Prayers

Readings for the Order of Christian Funerals

Masses for the Dead

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Go to the Introduction to The Order of Funerals


Reading from the Old Testament

2 Mc 12 The collection for the dead

Jb 19 I know that my Vindicator lives

Wis 3 As sacrificial offerings he took them to himself

Wis 4 An unsullied life, the attainment of old age

Is 25 He will destroy death forever

Lam 3 It is good to hope in silence for the saving help of the Lord

Dn 12 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake

2 Maccabees 12:43-46
He acted in an excellent and noble way as he had the resurrection of the dead in view.

A reading from the second Book of Maccabees

Judas, the ruler of Israel,
   took up a collection among all his soldiers,
   amounting to two thousand silver drachmas,
   which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice.
In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way,
   inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view;
   for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again,
   it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death.
But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward
   that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness,
   it was a holy and pious thought.
Thus he made atonement for the dead
   that they might be freed from this sin.

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Job 19:1, 23-27a
I know that my Vindicator lives.

A reading from the Book of Job

Job answered Bildad the Shubite and said:
Oh, would that my words were written down!
   Would that they were inscribed in a record:
That with an iron chisel and with lead
   they were cut in the rock forever!
But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives,
   and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust;
Whom I myself shall see:
   my own eyes, not another’s, shall behold him;
And from my flesh I shall see God;
   my inmost being is consumed with longing.

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Wisdom 3:1-9 or 3:1-6, 9
As sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.

A reading from the Book of Wisdom

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
   and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
   and their passing away was thought an affliction
   and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
   yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
   because God tried them
   and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
   and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
   and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
They shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
   and the LORD shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
   and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
   and his care is with the elect.

Or: [Short Form]

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
   and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
   and their passing away was thought an affliction
   and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
   yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
   because God tried them
   and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
   and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
   and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
   and his care is with the elect.

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Wisdom 4:7-15
An unsullied life, the attainment of old age.

A reading from the Book of Wisdom

The just man, though he die early,
   shall be at rest.
For the age that is honorable comes not
   with the passing of time,
   nor can it be measured in terms of years.
Rather, understanding is the hoary crown for men,
   and an unsullied life, the attainment of old age.
He who pleased God was loved;
   he who lived among sinners was transported—
Snatched away, lest wickedness pervert his mind
   or deceit beguile his soul;
For the witchery of paltry things obscures what is right
   and the whirl of desire transforms the innocent mind.
Having become perfect in a short while,
   he reached the fullness of a long career;
   for his soul was pleasing to the LORD,
   therefore he sped him out of the midst of wickedness.
But the people saw and did not understand,
   nor did they take this into account.

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Isaiah 25:6a, 7-9
He will destroy death forever.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah

On this mountain the LORD of hosts
   will provide for all peoples.
On this mountain he will destroy
   the veil that veils all peoples,
The web that is woven over all nations;
   he will destroy death forever.
The Lord GOD will wipe away
   the tears from all faces;
The reproach of his people he will remove
   from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken.

   On that day it will be said:
“Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
   This is the LORD for whom we looked;
   let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”

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Lamentations 3:17-26
It is good to hope in silence for the saving help of the Lord.

A reading from the Book of Lamentations

My soul is deprived of peace,
   I have forgotten what happiness is;
I tell myself my future is lost,
   all that I hoped for from the LORD.
The thought of my homeless poverty
   is wormwood and gall;
Remembering it over and over
   leaves my soul downcast within me.
But I will call this to mind,
   as my reason to have hope:

The favors of the LORD are not exhausted,
   his mercies are not spent;
They are renewed each morning,
   so great is his faithfulness.
My portion is the LORD, says my soul;
   therefore will I hope in him.

Good is the LORD to one who waits for him,
   to the soul that seeks him;
It is good to hope in silence
   for the saving help of the LORD.

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Daniel 12:1-3
Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Daniel

In those days, I, Daniel mourned
   and heard this word of the Lord:
At that time there shall arise
      Michael, the great prince,
      guardian of your people;
   It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress
      since nations began until that time.
   At that time your people shall escape,
      everyone who is found written in the book.

   Many of those who sleep
      in the dust of the earth shall awake;
   Some shall live forever,
      others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.
   But the wise shall shine brightly
      like the splendor of the firmament,
   And those who lead the many to justice
      shall be like the stars forever.

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Reading from the New Testament during the Season of Easter

Acts 10 He is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead

Rev 14 Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord

Rev 20-21 The dead were judged according to their deeds

Rev 21 There shall be no more death

Acts 10:34-43 or 10:34-36, 42-43
He is the one apoointed by God as judge of the living and the dead.

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles

Peter proceeded to speak and said,
   “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.
You know the word that he sent to the children of Israel
   as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all,
   what has happened all over Judea,
   beginning in Galilee after the baptism
   that John preached,
   how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
   with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good
   and healing all those oppressed by the devil,
   for God was with him.
We are witnesses of all that he did
   both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.
They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.
This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible,
   not to all the people, but to us,
   the witnesses chosen by God in advance,
   who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
He commissioned us to preach to the people
   and testify that he is the one appointed by God
   as judge of the living and the dead.
To him all the prophets bear witness,
   that everyone who believes in him
   will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Or: [Short Form]

Peter proceeded to speak and said,
   “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
   is acceptable to him.
You know the word that he sent to the children of Israel
   as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
He commissioned us to preach to the people
   and testify that he is the one appointed by God
   as judge of the living and the dead.
To him all the prophets bear witness,
   that everyone who believes in him
   will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”

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Revelation 14:13
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.

A reading from the Book of Revelation

I, John, heard a voice from heaven say, “"Write this:
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” said the Spirit,
   “let them find rest from their labors,
   for their works accompany them.”

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Revelation 20:11-21:1
The dead were judged according to their deeds.

A reading from the Book of Revelation

I, John, saw a large white throne and the one who was sitting on it.
The earth and the sky fled from his presence
   and there was no place for them.
I saw the dead, the great and the lowly, standing before the throne,
   and scrolls were opened.
Then another scroll was opened, the book of life.
The dead were judged according to their deeds,
   by what was written in the scrolls.
The sea gave up its dead;
   then Death and Hades gave up their dead.
All the dead were judged according to their deeds.
Then Death and Hades were thrown into the pool of fire.
(This pool of fire is the second death.)
Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life
   was thrown into the pool of fire.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth.
The former heaven and the former earth had passed away,
   and the sea was no more.

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Revelation 21:1-5a, 6b-7
There shall be no more death.

A reading from the Book of Revelation

I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth.
The former heaven and the former earth had passed away,
   and the sea was no more.
I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,
   coming down out of heaven from God,
   prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
   “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.
He will dwell with them and they will be his people
   and God himself will always be with them as their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
   and there shall be no more death or mourning,
   wailing or pain,
   for the old order has passed away.”

The one who sat on the throne said,
   “Behold, I make all things new.
I am the Alpha and the Omega,
   the beginning and the end.
To the thirsty I will give a gift
   from the spring of life-giving water.
The victor will inherit these gifts,
   and I shall be his God,
   and he will be my son.”

