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Readings and Prayers

Selection of Readings & Prayers

Some General Principles:

In order to assist families in preparing for a Funeral Mass we offer some help in terms of Readings and Prayers of the Faithful. Just use ‘Cut and Paste’ to take them from the site and print them off.

When selecting Readings for a Funeral Mass please be aware of the following general principles:

(a) When a funeral Mass takes place on Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation the Readings of the day take precedence. Please note that when a Funeral Mass is celebrated at one of the scheduled Masses on a Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation, the Ministers of the Word, Ministers of the Eucharist and Choir who carry out their Ministries at that Mass shall continue to do so in the normal way. Please consult with the priest on this.

(b) On weekdays you may choose Readings from the Old and New Testament. The priest will help you in the selection of the readings.

(c) If the body of the deceased is brought to the church on the evening before the funeral, members of the family or friends are welcome to read the Scripture Reading and read or sing the Responsorial Psalm, if they wish. Please consult the priest on this.

(d) The Gospel Acclamation must always be sung. If the Gospel Acclamation is not sung it is omitted.

(e) Please remember that during Lent the word Alleluia in the Gospel Acclamation is not used. Alternative Acclamations are available such as “Praise to you Lord Jesus!”

The Liturgy of the Word

1. A reading from the Old Testament (choose one)
2. The Psalm - this is normally sung
3. A reading from the New Testament (choose one)
4. The Gospel - proclaimed by the Priest
5. Homily
6. Prayers of Intercession (choose 5 to 6 prayers)
OR
1. A reading from the Old OR New Testament

2. The Psalm
3. The Gospel
4. The Homily
5. The Prayers of Intercession

Note:During the Season of Easter, that is from Easter Sunday until Pentecost Sunday, a Reading from Acts of the Apostles may be used as a First Reading. (See No 9 below)

Readings from the Old Testament

You may wish to choose any one of the following eight readings from the Old Testament.


1. A Reading from the Book of Wisdom. (3:1-9)
The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God,
no torment shall ever touch them.
In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die, 
their going looked like a disaster,
their leaving us, like annihilation;
but they are at peace.
If they experienced punishment as men see it,
their hope was rich with immortality;
slight was their affliction, great will their blessings be.
God has put them to the test 
and proved them to be worthy with him;
he has tested them like gold in a furnace,
and accepted them as a holocaust.
When the time comes for his visitation they will shine out;
as sparks run through the stubble, so will they.
they shall judge nations, rule over peoples, and
the Lord will be their king forever. 
They who trust in him will understand the truth, 
those who are faithful will live with him in love;
for grace and mercy await those he has chosen.
This is the Word of the Lord!

 

2. A Reading from the Book of Wisdom (4:7-15)
The virtuous person, though he die before his time, will find rest.
Length of days is not what makes age honourable,
nor number of years the 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 wrap his understanding
or treachery seduce his soul;
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.
This is the word of the Lord.

 

3. A Reading from the Book of Ecclesiasticus
Let us praise the illustrious, 
our ancestors in their successive generations. 
Here is a list of the generous 
whose good works have not been forgotten. 
In their descendents there remains 
a rich inheritance born of them. 
Their descendents stand by their covenants and 
thanks to them, so do their children's children. 
Their offspring will last forever, 
their glory will not fade. 
Their bodies have been buried in peace, 
and their names live on for all generations. 
The peoples will proclaim their wisdom, 
the assembly will celebrate their praise. 
This is the word of the Lord.

 

4. A Reading from the Prophet Isaiah:
Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name, you are mine.
Should you pass through the sea, I will be with you;
Or through the rivers, they will not swallow you up.
Should you walk through fire, you will not be scorched and the flames will not burn you.
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.
This is the Word of the Lord.

 

5. 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.
This is the word of the Lord.

