Scripture Readings Appropriate for a Catholic Funeral
Scripture readings are an important part of a Catholic Funeral. Through the reading of the scriptures, the Paschal Mystery is proclaimed to the assembly, the remembrance of the dead is taught, the hope of being gathered together in God’s kingdom is conveyed, and the witness of Christian life is encouraged. There are different components of a Catholic funeral which require their own Scripture.
- Vigil for the Deceased: This is a service consisting of prayers, scripture readings, a homily, prayers of intercession, concluding rite and eulogies.
- Funeral Service (Funeral Mass or another Funeral Liturgy): The mass is the most important ceremony, a tribute to your loved one. There is music, a homily, preparation of gifts, and communion. Psalms are sung, and scripture typically includes one Old Testament reading, one New Testament reading, and a gospel, often chosen by the family.
- Rite of Committal (At a cemetery or crematorium): There are prayers and liturgy, and typically a brief passage of scripture.
- Rite for the Burial of Ashes (When the committal was at a crematorium): This is similar to the rite of committal, as cremated remains are required by the Catholic Church to be buried, with a visible marker.
Carefully choosing scripture can help bring comfort and healing to the family, as they receive the word of God. Some of these services won’t require more than one passage. It may be easy to choose passages if you knew the person’s favorite scriptures. If you don’t know, there are many resources to help you find the right scriptures. Ask your Parish Priest for assistance.
In the celebration of the liturgy of the word, Biblical readings must be used. During prayer services with the family, nonbiblical readings are acceptable. These readings must be in addition to scripture readings, rather than a replacement.
If you pre-plan your own funeral, you can choose the scriptures most meaningful to you. Pre-planning ensures that your wishes are known and keeps your family from having to guess. When you pre-plan, your service will be exactly the way you wanted it to be and a burden is lifted from your family. Instead of having to make difficult decisions during a time of stress, they’ll be able to focus on mourning your loss and starting along the path to healing.
If you’d like to learn more about planning a Catholic funeral, we can help. Stop by to meet us and see what we have to offer or visit our website for more information.