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Responsorial Psalm

Ps 23

Ps 25

Ps 27

Ps 42 and 43

Ps 63

Ps 103

Ps 116

Ps 122

Ps 130

Ps 143

Psalm 23:1-3, 4, 5, 6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R. (4ab)
Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
   In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
   he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths
   for his name’s sake.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R.
Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.

Even though I walk in the dark valley
   I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
   that give me courage.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R.
Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.

You spread the table before me
   in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
   my cup overflows.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R.
Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.

Only goodness and kindness follow me
   all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
   for years to come.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R.
Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.

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Psalm 25:6 and 7b, 17-18, 20-21

R. (1) To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
or:
R. (3a)
No one who waits for you, O Lord, will ever be be put to shame.

Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
   and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
   because of your goodness, O LORD.

R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
or:
R.
No one who waits for you, O Lord, will ever be be put to shame.

Relieve the troubles of my heart;
   and bring me out of my distress.
Put an end to my affliction and my suffering;
   and take away all my sins.

R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
or:
R.
No one who waits for you, O Lord, will ever be be put to shame.

Preserve my life and rescue me;
   let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
   because I wait for you, O LORD.

R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
or:
R.
No one who waits for you, O Lord, will ever be be put to shame.

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Psalm 27:1, 4, 7 and 8b and 9a, 13-14

R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
or:
R. (13)
I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
   whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
   of whom should I be afraid?

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
or:
R.
I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

One thing I ask of the LORD;
   this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
   all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
   and contemplate his temple.

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
or:
R.
I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

Hear, O LORD, the sound of my call;
   have pity on me, and answer me.
Your presence, O LORD, I seek.
   Hide not your face from me.

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
or:
R.
I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
   in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
   be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
or:
R.
I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

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Psalm 42:3, 5cdef, 42:3, 4, 5

R. (42:3) My soul is thirsting for the living God: when shall I see him face to face?

As the hind longs for the running waters,
   so my soul longs for you, O God.

R. My soul is thirsting for the living God: when shall I see him face to face?

Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
   When shall I go and behold the face of God?

R. My soul is thirsting for the living God: when shall I see him face to face?

I went with the throng and led them in procession
   to the house of God.
Amid loud cries of joy and thanksgiving,
   with the multitude keeping festival.

R. My soul is thirsting for the living God: when shall I see him face to face?

Send forth your light and your fidelity;
   they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
   to your dwelling-place.

R. My soul is thirsting for the living God: when shall I see him face to face?

Then will I go in to the altar of God,
   the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
   O God, my God!

R. My soul is thirsting for the living God: when shall I see him face to face?

Why are you so downcast, O my soul?
   Why do you sigh within me?
Hope in God! For I shall again be thanking him,
   in the presence of my savior and my God.

R. My soul is thirsting for the living God: when shall I see him face to face?

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Psalm 63: 2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

R. (2b) My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord, my God.

O God, you are my God whom I seek;
   for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
   like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.

R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord, my God.

Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
   to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
   my lips shall glorify you.

R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord, my God.

Thus will I bless you while I live;
   lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
   and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.

R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord, my God.

You are my help,
   and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
   your right hand upholds me.

R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord, my God.

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Psalm 103:8 and 10, 13-14, 15-16, 17-18

R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
or:
R. (37:39a)
The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
   slow to anger, and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
   nor does he requite us according to our crimes.

R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
or:
R.
The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

As a father has compassion on his children,
   so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
For he knows how we are formed,
   he remembers that we are dust.

R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
or:
R.
The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

Man’s days are like those of grass;
   like a flower of the field he blooms;
The wind sweeps over him and he is gone,
   and his place knows him no more.

R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
or:
R.
The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

But the kindness of the LORD is from eternity,
   to eternity toward those who fear him,
And his justice toward children’s children
   among those who keep his covenant
   and remember to fulfill his precepts.

R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
or:
R.
The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

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Psalm 116:5, 6, 10-11, 15-16ac

R. (9) I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living.
or:
R.
Alleluia.

Gracious is the LORD and just;
   yes, our God is merciful.

R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living.
or:
R.
Alleluia.

The LORD keeps the little ones;
   I was brought low, and he saved me.

R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living.
or:
R.
Alleluia.

I believed, even when I said,
   “I am greatly afflicted”;
I said in my alarm,
   “No man is dependable.”

R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living.
or:
R.
Alleluia.

Precious in the eyes of the LORD
   is the death of his faithful ones.
O LORD, I am your servant,
   you have loosed my bonds.

R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living.
or:
R.
Alleluia.

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Psalm 122:1-2, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (1) I rejoiced when I heard them say: let us go to the house of the Lord.
or:
R. (See 1)
Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

I rejoiced because they said to me,
   “We will go up to the house of the LORD.”
And now we have set foot
   within your gates, O Jerusalem.

R. I rejoiced when I heard them say: let us go to the house of the Lord.
or:
R.
Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

To it the tribes go up,
   the tribes of the LORD,
According to the decree for Israel,
   to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
   seats for the house of David.

R. I rejoiced when I heard them say: let us go to the house of the Lord.
or:
R.
Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
   May those who love you prosper!
May peace be within your walls,
   prosperity in your buildings.

R. I rejoiced when I heard them say: let us go to the house of the Lord.
or:
R.
Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Because of my relatives and friends
   I will say “Peace be within you!”
Because of the house of the LORD, our God,
   I will pray for your good.

R. I rejoiced when I heard them say: let us go to the house of the Lord.
or:
R.
Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

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Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6ab, 6c-7, 8

R. (see 5) Out of the depths, I cry to you, Lord
or:
R. (see 5)
I hope in the Lord, I trust in his word.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
   LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
   to my voice in supplication.

R. Out of the depths, I cry to you, Lord
or:
R.
I hope in the Lord, I trust in his word.

If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
   LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
   that you may be revered.

R. Out of the depths, I cry to you, Lord
or:
R.
I hope in the Lord, I trust in his word.

I trust in the LORD;
   my soul trusts in his word.
My soul waits for the LORD
   more than the sentinels wait for the dawn.

R. Out of the depths, I cry to you, Lord
or:
R.
I hope in the Lord, I trust in his word.

For with the LORD is kindness
   and with him is plenteous redemption.

R. Out of the depths, I cry to you, Lord
or:
R.
I hope in the Lord, I trust in his word.

And he will redeem Israel
   from all their iniquities.

R. Out of the depths, I cry to you, Lord
or:
R.
I hope in the Lord, I trust in his word.

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Psalm 143:1-2, 5-6, 7ab and 8ab, 10

R. (1a) O Lord, hear my prayer.

O LORD, hear my prayer;
   hearken to my pleading in your faithfulness;
   in your justice answer me.
And enter not into judgment with your servant,
   for before you no living man is just.

R. O Lord, hear my prayer.

I remember the days of old;
   I meditate on all your doings;
   the works of your hands I ponder.
I stretch out my hands to you;
   my soul thirsts for you like parched land.

