Music for the Funeral Liturgy

Funerals are among the most important and challenging liturgies that take place within the parish.  These liturgies often bring people and sometimes families together from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.  Sacred music has an integral role in the funeral liturgy.  In times of grief and sorrow, it allows the community to express convictions and feelings that words alone may fail to convey....expressions of our faith, our hopes, and beliefs.  Music has the power to console and give comfort, to uplift the mourners, and to strengthen the unity of the assembly in faith and love.  Whether planning the Funeral liturgy of a loved one or pre-planning your own, the music you select can say a lot about what you, your family and loved ones believe.  Secular music, even though it may reflect on the background, character, interests, or personal preferences of the deceased or mourners, is not appropriate for a funeral Mass.  We hope that the guideline below will serve to help you select music that can provide comfort and strength to the families and friends of the deceased.

At Holy Cross, the Parish Office will arrange for the Director of the Music Ministry will get in touch with the designated member of the family of the deceased to discuss the musical needs of the family for the funeral Mass.  He will also arrange for a cantor to lead the singing during the Mass.  Stipends for the musicians are set by the parish and will be addressed when the family makes arrangements with the funeral directors.

In the funeral liturgy, the following are opportunities for hymns:
1.  Entrance Song (when we enter the church)
2.  Song at the Presentation of the Gifts
3.  Song during Communion
4.  Closing Song (when we recess to the rear of the church)

We offer the following suggestions for your consideration.  The placement of the music is usually best left to the discretion and experience of the Parish Music Director.

The following are the most commonly selected hymns for funeral Masses:

  • Amazing Grace
  • Be Not Afraid
  • How Great Thou Art
  • I Am the Bread of Life
  • On Eagle's Wings
  • Prayer of St. Francis
  • You Are Mine

Other appropriate hymns for funeral Masses include:

  • All (It) Is Well with My Soul
  • Ave Maria
  • Be Still and Know that I Am God
  • Blest Are They
  • Eternal Father, Strong to Save (Military)
  • Eye Has Not Seen
  • Gift of Finest Wheat
  • Have Faith in Me
  • Hosea
  • I Know that My Redeemer Lives
  • In Christ Alone
  • O Shepherd Lord (Londonderry)
  • Pescador de Hombres
  • Precious Lord, Take My Hand
  • Shall We Gather at the River
  • Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling
  • Where My Father Lives
  • You Are the Light I Seek