 

6. A reading from the Book of Lamentations (3:17-26)
My soul is shut out from peace;
I have forgotten happiness.
And now I say, my strength is gone,
that hope which came from the Lord.'
Brooding on my anguish and affliction is gall and wormwood.
My spirit ponders it continually and sinks within me.
This is what I shall tell my heart, and so recover hope:
The favours of the Lord are not all past,
His kindness is not all exhausted;
every morning they are renewed;
great is his faithfulness.
‘My portion is the Lord' says my soul
‘and so I will hope in him.'
The Lord is good to those who trust him,
to the soul that searches for him.
It is good to wait in silence for the Lord to save.
This is the Word of the Lord.

 

7. A reading from the book of Ecclesiastes: (3:1-7,11)
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to root up what is planted;
A time to break down and a time to build up;
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance;
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep and a time to discard;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
God has made everything suitable for its time.
This is the word of the Lord.

 

8. A reading from the Prophet Daniel, (12:1-3)
I Daniel, was doing penance when I received this message from the Lord:
‘There is going to be a time of great distress, unparalleled since the nations 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 the earth many will awake, some to everlasting life. 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.'
This is the Word of the Lord.



Readings from the New Testament
You may choose any one of the following readings from the New Testament

9. A Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (10:34-43)
Peter addressed Cornelius and his household:
“The truth I have now come to realise”, he said, “is that God does not have favourites, but that anybody or any nationality who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him.
“It is true, God sent his word to the people of Israel, and it was to them that the good news of peace was brought by Jesus Christ- but Jesus Christ is Lord of all. You must have heard about the recent happenings in Judaea; about Jesus of Nazareth and how he began in Galilee, after John had been preaching baptism. God had anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and because God was with him, Jesus went about doing good and curing all who had fallen into the power of the devil. 
“Now I, and those with me, can witness to everything he did throughout the countryside of Judaea and in Jerusalem itself: and also to the fact that they killed him by hanging him on a tree, yet three days afterwards God raised him to life and allowed him to be seen, not by the whole people but only by certain witnesses God had chosen beforehand. Now we are those witnesses- we have eaten and drunk with him after his resurrection from the dead- and he has ordered us to proclaim this to his people and to tell them that God has appointed him to judge everyone alive or dead. It is to him that all the prophets bear this witness: that all who believe in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name”.
This is the Word of the Lord.

 

10. A Reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (6:3-9)
You have been taught that 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. 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 more power over him any more. When he died, he died, once for all, to sin, so his life now is life with God; and in that way, you too must consider yourselves to be dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.
This is the Word of the Lord.

 

11. 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 that he might be both Lord of the dead and 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 God, therefore, that each of us must give an account of himself.
This is the Word of the Lord.

 

12. A Reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (8:35, 37-39)
Nothing can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food and 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.
This is the word of the Lord.

 

13. A Reading from the Second Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians (5:1,6-10)
For we know that when the tent we live in on earth is folded up, there is a house built for us, an everlasting home not made by human hands, in the heavens.
We are always full of confidence, then, when we remember that to live in the body means to be exiled from the Lord, going as we do by faith and not by sight, - we are full of confidence, I say, and actually want to be exiled from the body and make our home with the Lord. Whether we are living in the body or exiled from it, we are intent on pleasing him. For all the truth about us will be brought out in the law court of Christ, and each of us will get what we deserve for the things we did in the body, good and bad.
This is the Word of the Lord.

 

14. A Reading from the Letter of St Paul to the Philippians (3:20-21)
For us, our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes the saviour we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body. He will do that by the same power with which he can subdue the whole universe.
This is the Word of the Lord.

 

15. A Reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians (3:8,10-14)
I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. All I want is to know is Christ and the power of his Resurrection and to share his sufferings by reproducing the pattern of his death. That is the way I can hope to take my place in the resurrection of the dead. Not that I have become perfect yet: I have not yet won, but I am still running, trying to capture the prize for which Christ Jesus captured me. I can assure you, I am far from thinking I have already won. All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is to come; I am racing for the finish, for the prize to which God calls us upwards to receive in Christ Jesus.
This is the word of the Lord.