R. O Lord, hear my prayer.

Hasten to answer me, O LORD;
   for my spirit fails me.
At dawn let me hear of your mercy,
   for in you I trust.

R. O Lord, hear my prayer.

Teach me to do your will,
   for you are my God.
May your good spirit guide me
   on level ground.

R. O Lord, hear my prayer.

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Reading from the New Testament

Rom 5 Since we are now justified in his Blood, we will be saved through him from the wrath

Rom 5 Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more

Rom 6 We too might live in newness of life

Rom 8 We also groan within ourselves

as we wait for adoption,
the redemption of our bodies

Rom 8 What will separate us from the love of Christ?

Rom 14 Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s

1 Cor 15 So too in Christ shall all be brought to life

1 Cor 15 Death is swallowed up in victory

2 Cor 4 What is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal

2 Cor 5 We have a building from God, eternal in heaven

Phil 3 He will change our lowly bodies to conform to his glory

1 Thes 4 Thus we shall always be with the Lord

1 Tm 2 If we have died with him, we also shall live with him

1 Jn 3 We shall see him as he is

1 Jn 3 We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers

Romans 5:5-11
Since we are now justified in his Blood, we will be saved through him from the wrath.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans

Brothers and sisters:
Hope does not disappoint,
   because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts
   through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless,
   died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person,
   though perhaps for a good person
   one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
   in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
How much more then, since we are now justified by his Blood,
   will we be saved through him from the wrath.
Indeed, if, while we were enemies,
   we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son,
   how much more, once reconciled,
   will we be saved by his life.
Not only that,
   but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
   through whom we have now received reconciliation.

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Romans 5:17-21
Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans

Brothers and sisters:
If, by the transgression of the one person,
   death came to reign through that one,
   how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace
   and of the gift of justification
   come to reign in life through the one person Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, just as through one transgression
   condemnation came upon all,
   so through one righteous act,
   acquittal and life came to all.
For just as through the disobedience of the one man
   the many were made sinners,
   so through the obedience of the one
   the many will be made righteous.
The law entered in so that transgression might increase
   but, where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more, so that,
   as sin reigned in death,
   grace also might reign through justification for eternal life
   through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Romans 6:3-9 or 6:3-4, 8-9
We too might live in newness of life.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans

Brothers and sisters:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
   were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death,
   so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
   by the glory of the Father,
   we too might live in newness of life.

For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his,
   we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.
We know that our old self was crucified with him,
   so that our sinful body might be done away with,
   that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.
For a dead person has been absolved from sin.
If, then, we have died with Christ,
   we believe that we shall also live with him.
We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more;
   death no longer has power over him.

Or: [Short Form]

Brothers and sisters:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
   were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death,
   so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
   by the glory of the Father,
   we too might live in newness of life.

If, then, we have died with Christ,
   we believe that we shall also live with him.
We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more;
   death no longer has power over him.

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Romans 8:14-23
We also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans

Brothers and sisters:
Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
   but you received a spirit of adoption,
   through which we cry, Abba, “Father!”
The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit
   that we are children of God,
   and if children, then heirs,
   heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
   if only we suffer with him
   so that we may also be glorified with him.

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing
   compared with the glory to be revealed for us.
For creation awaits with eager expectation
   the revelation of the children of God;
   for creation was made subject to futility,
   not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it,
   in hope that creation itself
   would be set free from slavery to corruption
   and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now;
   and not only that, but we ourselves,
   who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
   we also groan within ourselves
   as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

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Romans 8:31b-35, 37-39
What will separate us from the love of Christ?

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans

Brothers and sisters:
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son
   but handed him over for us all,
   will he not also give us everything else along with him?
Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones?
It is God who acquits us.
Who will condemn?
It is Christ Jesus who died, rather, was raised,
   who also is at the right hand of God,
   who indeed intercedes for us.
What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
   or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?

No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly
   through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
   nor angels, nor principalities,
   nor present things, nor future things,
   nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
   nor any other creature will be able to separate us
   from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Romans 14:7-9, 10c-12
Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans

Brothers and sisters:
No one lives for oneself,
   and no one dies for oneself.
For if we live, we live for the Lord,
   and if we die, we die for the Lord;
   so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
For this is why Christ died and came to life,
   that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Why then do you judge your brother?
Or you, why do you look down on your brother?
For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God;
   for it is written:

   As I live, says the Lord, every knee
      shall bend before me,
      and every tongue shall give praise to God.


So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.

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1 Corinthians 15:20-28 or 15:20-23
So too in Christ shall all be brought to life.

A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians

Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
   the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through a man,
   the resurrection of the dead came also through a man.
For just as in Adam all die,
   so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
   but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
   then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
   then comes the end,
   when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death,
   for he subjected everything under his feet.
But when it says that everything has been subjected,
   it is clear that it excludes the one who subjected everything to him.

When everything is subjected to him,
   then the Son himself will also be subjected
   to the one who subjected everything to him,
   so that God may be all in all.

Or: [Short Form]

Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
   the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through a man,
   the resurrection of the dead came also through a man.
For just as in Adam all die,
   so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
   but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
   then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ.

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1 Corinthians 15:51-57
Death is swallowed up in victory.

A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians

Brothers and sisters:
Behold, I tell you a mystery.
We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed,
   in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound,
   the dead will be raised incorruptible,
   and we shall be changed.
For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility,
   and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality.
And when this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility
   and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality,
   then the word that is written shall come about:

      Death is swallowed up in victory.
      Where, O death, is your victory?
      Where, O death, is your sting?


The sting of death is sin,
   and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God who gives us the victory
   through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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2 Corinthians 4:14-5:1
What is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.

A reading from the second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians

Brothers and sisters:
We know that the One who raised the Lord Jesus
   will raise us also with Jesus
   and place us with you in his presence.
Everything indeed is for you,
   so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people
   may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.
Therefore, we are not discouraged;
   rather, although our outer self is wasting away,
   our inner self is being renewed day by day.
For this momentary light affliction
   is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
   as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen;
   for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.

For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent,
   should be destroyed,
   we have a building from God,
   a dwelling not made with hands,
   eternal in heaven.

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2 Corinthians 5:1, 6-10
We have a building from God, eternal in heaven.

A reading from the second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians

Brothers and sisters:
We know that if our earthly dwelling,
   a tent, should be destroyed,
   we have a building from God,
   a dwelling not made with hands,
   eternal in heaven.

We are always courageous,
   although we know that while we are at home in the body
   we are away from the Lord,
   for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Yet we are courageous,
   and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.
Therefore, we aspire to please him,
   whether we are at home or away.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
   so that each one may receive recompense,
   according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.

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Philippians 3:20-21
He will change our lowly bodies to conform to his glory.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians

Brothers and sisters:
Our citizenship is in heaven,
   and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He will change our lowly body
   to conform with his glorified Body
   by the power that enables him also
   to bring all things into subjection to himself.

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1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Thus we shall always be with the Lord.

