom, and encourage the witness of Christian life. Above all, the readings tell of God’s designs for a world in which suffering and death will relinquish their hold on all whom God has called his own. A careful selection and use of readings from Scripture for the funeral rites will provide the family with an opportunity to hear God speak to them in their needs, sorrows, fears, and hopes.
Picking the readings used at the funeral of a loved one can be a true act of love. We encourage you to look over the following passages and decide what readings you want to include in this liturgy. We ask you to pick one Old Testament reading and one New Testament reading. These readings may be proclaimed by a family member or friend. We need to also ask you to pick out a Responsorial Psalm. This is will be sung by a Cantor. Lastly, a Gospel reading is needed and this is read by the priest.
Please find your choices at the following USCCB Links:
Bereavement and Funerals
Because of our belief not only in the immortality of the soul, but also in the resurrection of the body, the Church professes hope in the face of death, and acts with charity in the funeral rites. The Church provides a number of prayers for the faithful to offer both to accompany the dying of a loved one and to strengthen our faith upon their death. Through private prayer and public funeral rites, we strengthen our faith and hope, comfort those who mourn, and bury the bodily remains of the deceased with care befitting what was the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
The following excerpts are taken from the General Introduction of the Order of Christian Funerals:
*At the death of a Christian, whose life of faith was begun in the waters of baptism and strengthened at the eucharistic table, the Church intercedes on behalf of the deceased because of its confident belief that death is not the end nor does it break the bonds forged in life. The Church also ministers to the sorrowing and consoles them in the funeral rites with the comforting word of God and the sacrament of the eucharist.
* Christians celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God for the gift of a life which has now been returned to God, the author of life and the hope of the just. The Mass, the memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection, is the principal celebration of the Christian funeral.
* The Church through its funeral rites commends the dead to God’s merciful love and pleads for the forgiveness of their sins. At the funeral rites, especially at the celebration of the eucharistic sacrifice, the Christian community affirms and expresses the union of the Church on earth with the Church in heaven in the one great communion of saints. Though separated from the living, the dead are still at one with the community of believers on earth and benefit from their prayers and intercession. At the rite of final commendation and farewell, the community acknowledges the reality of separation and commends the deceased to God. In this way it recognizes the spiritual bond that still exists between the living and the dead and proclaims its belief that all the faithful will be raised up and reunited in the new heavens and a new earth, where death will be no more.
Canon 1176 from the Code of Canon Law states, “Deceased members of the Christian faithful must be given ecclesiastical funerals according to the norm of law.” Others who are eligible for an ecclesiastical funeral include: