If you are reading this page because you have just been bereaved, we both would like to offer you our very deep sympathy and a reassurance that, to the best of our ability, we will ensure that the funeral of the person you love will be dignified, gentle, appropriate and prayerful. We will help in any way we can.
Fr. Ian O’Neill PP
Some General Points In Preparing For A Funeral In Our Parish
You are not on your own!
- Thankfully, it is part of our religious and cultural inheritance in the West of Ireland that your family, friends and neighbours will rally around you so, even though such arrangements seem daunting, many people will willingly offer help. Remember there is no rush; things will fall into place.
- The most important person to contact after a death is an undertaker. There are a number of local firms but you are more than welcome to use any undertaker you choose. The website www.rip.ie has a full list. They will have the professional and personal experience to talk through very step of the way and they will guide you in all the immediate decisions that have to be made.
- You should then contact the parish – either our Parish Office or Fr Ian . He will arrange to come to your house or arrange a convenient time for you to go to see them. They will talk through every step of the funeral arrangements, they will provide resources, they will answer questions and they will make suggestions and help give direction.
- Again, make arrangements slowly. There are always a number of alternatives and possibilities. Take the needs of those traveling into account. Take the needs of those who are deeply grieving into account.
- We sincerely request that you would also take the needs of our parish into account. If a priest of the parish makes a direct request that something would or would not be done, this is always for a very sincere reason, bourn from long experience and made with the good of the grieving family, the good of the parish and the good of the wider Christian community in mind. We ask that you would respect this.
- Solás Bereavement Group are a group trained in Bereavement who will always be there to help plan the Liturgy and assist you on the day. Please contact the parish office if you should need a listening ear and you will be directed to one of the Solás group.
The Funeral Mass is primarily a prayer to God, asking for his love and mercy and commending to him the soul of the recently departed.
All prayers, words and music should be appropriate and should respect this intention and of the sacredness of the Christian liturgy.
Participation in the Funeral Mass by family members and friends of the person who has died is most welcome.
However funerals can be intensely stressful. Therefore no family or friend should feel obliged or pressured in any way to actively participate in any particular aspect of the Mass.
Structure For Participation In Funeral Mass
Eulogy And Welcome (Optional)
- At the BEGINNING of the Funeral Mass, a family member or friend can opt to give a brief eulogy and offer words of welcome.
- The congregation will not concentrate for more than five minutes.
- This person should be a clear, strong speaker.
- This is neither the time nor the place for anecdotes or funny stories.
Life Symbols (Optional)
- If symbols representing the life of the deceased person are to be taken to the altar, this must also be done at the BEGINNING of Mass, after the brief eulogy.
- Symbols should be respectful, dignified and appropriate.
- Someone should give a brief commentary on these symbols.
- This can be the same person who gives the brief eulogy.
Scripture Readings (Participation Optional)
- There are two Readings from Scripture, one Psalm and a Reading from the Gospel.
- One reader can do all three (First Reading, Psalm and Second Reading).
- Two readers are also appropriate (First Reading/Psalm and Second Reading).
- The Psalm may or may not be sung.
- The priest will usually choose the Gospel Reading.
- See below for Scripture Reading choices.
Prayers Of The Faithful (Participation Optional)
- Prayers of the Faithful can be offered by family members and friends.
- Six prayers are normally sufficient and one, two or more readers can be chosen.
- As a general norm, the more personal the prayer the better.
- Prayers must always be addressed to God, giving Him thanks and asking for grace and mercy – they are not to be mini-speeches or eulogies.
- See below for a template set of Prayers of the Faithful.
Offertory Procession (Participation Optional)
- Two people can bring Bread and Wine to the altar at this time in the Mass.
Post-communion Reflection (Optional)
- A brief religious prayer, poem or piece of prose can be read after Holy Communion.
- A piece of religious music can also be appropriately played or sung.
- There are no further eulogies or speeches at this time.
Music At The Funeral Mass
While music is not obligatory, good, well chosen and appropriate music can add greatly to the meaningful celebration of a Funeral Mass.
Such music and song can help us pray, can cause us to reflect, can lift our hearts in hope, can inspire us and bring us peace.
However, since a Funeral Mass is not a mere secular memorial service, but a profoundly Christian celebration entirely focused on our loving God, great care must be taken that all music and singing is chosen to support and enhance the liturgy.
Irreligious music assaults the meaning and the atmosphere of a Funeral Mass.
The use of pre-recorded music is discouraged since it constitutes copyright infringement and usually lacks impact.
The leaders and members of the Claregalway and the Choirs are willing to assist in whatever way they can but families are also welcome to invite singers and musicians to participate in the Funeral Mass.
Music and song is always optional and the following places in the Funeral Mass are appropriate:
- Opening hymn (after eulogy is there is one)
- Psalm (if not being read)
- Alleluia verse
- Offertory hymn (an instrumental is also appropriate)
- Hymns during Holy Communion (two are usually sufficient)
- Post Communion reflection (an instrumental is also appropriate)
- Hymn as coffin is taken from the church (an instrumental is also appropriate)
A song or piece of music may also be chosen to be sung in the graveyard at the completion of all the Burial Prayers.
Instrumentals, even secular ones, are nearly always appropriate.
Secular songs, which bring to mind the person who has died, are best sung at the wake or at a gathering after the Funeral Mass.
Some Appropriate Hymns For A Funeral Mass
Nearer My God to Thee
How Great Thou Art
The Clouds Veil
As I Kneel Before Thee
Abide With Me
The Day Thou Gave Us
Sweet Heart of Jesus
Our Lady of Knock
Soul Of My Saviour
Peace is Flowing
|Ag Criost An Siol
Hail Queen of Heaven
Here I Am Lord
Be Not Afraid
Jesus Remember Me (Taize)
You Raised Me Up
Make Me a Channel of Your Peace
Ave Maria – various versions
I Am The Bread of Life
A Íosa Coimeád Do Caoire
Céad Mîle Fáilte Romhat
A Mhuire Mháthair
Fáilte Romhat a Rí na nAingeal
Some Appropriate Readings For A Funeral Mass
- Old Testament Readings For Funeral Mass
- Responsorial Psalms for Funeral Mass
- New Testament Readings for Funeral Mass
- Gospel Readings for Funeral Mass
- Prayers of the Faithful for Funeral Mass
- Communion Reflections for Funeral Mass