A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,
   about those who have fallen asleep,
   so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose,
   so too will God, through Jesus,
   bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord,
   that we who are alive,
   who are left until the coming of the Lord,
   will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself, with a word of command,
   with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God,
   will come down from heaven,
   and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive, who are left,
   will be caught up together with them in the clouds
   to meet the Lord in the air.
Thus we shall always be with the Lord.
Therefore, console one another with these words.

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2 Timothy 2:8-11
If we have died with him, we also shall live with him.

A reading from the second Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy

Beloved:
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David:
   such is my Gospel, for which I am suffering,
   even to the point of chains, like a criminal.
But the word of God is not chained.
Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen,
   so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus,
   together with eternal glory.
This saying is trustworthy:
   If we have died with him
      we shall also live with him;
   if we persevere
      we shall also reign with him.
   But if we deny him
      he will deny us.
   If we are unfaithful
      he remains faithful,
      for he cannot deny himself.

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1 John 3:1-2
We shall see him as he is.

A reading from the first Letter of Saint John

Beloved:
See what love the Father has bestowed on us
   that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us
   is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now;
   what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
   for we shall see him as he is.

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1 John 3:14-16
We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers.

A reading from the first Letter of Saint John

Beloved:
We know that we have passed from death to life
   because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
   and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
   was that he laid down his life for us;
   so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

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Alleluia Verse and Verse before the Gospel

1015.1 See Matthew 11:25

Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to the childlike the mysteries of the Kingdom.

1015.2 Matthew 25:34

Come, you who are blessed by my Father, says the Lord;
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

1015.3 John 3:16

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

1015.4 John 6:39

This is the will of my Father, says the Lord,
that I should lose nothing of all that he has given to me,
and that I should raise it up on the last day.

1015.5 John 6:40

This is the will of my Father, says the Lord,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.

1015.6 John 6:51

I am the living bread that came down from heaven,
says the Lord; whoever eats this bread will live forever.

1015.7 John 11:25a, 26

I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;
whoever believes in me will never die.

1015.8 See Philippians 3:20

Our true home is in heaven,
and Jesus Christ, whose return we long for,
will come from heaven to save us.

1015.9 2 Timothy 2:11-12a

If we die with Christ, we shall live with him,
and if we persevere we shall also reign with him.

1015.10 Revelation 1:5a, 6b

Jesus Christ is the firstborn from the dead;
glory and power be his forever and ever. Amen.

1015.11 Revelation 14:13

Blessed are those who die in the Lord;
let them rest from their labors for their good deeds go with them.

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Gospel Reading

Mt 5 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven

Mt 11 Come to me and I will give you rest

Mt 25 Behold the bridegroom! Come out to him!

Mt 25 Come, you who are blessed by my Father

Mk 15-16 Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last

Lk 7 Young man, I tell you, arise!

Lk 12 You also must be prepared

Lk 23 Today you will be with me in paradise

Lk 23 Father, into your hands I commend my spirit

Lk 24 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?

Jn 5 Whoever hears my word and believes in me has passed from death to life

Jn 6 Everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life

Jn 6 Whoever eats this bread will live forever, and I will raise them on the last day

Jn 11 I am the resurrection and the life

Jn 11 Lazarus, come out!

Jn 12 If it dies, it produces much fruit

Jn 14 In my Father’s house there are many dwellings

Jn 17 I wish that where I am they also may be with me

Jn 19 And bowing his head he handed over his Spirit

Matthew 5:1-12a
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
   and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:

   “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
   Blessed are they who mourn,
      for they will be comforted.
   Blessed are the meek,
      for they will inherit the land.
   Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
      for they will be satisfied.
   Blessed are the merciful,
      for they will be shown mercy.
   Blessed are the clean of heart,
      for they will see God.
   Blessed are the peacemakers,
      for they will be called children of God.
   Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
   Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
      and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
   Rejoice and be glad,
      for your reward will be great in heaven.”

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Matthew 11:25-30
Come to me and I will give you rest.

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew

At that time Jesus answered:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
   for although you have hidden these things
   from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
   and no one knows the Father except the Son
   and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
   and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
   for I am meek and humble of heart;
   and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

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Matthew 25:1-13
Behold the bridegroom! Come out to him!

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
   who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
   brought no oil with them,
   but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
   they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
   ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
   ‘Give us some of your oil,
   for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise ones replied,
   ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it,
   the bridegroom came
   and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
   ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply,
   ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake,
   for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

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Matthew 25:31-46
Come, you who are blessed by my Father.

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
   and all the angels with him,
   he will sit upon his glorious throne,
   and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
   as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
   ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
   I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
   a stranger and you welcomed me,
   naked and you clothed me,
   ill and you cared for me,
   in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
   ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
   or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
   or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
   ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
   for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
   ‘Depart from me, you accursed,
   into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
   I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
   a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
   naked and you gave me no clothing,
   ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
   ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
   or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
   and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
   what you did not do for one of these least ones,
   you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
   but the righteous to eternal life.”

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Mark 15:33-39; 16:1-6 or 15:33-39
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark

At noon darkness came over the whole land
   until three in the afternoon.
And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
   Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?
   which is translated,
   “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
   “Look, he is calling Elijah.”
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed,
   and gave it to him to drink, saying,
   “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.
The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
   saw how he breathed his last he said,
   “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

When the sabbath was over,
   Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome
   bought spices so that they might go and anoint him.
Very early when the sun had risen,
   on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb.
They were saying to one another,
   “Who will roll back the stone for us
   from the entrance to the tomb?”
When they looked up,
   they saw that the stone had been rolled back;
   it was very large.
On entering the tomb they saw a young man
   sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe,
   and they were utterly amazed.
He said to them, “Do not be amazed!
You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here.
Behold the place where they laid him.”

Or: [Short Form]

At noon darkness came over the whole land
   until three in the afternoon.
And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
   Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?
   which is translated,
   “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
   “Look, he is calling Elijah.”
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed,
   and gave it to him to drink, saying,
   “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.
The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
   saw how he breathed his last he said,
   “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

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Luke 7:11-17
Young man, I tell you, arise!

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
   and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city,
   a man who had died was being carried out,
   the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
   he was moved with pity for her and said to her,
   “Do not weep.”
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
   at this the bearers halted,
   and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!:
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
   and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
   “A great prophet has arisen in our midst,”
   and “God has visited his people.”
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
   and in all the surrounding region.

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Luke 12:35-40
You also must be prepared.

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Gird your loins and light your lamps
   and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
   ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
   whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
   have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
   and find them prepared in this way,
   blessed are those servants.
Be sure of this:
   if the master of the house had known the hour
   when the thief was coming,
   he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
   the Son of Man will come.”

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Luke 23:33, 39-43
Today you will be with me in paradise.

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke

When the soldiers came to the place called the Skull,
   they crucified him and the criminals there,
   one on his right, the other on his left.