 

16. A reading from the first letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians (4:13-18)
We want you to be quite certain about those who have died, to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like other people who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus: God will bring them with him. At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord himself will come down from Heaven; those who have died in Christ will be the first to rise, and then those of us who are still alive will be taken up into the clouds, together with them, to meet the Lord in the air. So we shall stay with the Lord for ever. With such thoughts as these we will comfort one another.
This is the Word of the Lord.

 

17. A Reading from the letter of St. John (4: 9-11)
God's love for us was revealed when God sent into the world his only Son so that we could have life through him; this is the love I mean: not our love for God but God's loves for us when he sent his Son to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away. My dear people, since God has loved us so much, we too should love one another.
This is the Word of the Lord.

 

18. A Reading from the first letter of St. Peter (1:3-9)
Blessed be the God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy has given us a new birth by raising up Jesus Christ from the dead, so that we have a sure hope and the promise of an inheritance that can never be spoilt and never fade away, because it is being kept for you in the heavens. Through your faith, God's power will guard you until the salvation which has been prepared for you has been revealed at the end of time. This is a cause of great joy for you, even though you may for a short time have to bear being plagued by all sorts of trials; so that, when Jesus Christ is revealed, your faith will have been tested and proved like gold - only it is more precious than gold, which is corruptible even though it bears testing by fire - and then you will have praise and glory and honour. You did not see him, yet you love him; and still without seeing him, you are already filled with a joy so glorious that it cannot be described, because you believe; and you are sure of the end to which your faith looks forward, that is, the salvation of your souls. 
This is the Word of the Lord.

 

19. A Reading from the first letter of St. John (3:1-2)
Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us,
by letting us be called God's children;
and that is what we are.
Because the world refused to acknowledge him,
therefore it does not acknowledge us.
My dear people, we are already the children of God
but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed;
All we know is, that when it is revealed,
we shall be like him
because we shall see him as he really is.
This is the Word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalms.

The Psalm is a response to the Word of God which is proclaimed in the First Reading. Therefore the Responsorial Psalm should be drawn from the Psalms in the Bible and Lectionary. The singing of Hymns of general use is not suitable at this point. The following are some suggestions; the Choir Director/Cantor/Organist may have many more.

1. The Lord is my Shepherd (Psalm 23)
2. My Soul is longing for your peace
3. On Eagles Wings (Psalm 91)
4. Like the deer that yearns for running streams
5. To you O Lord (Psalm 25)
6. I have searched in the silence (Psalm 17)
7. Joy was in my heart (Psalm 122)
8. For you are my God
9. The Lord will heal the broken heart (Psalm 34)
10. ‘Se an Tiarna m’Aoire (Ps 23)

Most of the above have modern settings which are available in a number of publications and the melodies of which are easy for congregational use.

Gospel Acclamations

The Gospel Acclamation should be sung as it is anticipates one of the important parts of the Eucharistic celebration. The verses can be taken from the Gospel to be read at the Mass or alternatively one of the following can be used:

1. I am the Resurrection and the life, says the Lord. Whoever believes in me will never die.
2. Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened; and I will give you rest, says the Lord
3. I am the way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

Please remember that the word “Alleluia” is not said or sung during the Season of Lent. Alternative Acclamations can include “Praise to you Lord Jesus!”

Prayers of Intercession

You may like to choose 5 or 6 or more prayers from the list below. Feel free to use these to suit circumstances. 

The Priest begins with an Opening invitation to prayer and the reader(s) read(s) the chosen prayers. The priest then concludes the prayers with a closing prayer.

Celebrant: We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so it will be for those who died believing in him. God will bring them with him. With confidence, then, we offer our prayers.

Prayer No 1 - General Intentions: (Choose one)

1. For Christians all over the world that the event of Christ's Death and Resurrection may touch them and all of us here in a real and graced way. Lord, hear us.

