Music for funerals is rich in tradition, beauty, and simplicity. Sacred texts and sounds should hold pride of place. While favorite popular songs may have emotional meaning to the deceased and the family, this type of music is often not appropriate for Mass, and can be used at another more suitable time, such as the wake.
The Roman Missal, Order of Christian Funerals, and other liturgical books provide specific sung prayers for funerals. While hymns are an option, care should be taken that they do not replace these beautiful prayers for the dead.
Sung prayers for Funerals (Mass propers)
"Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them."
Sung during the Entrance Procession
"The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want." or another approved Funeral Psalm from the Lectionary.
Sung after the 1st reading. No song or hymn may replace the Psalm.
"‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
Sung after the 2nd reading
"O Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, deliver the souls of the departed faithful from suffering..."
Sung at the Offertory; a hymn may also be sung.
"May eternal light shine upon them, O Lord, in the company of your saints for eternity, for you are full of goodness."
Begun while the priest is receiving Communion; a hymn may also be sung.
"Saints of God, come to their aid, come to meet them, angels of the Lord! Receive their soul presenting them to God the Most High."
Sung during the incensation of the body.
"May angels lead you into paradise; may martyrs welcome you and take you to the holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem."
Optionally sung as a recessional or burial procession.
Sung Mass Ordinary
The 2011 Roman Missal contains the Mass Setting for Funerals/Weekdays of Lent. Its simplicity and beauty is most appropriate and can be easily sung by all.
SUGGESTED FUNERAL MUSIC FOR CONSECRATED VIRGINS
OTHER SACRED MUSIC FOR FUNERALS
In addition to the Mass Propers, which hold pride of place, there are many other God-centered pieces of music for Funerals.
Care should be taken that hymns do not replace the proper texts, which are prayers for the deceased.
Hymns for Offertory and Communion
Be Thou My Vision
Christ be beside Me
The Day of Resurrection
For All the Saints
Holy God, We Praise Thy Name
I am the Resurrection
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
I Know that my Redeemer Lives
Jerusalem, My Happy Home
Jesus, Lead the Way
The King of Love my Shepherd Is
Lord Jesus Christ, O Glorious King
Lord Jesus, Think on Me
Lord of All Hopefulness
Love Divine All Loves Excelling
My Shepherd will Supply my Need
O God, Our Help in Ages Past
O God, You Search Me
On this Day, O Beautiful Mother
Soul of my Savior
You Satisfy the Hungry Heart
Agnus Dei (various settings)
Ave Maria (Arcadelt, Grieg, chant, various)
Ave Verum Corpus (Mozart)
Give Rest O Christ (anonymous)
God Be in My Head (Davies)
God So Loved the World (Stainer)
Hope Thou in God (Mendelssohn)
How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place (Brahms)
In Paradisum (chant, Faure, various)
My Shepherd will Supply my Need (arr. Thomson)
Nunc Dimittis (various)
Sicut Cervus (Palestrina)
The Call (Vaughan Williams)
The Lord Is My Shepherd (various)
Thou Knowest Lord the Secrets of our Hearts (Purcell)
All creatures of our God and King (Easter)
Ave Maria (Schubert, Bach/Gounod, etc.)
Comfort, comfort, O my people (Advent)
Jesus walked this Lonesome Valley (Lent)
Jesus Remember Me (Lent)
Lord, You Have the Words—Ps 19
O Sun of Justice (Lent)
Of the Father’s love begotten (Christmas)
Panis Angelicus (Franck)
Pie Jesu (Fauré: Requiem Opus 48)
Remember Your Love (Lent)
The strife is o’er (Easter)
Wait for the Lord (Advent)
When the King shall come again (Advent)