Now one of the criminals hanging there
   reviled Jesus, saying,
   “Are you not the Christ?
   Save yourself and us.”
The other man, however, rebuking him, said in reply,
   “Have you no fear of God,
   for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly,
   for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes,
   but this man has done nothing criminal.”
Then he said,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him,
   “Amen, I say to you,
   today you will be with me in Paradise.”

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Luke 23:44-46, 50, 52-53; 24:1-6a or 23:44-46, 50, 52-53
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke

It was about noon and darkness came over the whole land
   until three in the afternoon
   because of an eclipse of the sun.
Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle.
Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
   “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”;
   and when he had said this he breathed his last.

Now there was a virtuous and righteous man named Joseph who,
   though he was a member of the council,
   went to Pilate and asked for the Body of Jesus.
After he had taken the body down,
   he wrapped it in a linen cloth
   and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb
   in which no one had yet been buried.

At daybreak on the first day of the week
   the women took the spices they had prepared
   and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb;
   but when they entered,
   they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were puzzling over this,
   behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.
They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.
They said to them,
   “Why do you seek the living one among the dead?
He is not here, but he has been raised.”

Or: [Short Form]

It was about noon and darkness came over the whole land
   until three in the afternoon
   because of an eclipse of the sun.
Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle.
Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
   “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”;
   and when he had said this he breathed his last.

Now there was a virtuous and righteous man named Joseph who,
   though he was a member of the council,
   went to Pilate and asked for the Body of Jesus.
After he had taken the body down,
   he wrapped it in a linen cloth
   and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb
   in which no one had yet been buried.

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Luke 24:13-35 or 24:13-16, 28-35
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke

That very day, the first day of the week,
   two of the disciples of Jesus were going
   to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem,
   and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
   Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
   but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them,
   “What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
   “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
   who does not know of the things
   that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”
They said to him,
   “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
   who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
   before God and all the people,
   how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
   to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
   and besides all this,
   it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
   they were at the tomb early in the morning
   and did not find his Body;
   they came back and reported
   that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
   who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
   and found things just as the women had described,
   but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
   and enter into his glory?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
   he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
   he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
   for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
   he took bread, said the blessing,
   broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
   but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
   “Were not our hearts burning within us
   while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”

So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
   where they found gathered together
   the Eleven and those with them, who were saying,
   “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted
   what had taken place on the way
   and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Or: [Short Form]

That very day, the first day of the week,
   two of the disciples of Jesus were going
   to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem,
   and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
   Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
   but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
   he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
   for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
   he took bread, said the blessing,
   broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
   but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
   “Were not our hearts burning within us
   while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”

So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
   where they found gathered together
   the Eleven and those with them, who were saying,
   “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted
   what had taken place on the way
   and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

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John 5:24-29
Whoever hears my word and believes in me has passed from death to life.

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Jesus answered the Jews and said to them:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word
   and believes in the one who sent me
   has eternal life and will not come to condemnation,
   but has passed from death to life.
Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here
   when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God,
   and those who hear will live.
For just as the Father has life in himself,
   so also he gave to his Son the possession of life in himself.
And he gave him power to exercise judgment,
   because he is the Son of Man.
Do not be amazed at this,
   because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs
   will hear his voice and will come out,
   those who have done good deeds
   to the resurrection of life,
   but those who have done wicked deeds
   to the resurrection of condemnation.”

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John 6:37-40
Everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life and I shall raise him on the last day.

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Jesus said to the crowds:
“Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
   and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
   because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
   but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
   that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
   but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
   that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
   may have eternal life,
   and I shall raise him on the last day.”

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John 6:51-58
Whoever eats this bread will live forever, and I will raise them on the last day.

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Jesus said to the crowds:
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
   whoever eats this bread will live forever;
   and the bread that I will give is my Flesh
   for the life of the world.”

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
   “How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
   “Amen, amen, I say to you,
   unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood,
   you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
   has eternal life,
   and I will raise him on the last day.
For my Flesh is true food,
   and my Blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
   remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
   and I have life because of the Father,
   so also the one who feeds on me
   will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
   whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

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John 11:17-27 or 11:21-27
I am the resurrection and the life.

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

When Jesus arrived in Bethany, he found that Lazarus
   had already been in the tomb for four days.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away.
Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
   to comfort them about their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
   she went to meet him;
   but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
   “Lord, if you had been here,
   my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
   God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
   “Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
   “I know he will rise,
   in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
   “I am the resurrection and the life;
   whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
   and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God,
   the one who is coming into the world.”

Or: [Short Form]

Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
   my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
   God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
   “Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
   “I know he will rise,
   in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
   “I am the resurrection and the life;
   whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
   and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God,
   the one who is coming into the world.”

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John 11:32-45
Lazarus, come out!

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him,
   she fell at his feet and said to him,
   “Lord, if you had been here,
   my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping,
   he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,
   “Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said,
   “Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man
   have done something so that this man would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him,
   “Lord, by now there will be a stench;
   he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
   “Did I not tell you that if you believe
   you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,
   “Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me;
   but because of the crowd here I have said this,
   that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this,
   he cried out in a loud voice,
   “Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
   tied hand and foot with burial bands,
   and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to the crowd,
   “Untie him and let him go.”

Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
   and seen what he had done began to believe in him.

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John 12:23-28 or 12 23:26
If it dies, it produces much fruit.

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Jesus said to this disciples:
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
   unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
   it remains just a grain of wheat;
   but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life will lose it,
   and whoever hates his life in this world
   will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
   and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me.

“I am troubled now. Yet what should I say?
‘Father, save me from this hour’?
But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.
Father, glorify your name.”
Then a voice came from heaven,
   “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.”

Or; [Short Form]

Jesus said to this disciples:
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
   unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
   it remains just a grain of wheat;
   but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life will lose it,
   and whoever hates his life in this world
   will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
   and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me.

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John 14:1-6
In my Father’s house there are many dwellings.

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Jesus said to this disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
   would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
   I will come back again and take you to myself,
   so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
   “Master, we do not know where you are going;
   how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”

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John 17:24-26
I wish that where I am they also may be with me.

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:
“Father, those whom you gave me are your gift to me.
I wish that where I am they also may be with me,
   that they may see my glory that you gave me,
   because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,
   but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known,
   that the love with which you loved me
   may be in them and I in them.”

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John 19:17-18, 25-39
And bowing his head he handed over his Spirit.

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself
   he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull,
   in Hebrew, Golgotha.
There they crucified him, and with him two others,
   one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
   and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
   and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved,
   he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
   “Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, aware that everything was now finished,
   in order that the scripture might be fulfilled,
   Jesus said, “I thirst.”
There was a vessel filled with common wine.
So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop
   and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,
   “It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the Spirit.

Now since it was preparation day,
   in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath,
   for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one,
   the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken
   and they be taken down.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first
   and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead,
   they did not break his legs,
   but one soldier thrust his lance into his side,
   and immediately blood and water flowed out.
An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true;
   he knows that he is speaking the truth,
   so that you also may come to believe.
For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled:
   Not a bone of it will be broken.
And again another passage says:
   They will look upon him whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathea,
   secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews,
   asked Pilate if he could remove the Body of Jesus.
And Pilate permitted it.
So he came and took his Body.
Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night,
   also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes
   weighing about one hundred pounds.