2. Let us pray for (N) our Holy Father (N) our Bishop and all those who proclaim the consolation of Christ's death and resurrection to families and communities in sorrow. Increase their faith and make them bearers of lasting and meaningful hope. Lord, hear us.

3. For the Church: that we may grow in our faith in Jesus' power over death. Lord, hear us.

4. For all our political and civil leaders: that they may be faithful to their promises and commitments. Lord, hear us.

Prayer No 2- For the Sick: (Choose One)

5. We pray for those in advanced years; that they, like N, may accept long life with grace and courage, and that society may grant to the elderly a special place and reverence. Lord, hear us.

6. We pray for those who bear the anxious and uncertain burden of serious illness, and for those who share their suffering, for carers at home and in hospital; that all may know the gentle and caring touch of Christ. Lord, hear us.

7. We pray for the sick - especially the burden of serious illness, and for those who share their sufferings, caring for the sick at home and in hospital; that all may know the strength of Christ's presence with him in their time of need. Lord, hear us.

8. We pray for those who have life threatening illnesses; that medical research will find ways to combat disease and its unwelcome effects on families. Lord, hear us.

Prayer No 3- For those who Care for the Sick (Choose One)

9. Let us pray in thanksgiving for those who tended to N in his/her illness; (Doctors, nurses, medical staff, carers, home help personnel); Lord we thank you for the gifts you have bestowed on these members of our community and we ask you to bless them.N. Lord, hear us.

10. Let us pray for all those who minister to the dying; that they may care with gentle hearts and hands and be examples to us all of God’s unending love. Lord, hear us.

Prayer No 4- For those who mourn: (Choose One)

11. Let us pray for all who mourn our sister/our brother N's death. Lord we ask you to comfort them in sorrow. Fill the emptiness in their hearts with the presence of your everlasting love; bless them and wipe away every tear. Lord, hear us.

12. We pray for all who mourn N; that they may be assured of Christ's closeness to them in their sorrow and find strength and comfort through their faith in the eternal life granted to us in Jesus Christ, our crucified and risen Saviour. Lord, hear us.

13. Let us pray for those who cannot be here today, especially Ns…… We present to the Lord their grieving, their loss, their mourning and their desire to be here. Lord, hear us.

Prayer No 5- For our own needs:

14. Let us in silence make our own personal prayers and petitions (pause for 30 seconds) Lord, hear us.

15. Let us pray that the emptiness of our lives may gradually be filled with the love we know from others and from Christ and from the hope which his Resurrection gives to the whole Church, we pray. Lord, hear us.

Prayer No 6- For the one who has died: (Choose One or Two)

16. As we reflect on the contribution of N to his/her family, friends and the wider community let us remember him/her with affection, may we seek strive for perfection in the service of Christ, his Church and the community in general. Lord, hear us.

17. We pray for N who leaves us in death, that God the Father will lead N safely home and share with him/her the joys of the Kingdom - light, happiness and peace. Lord, hear us.

18. As we remember N, a good and generous person created in the image and likeness of God, may we always know and recognise and find God in every human being we meet along the way. Lord, hear us.

19. Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of N, for all the love s/he gave and for all the many good ways through which s/he touched the lives of others. May N be found worthy of the gift of eternal life. Lord, hear us.

Prayer No 7-For the deceased members of the (N) Family

20. God our Father, you have gathered us all into the family of your love. We pray for the deceased members of the (N) family (or (N) and (N) families). We remember especially his/her

  • deceased parents (N)
  • sons and daughters (N)
  • brothers and sister (N)
  • others (N)

May the light of Christ shine on them. Lord hear us.

Prayer No 8- For all the dead

21. As we pray for N let us remember all the deceased, those we have loved and cherished; all the dead of this parish; those who died recently and all those with no one to remember them. 
May God welcome them into the radiant light of his presence. Lord, hear us.

Celebrant: Father, we thank you for your love and support. Receive your servant N with love and kindness; strengthen us in faith and hope through Christ our Lord. Amen.