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10/30/2012 10:43:00 AM
Liturgy music meant to help funeral-goers encounter Christ
Catholic News Service photos
Members of the parish choir sing at Our Lady of the Isle Church in Shelter Island Heights, N.Y.
Catholic News Service photos
Members of the parish choir sing at Our Lady of the Isle Church in Shelter Island Heights, N.Y.
A friend of one of the victims of a coal mine explosion prays during his funeral in Amaga, Colombia in 2010.

A friend of one of the victims of a coal mine explosion prays during his funeral in Amaga, Colombia in 2010.

Good songs for funerals
Amazing Grace (new britain)

As the Deer Longs [Ps. 42] (various)

Be Not Afraid (Dufford)

Be Still Me Soul (finlandia)

Because the Lord Is My Shepherd (Walker)

Come to Me (Norbet)

Fly Like a Bird (Canedo)

For All the Saints (sine nomine/Vaughan Williams)

Give Me Jesus (various)

Go in Peace (Hard/Liles)

God’s Eye Is on the Sparrow (Hurd)

Grant Them Eternal Rest (Alstott)

Holy Darkness (Schutte)

How Lovely Is Your Dwelling Place [Ps. 84] (various)

Healing River of the Spirit (beach spring/Duck)

I Am the Bread of Life (Toolan)

I Am the Resurrection and the Life (various)

I Heard the Voice of Jesus (various)

I Know That My Redeemer Lives (various)

I, the Lord (Kendzia)

In Every Age (various)

In Paradisum/May Choirs of Angels (chant)

Jerusalem, My Happy Home (land of rest)

Let Us Go Rejoicing [Ps. 122] (various)

Like a Child Rests (Walker)

Like a Shepherd (Dufford)

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need (resignation)

My Soul Is Thirsting [Ps. 63] (various)

Now the Green Blade Rises (noël nouvelet)

O God, You Search Me (Farrell)

O Loving God (londonerry air/McCoy)

On Eagle’s Wings (Joncas)

Only This I Want (Schutte)

Out of the Depths (various)

Parable (Ridge)

Prayer of St. Francis (Temple)

Precious Lord, Take My Hand (precious lord)

Restless Is the Heart (Farrell)

Shall We Gather at the River (hanson place)

Shelter Me, O God (Hurd)

Shepherd Me, O God (Haugen)

Sing with All the Saints in Glory (hymn to joy)

Song of Farewell (various)

Song of Simeon (various)

Song of the Angels (Dufford)

Soon and Very Soon (soon and very soon)

The Lord Is Kind and Merciful [Ps. 103] (various)

The Lord Is My Light [Ps. 27] (various)

The Lord Is My Shepherd [Ps. 23] (various)

The Strife Is O’er (victory)

There Is a Longing (Quigley)

Unless a Grain of Wheat (various)

We Shall Rise Again (resurrection)

We Will Rise Again (Haas)

Where My Father Lives (Ridge)

With the Lord There Is Mercy [Ps. 130] (various)

Yes, I Shall Arise (Alstott)

You Are Near (Schutte)


Planning Guides are online:

English: content.ocp.org/shared/pdf/general/FuneralLitPrep.pdf

Spanish: content.ocp.org/shared/pdf/general/FuneralLitPrepSP.pdf


More song suggestions are online:

English: content.ocp.org/shared/pdf/general/FuneralSuggestions.pdf

Spanish: content.ocp.org/shared/pdf/general/FuneralSuggestions.pdf






Music at a Catholic funeral praises God and celebrates the bond between the living and the dead.  The musical lineup should not include deceased’s favorite secular song, such as their alma mater’s fight song.

When people come to Holy Trinity Church in Beaverton seeking help in selecting music for a family member’s funeral liturgy, Ken Canedo is careful to explain the significance of these songs.  

“The liturgy is a moment to encounter Christ,” said Canedo, a composer who assists with the music ministry at Holy Trinity. “The music should allow us to encounter Christ, and let that encounter with Christ lift up family and friends to understand the greater meaning of the loss of the person.”

Church guidelines aren’t about rules or regulations, but about helping people encounter Christ at a very special time.

By the time they talk to Canedo, mourners have already met with the pastor or bereavement coordinator and so they know that, despite what they’ve seen on TV or in the movies, secular music isn’t a part of any Eucharistic liturgy.

“We do have to be compassionate and realize this may very well be the first time the family has come back to the church in several years, and they don’t know a thing about these guidelines,” Canedo said. Family members are encouraged to find a place for personalization of the service at the vigil or reception instead.

Sometimes, parents will have already chosen the songs they would like played during their funeral. Other times, children must pick from long lists of songs.

Years ago, Canedo would play each song for people who are unfamiliar with the church music. Today, technological advances have made this selection easier for mourners – he can email links to the songs.  

All Souls Day, All Saints Day and Easter services often include music that could be appropriate for a funeral Mass, Canedo said.

For a funeral music planning guide, log on to OCP’s website: (English) content.ocp.org/shared/pdf/general/FuneralLitPrep.pdf and
(Spanish) content.ocp.org/shared/pdf/general/FuneralLitPrepSP.pdf.

Related Links:
• Funeral preparation guide

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