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The Order of Christian Funerals


GENERAL INTRODUCTION

Why do you search for the Living One among the dead?

1
In the face of death, the Church confidently proclaims that God has created each person for eternal life and that Jesus, the Son of God, by his death and resurrection, has broken the chains of sin and death that bound humanity. Christ “achieved his task of redeeming humanity and giving perfect glory to God, principally by the paschal mystery of his blessed passion, resurrection from the dead, and glorious ascension.”[1]

2 The proclamation of Jesus Christ “who was put to death for our sins and raised to life to justify us” (Romans 4:25) is at the center of the Church’s life. The mystery of the Lord’s death and resurrection gives power to all of the Church’s activity. “For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth the sublime sacrament of the whole Church.” [2] The Church’s liturgical and sacramental life and proclamation of the Gospel make this mystery present in the life of the faithful. Through the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and eucharist, men and women are initiated into this mystery. “You have been taught that when we were baptized in Christ Jesus we were baptized into his death; in other words when we were baptized 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” (Romans 6:3-5).

3 In the eucharistic sacrifice, the Church’s celebration of Christ’s Passover from death to life, the faith of the baptized in the paschal mystery is renewed and nourished. Their union with Christ and with each other is strengthened: “Because there is one bread, we who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:17).

4 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.

5 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.

6 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.

7 The celebration of the Christian funeral brings hope and consolation to the living. While proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and witnessing to Christian hope in the resurrection, the funeral rites also recall to all who take part in them God’s mercy and judgment and meet the human need to turn always to God in times of crisis.

MINISTRY AND PARTICIPATION

8 “If one member suffers in the body of Christ which is the Church, all the members suffer with that member” (1 Corinthians 12:26). For this reason, those who are baptized into Christ and nourished at the same table of the Lord are responsible for one another. When Christians are sick, their brothers and sisters share a ministry of mutual charity and “do all that they can to help the sick return to health, by showing love for the sick, and by celebrating the sacraments with them.” [3] So too when a member of Christ’s Body dies, the faithful are called to a ministry of consolation to those who have suffered the loss of one whom they love. Christian consolation is rooted in that hope that comes from faith in the saving death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christian hope faces the reality of death and the anguish of grief but trusts confidently that the power of sin and death has been vanquished by the risen Lord. The Church calls each member of Christ’s Body— priest, deacon, layperson — to participate in the ministry of consolation: to care for the dying, to pray for the dead, to comfort those who mourn.

Community

9 The responsibility for the ministry of consolation rests with the believing community, which heeds the words and example of the Lord Jesus: “Blessed are they who mourn; they shall be consoled” (Matthew 5:3). Each Christian shares in this ministry according to the various gifts and offices in the Church. As part of the pastoral ministry, pastors, associate pastors, and other ministers should instruct the parish community on the Christian meaning of death and on the purpose and significance of the Church’s liturgical rites for the dead. Information on how the parish community assists families in preparing for funerals should also be provided.

By giving instruction, pastors and associate pastors should lead the community to a deeper appreciation of its role in the ministry of consolation and to a fuller understanding of the significance of the death of a fellow Christian. Often the community must respond to the anguish voiced by Martha, the sister of Lazarus: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would never have died” (John 11:21) and must console those who mourn, as Jesus himself consoled Martha: “Your brother will rise again. . . . I am the resurrection and the life: those who believe in me, though they should die, will come to life; and those who are alive and believe in me will never die” (John 11:25-26). The faith of the Christian community in the resurrection of the dead brings support and strength to those who suffer the loss of those whom they love.

10 Members of the community should console the mourners with words of faith and support and with acts of kindness, for example, assisting them with some of the routine tasks of daily living. Such assistance may allow members of the family to devote time to planning the funeral rites with the priest and other ministers and may also give the family time for prayer and mutual comfort.

11 The community’s principal involvement in the ministry of consolation is expressed in its active participation in the celebration of the funeral rites, particularly the vigil for the deceased, the funeral liturgy, and the rite of committal. For this reason these rites should be scheduled at times that permit as many of the community as possible to be present. The assembly’s participation can be assisted by the preparation of booklets that contain an outline of the rite, the texts and songs belonging to the people, and directions for posture, gesture, and movement.

12 At the vigil for the deceased or on another occasion before the eucharistic celebration, the presiding minister should invite all to be present at the funeral liturgy and to take an active part in it. The minister may also describe the funeral liturgy and explain why the community gathers to hear the word of God proclaimed and to celebrate the eucharist when one of the faithful dies.

Pastors, associate pastors, and other ministers should also be mindful of those persons who are not members of the Catholic Church, or Catholics who are not involved in the life of the Church.

13 As a minister of reconciliation, the priest should be especially sensitive to the possible needs for reconciliation felt by the family and others. Funerals can begin the process of reconciling differences and supporting those ties that can help the bereaved adjust to the loss brought about by death. With attentiveness to each situation, the priest can help to begin the process of reconciliation when needed. In some cases this process may find expression in the celebration of the sacrament of penance, either before the funeral liturgy or at a later time.

Liturgical Ministers

Presiding Minister

14 Priests, as teachers of faith and ministers of comfort, preside at the funeral rites, especially the Mass; the celebration of the funeral liturgy is especially entrusted to pastors and associate pastors. When no priest is available, deacons, as ministers of the word, of the altar, and of charity, preside at funeral rites. When no priest or deacon is available for the vigil and related rites or the rite of committal, a layperson presides.

Other Liturgical Ministers

15 In the celebration of the funeral rites laymen and laywomen may serve as readers, musicians, ushers, pallbearers, and, according to existing norms, as special ministers of the eucharist. Pastors and other priests should instill in these ministers an appreciation of how much the reverent exercise of their ministries contributes to the celebration of the funeral rites. Family members should be encouraged to take an active part in these ministries, but they should not be asked to assume any role that their grief or sense of loss may make too burdensome.

MINISTRY FOR THE MOURNERS AND THE DECEASED

Family and Friends

16 In planning and carrying out the funeral rites the pastor and all other ministers should keep in mind the life of the deceased and the circumstances of death. They should also take into consideration the spiritual and psychological needs of the family and friends of the deceased to express grief and their sense of loss, to accept the reality of death, and to comfort one another.

17 Whenever possible, ministers should involve the family in planning the funeral rites: in the choice of texts and rites provided in the ritual, in the selection of music for the rites, and in the designation of liturgical ministers. Planning of the funeral rites may take place during the visit of the pastor or other minister at some appropriate time after the death and before the vigil service. Ministers should explain to the family the meaning and significance of each of the funeral rites, especially the vigil, the funeral liturgy, and the rite of committal.

If pastoral and personal considerations allow, the period before death may be an appropriate time to plan the funeral rites with the family and even with the family member who is dying. Although planning the funeral before death should be approached with sensitivity and care, it can have the effect of helping the one who is dying and the family face the reality of death with Christian hope. It can also help relieve the family of numerous details after the death and may allow them to benefit more fully from the celebration of the funeral rites.

Deceased

18 Through the celebration of the funeral rites, the Church manifests its care for the dead, both baptized members and catechumens. In keeping with the provisions of Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 1183, the Church’s funeral rites may be celebrated for a child who died before baptism and whose parents intended to have the child baptized.

At the discretion of the local Ordinary, the Church’s funeral rites may be celebrated for a baptized member of another Church or ecclesial community provided this would not be contrary to the wishes of the deceased person and provided the minister of the Church or ecclesial community in which the deceased person was a regular member or communicant is unavailable.

19 Since in baptism the body was marked with the seal of the Trinity and became the temple of the Holy Spirit, Christians respect and honor the bodies of the dead and the places where they rest. Any customs associated with the preparation of the body of the deceased should always be marked with dignity and reverence and never with the despair of those who have no hope. Preparation of the body should include prayer, especially at those intimate moments reserved for family members. For the final disposition of the body, it is the ancient Christian custom to bury or en-tomb the bodies of the dead; cremation is permitted, unless it is evident that cremation was chosen for anti-Christian motives.

20 In countries or regions where an undertaker, and not the family or community, carries out the preparation and transfer of the body, the pastor and other ministers are to ensure that the undertakers appreciate the values and beliefs of the Christian community.

The family and friends of the deceased should not be excluded from taking part in the services sometimes provided by undertakers, for example, the preparation and laying out of the body.

LITURGICAL ELEMENTS

21 Since liturgical celebration involves the whole person, it requires attentiveness to all that affects the senses. The readings and prayers, psalms and songs should be proclaimed or sung with understanding, conviction, and reverence. Music for the assembly should be truly expressive of the texts and at the same time simple and easily sung. The ritual gestures, processions, and postures should express and foster an attitude of reverence and reflectiveness in those taking part in the funeral rites. The funeral rites should be celebrated in an atmosphere of simple beauty, in a setting that encourages participation. Liturgical signs and symbols affirming Christian belief and hope in the paschal mystery are abundant in the celebration of the funeral rites, but their undue multiplication or repetition should be avoided. Care must be taken that the choice and use of signs and symbols are in accord with the culture of the people.

The Word of God

Readings

22 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 and the community with an opportunity to hear God speak to them in their needs, sorrows, fears, and hopes.

23 In the celebration of the liturgy of the word at the funeral liturgy, the biblical readings may not be replaced by nonbiblical readings. But during prayer services with the family nonbiblical readings may be used in addition to readings from Scripture.

24 Liturgical tradition assigns the proclamation of the readings in the celebration of the liturgy of the word to readers and the deacon. The presiding minister proclaims the readings only when there are no assisting ministers present. Those designated to proclaim the word of God should prepare themselves to exercise this ministry.[4]

Psalmody

25 The psalms are rich in imagery, feeling, and symbolism. They powerfully express the suffering and pain, the hope and trust of people of every age and culture. Above all the psalms sing of faith in God, of revelation and redemption. They enable the assembly to pray in the words that Jesus himself used during his life on earth. Jesus, who knew anguish and the fear of death, “offered up prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, to the one who had the power to save him out of death. . . . Although he was Son, he learned to obey through suffering; but having been made perfect, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation . . .” (Hebrews 5:7-9). In the psalms the members of the assembly pray in the voice of Christ, who intercedes on their behalf before the Father.[5] The Church, like Christ, turns again and again to the psalms as a genuine expression of grief and of praise and as a sure source of trust and hope in times of trial. Pastors and other ministers are, therefore, to make an earnest effort through an effective catechesis to lead their communities to a clearer and deeper grasp of at least some of the psalms provided for the funeral rites.

26 The psalms are designated for use in many places in the funeral rites (for example, as responses to the readings, for the processions, for use at the vigil for the deceased). Since the psalms are songs, whenever possible, they should be sung.

Homily

27 A brief homily based on the readings is always given after the gospel reading at the funeral liturgy and may also be given after the readings at the vigil service; but there is never to be a eulogy. Attentive to the grief of those present, the homilist should dwell on God’s compassionate love and on the paschal mystery of the Lord, as proclaimed in the Scripture readings. The homilist should also help the members of the assembly to understand that the mystery of God’s love and the mystery of Jesus’ victorious death and resurrection were present in the life and death of the deceased and that these mysteries are active in their own lives as well. Through the homily members of the family and community should receive consolation and strength to face the death of one of their members with a hope nourished by the saving word of God. Laypersons who preside at the funeral rites give an instruction on the readings.

Prayers and Intercessions

28 In the presidential prayers of the funeral rites the presiding minister addresses God on behalf of the deceased and the mourners in the name of the entire Church. From the variety of prayers provided the minister in consultation with the family should carefully select texts that truly capture the unspoken prayers and hopes of the assembly and also respond to the needs of the mourners.

29 Having heard the word of God proclaimed and preached, the assembly responds at the vigil and at the funeral liturgy with prayers of intercession for the deceased and all the dead, for the family and all who mourn, and for all in the assembly. The holy people of God, confident in their belief in the communion of saints, exercise their royal priesthood by joining together in this prayer for all those who have died.[6]

Several models of intercessions are provided within the rites for adaptation to the circumstances.

Music

30 Music is integral to the funeral rites. It allows the community to express convictions and feelings that words alone may fail to convey. It has the power to console and uplift the mourners and to strengthen the unity of the assembly in faith and love. The texts of the songs chosen for a particular celebration should express the paschal mystery of the Lord’s suffering, death, and triumph over death and should be related to the readings from Scripture.

31 Since music can evoke strong feelings, the music for the celebration of the funeral rites should be chosen with great care. The music at funerals should support, console, and uplift the participants and should help to create in them a spirit of hope in Christ’s victory over death and in the Christian’s share in that victory.

32 Music should be provided for the vigil and funeral liturgy and, whenever possible, for the funeral processions and the rite of committal. The specific notes that precede each of these rites suggest places in the rites where music is appropriate. Many musical settings used by the parish community during the liturgical year may be suitable for use at funerals. Efforts should be made to develop and expand the parish’s repertoire for use at funerals.

33 An organist or other instrumentalist, a cantor, and, whenever possible, even a choir should assist the assembly’s full participation in singing the songs, responses, and acclamations of these rites.

Silence

34 Prayerful silence is an element important to the celebration of the funeral rites. Intervals of silence should be observed, for example, after each reading and during the final commendation and farewell, to permit the assembly to reflect upon the word of God and the meaning of the celebration.

Symbols

Easter Candle and Other Candles

35 The Easter candle reminds the faithful of Christ’s undying presence among them, of his victory over sin and death, and of their share in that victory by virtue of their initiation. It recalls the Easter Vigil, the night when the Church awaits the Lord’s resurrection and when new light for the living and the dead is kindled. During the funeral liturgy and also during the vigil service, when celebrated in the church, the Easter candle may be placed beforehand near the position the coffin will occupy at the conclusion of the procession.

According to local custom, other candles may also be placed near the coffin during the funeral liturgy as a sign of reverence and solemnity.

Holy Water

36 Blessed or holy water reminds the assembly of the saving waters of baptism. In the rite of reception of the body at the church, its use calls to mind the deceased’s baptism and initiation into the community of faith. In the rite of final commendation the gesture of sprinkling may also signify farewell.

Incense

37 Incense is used during the funeral rites as a sign of honor to the body of the deceased, which through baptism became the temple of the Holy Spirit. Incense is also used as a sign of the community’s prayers for the deceased rising to the throne of God and as a sign of farewell.

Other Symbols

38 If it is the custom in the local community, a pall may be placed over the coffin when it is received at the church. A reminder of the baptismal garment of the deceased, the pall is a sign of the Christian dignity of the person. The use of the pall also signifies that all are equal in the eyes of God (see James 2:1-9). A Book of the Gospels or a Bible may be placed on the coffin as a sign that Christians live by the word of God and that fidelity to that word leads to eternal life.

A cross may be placed on the coffin as a reminder that the Christian is marked by the cross in baptism and through Jesus’ suffering on the cross is brought to the victory of his resurrection.

Fresh flowers, used in moderation, can enhance the setting of the funeral rites.

Only Christian symbols may rest on or be placed near the coffin during the funeral liturgy. Any other symbols, for example, national flags, or flags or insignia of associations, have no place in t the funeral liturgy (see no. 132).

Liturgical Color

39 The liturgical color chosen for funerals should express Christian hope but should not be offensive to human grief or sorrow. In the United States, white, violet, or black vestments may be worn at the funeral rites and at other offices and Masses for the dead.

Ritual Gestures and Movement

40 The presiding minister or an assisting minister may quietly direct the assembly in the movements, gestures, and posture appropriate to the particular ritual moment or action.

41 Processions, especially when accompanied with music and singing, can strengthen the bond of communion in the assembly. For processions, ministers of music should give preference to settings of psalms and songs that are responsorial or litanic in style and that allow the people to respond to the verses with an invariable refrain. During the various processions, it is preferable that the pallbearers carry the coffin as a sign of reverence and respect for the deceased.

42 Processions continue to have special significance in funeral celebrations, as in Christian Rome where funeral rites consisted of three “stages” or “stations” joined by two processions. Christians accompanied the body on its last journey. From the home of the deceased the Christian community proceeded to the church singing psalms. When the service in the church concluded, the body was carried in solemn procession to the grave or tomb. During the final procession the congregation sang psalms praising the God of mercy and redemption and antiphons entrusting the deceased to the care of the angels and saints. The funeral liturgy mirrored the journey of human life, the Christian pilgrimage to the heavenly Jerusalem.

In many places and situations a solemn procession on foot to the church or to the place of committal may not be possible. Nevertheless at the conclusion of the funeral liturgy an antiphon or versicle and response may be sung as the body is taken to the entrance of the church. Psalms, hymns, or liturgical songs may also be sung when the participants gather at the place of committal.

SELECTION OF RITES FROM THE ORDER OF CHRISTIAN FUNERALS

43 The Order of Christian Funerals makes provision for the minister, in consultation with the family, to choose those rites and texts that are most suitable to the situation: those that most closely apply to the needs of the mourners, the circumstances of the death, and the customs of the local Christian community. The minister and family may be assisted in the choice of a rite or rites by the reflections preceding each rite or group of rites.

44 Part I, “Funeral Rites,” of the Order of Christian Funerals provides those rites that may be used in the funerals of Christians and is divided into three groups of rites that correspond in general to the three principal ritual moments in Christian funerals: “Vigil and Related Rites and Prayers; “Funeral Liturgy,” and “Rite of Committal.”

45 The section entitled “Vigil and Related Rites and Prayers” includes rites that may be celebrated between the time of death and the funeral liturgy or, should there be no funeral liturgy, before the rite of committal. The vigil is the principal celebration of the Christian community during the time before the funeral liturgy. It may take the form of a liturgy of the word (see nos. 54-97) or of some part of the office for the dead (see Part IV, nos. 348-395). Two vigil services are provided: “Vigil for the Deceased” and “Vigil for the Deceased with Reception at the Church.” The second service is used when the vigil is celebrated in the church and the body is to be received at this time.

“Related Rites and Prayers” includes three brief rites that may be used on occasions of prayer with the family: “Prayers after Death; “Gathering in the Presence of the Body; and “Transfer of the Body to the Church or to the Place of Committal.” These rites are examples or models of what can be done and should be adapted to the circumstances.

46 The section entitled “Funeral Liturgy” provides two forms of the funeral liturgy, the central celebration of the Christian community for the deceased: “Funeral Mass” and “Funeral Liturgy outside Mass.” When one of its members dies, the Church especially encourages the celebration of the Mass. When Mass cannot be celebrated (see no. 178), the second form of the funeral liturgy may be used and a Mass for the deceased should be celebrated, if possible, at a later time.

47 The section entitled “Rite of Committal” includes two forms of the rite of committal, the concluding rite of the funeral: “Rite of Committal” and “Rite of Committal with Final Commendation.” The first form is used when the final commendation is celebrated as part of the conclusion of the funeral liturgy. The second form is used when the final commendation does not take place during the funeral liturgy or when no funeral liturgy precedes the committal.

48 Part II, “Funeral Rites for Children,” provides an adaptation of the principal rites in Part I: “Vigil for a Deceased Child,” “Funeral Liturgy;’ and “Rite of Committal.” These rites may be used in the funerals of infants and young children, including those of early school age. The rites in Part II include texts for use in the case of a baptized child and in the case of a child who died before baptism.

In some instances, for example, the death of an infant, the vigil and funeral liturgy may not be appropriate. Only the rite of committal and perhaps one of the forms of prayer with the family as provided in “Related Rites and Prayers” may be desirable. Part II does not contain “Related Rites and Prayers,” but the rites from Part I may be adapted.

49 Part III, “Texts from Sacred Scripture:’ includes the Scripture readings and psalms for the celebration of the funeral rites. Part IV, “Office for the Dead,” includes “Morning Prayer,” “Evening Prayer:’ and “Additional Hymns.” Part V, “Additional Texts:’ contains “Prayers and Texts in Particular Circumstances” and “Holy Communion outside Mass.” The texts that appear in the various rites in Parts I, II, and IV may be replaced by cor-responding readings and psalms given in Part III and by corresponding prayers and texts given in Part V.


Endnotes

1 Vatican Council II, Constitution on the Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, art. 5.
2 Ibid.
3 See Roman Ritual, Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum, General Introduction, no. 33.
4 See Lectionary for Mass (2nd editio typica, 1981), General Introduction, nos. 49, 52, and 55.
5 See General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, no. 109.
6 See De Oratione communi seu fidelium (2nd ed., Vatican Polyglot Press, 1966), chapter 1, no. 3, p. 7: tr., Documents on the Liturgy (The Liturgical Press, 1982), no. 1893.

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