FUNERAL MUSIC PLANNING GUIDE

As the phoenix rises from ashes, death always brings new life.
Your parish family at St. Mary of Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament expresses our sincere prayers for your comfort and healing at this time of grief. God brings us together to celebrate the interweaving of life and death as part of our Christian identity.
Honoring your deceased family member with a Catholic funeral mass shows your commitment to the faith of your family member. Though the funeral mass celebrates the life of the deceased, it is mainly meant to be the sign of a bridge between life on earth and eternal life with God. The funeral mass offers an opportunity for those assembled to grow stronger in their own faith and to be supported by the faith of others.
Some families are too grief-stricken to plan music for the funeral of a loved one. In that case, our parish musicians and Pastor will plan funeral music that is both personalized and prayerful. If you decide to choose funeral music, choose one psalm and not more than four other pieces. The organist will place what you have chosen at the best time during the funeral Mass.
Often, families who have chosen music before for a previous death might be tempted to choose the same music again, especially for a spouse. We discourage this practice because each person has a different set of gifts and should be accorded individual honor and recognition. Though some pieces may be the same, family funerals should not be exact duplicates; they are to be treasured and remembered individually.

For prelude, communion or closing

  • “Shepherd Me O God”
  • “Shepherd of My Heart”
  • “Because The Lord Is My Shepherd” ”
  • “Be Not Afraid” ”
  • “You Are Mine”
  • “The Guardians Farewell”
  • “There Are Many Rooms”
  • “When Grief Is Raw”
  • “In Every Age”
  • “In God Alone”
  • “The Love of the Lord”
  • “Take Me Home”
  • “O Bless the Lord” (Shenandoah)
  • “Jerusalem My Destiny”
  • “Let There Be Peace on Earth”
  • “I Know that My Redeemer Lives”
  • “Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled”
  • “How Can I Keep From Singing”
  • “O God Our Help In Ages Past”
  • “Blest Are They”
  • “The Lord Is My Hope”
  • “O Lord, The Guardian of My Heart”
  • “Prayer of St. Francis” (Make me a channel of your peace …)
  • “With A Shepherd’s Care”
  • “We Shall Rise Again”
  • “I Am the Bread of Life” (I am the Resurrection …)
  • “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory” (closing)
  • “When the Saints Go Marching In” (closing)
  • “Song of Farewell” (closing)
  • “Song of the Angels” (closing)
  • “Sing With All the Saints in Glory” (Joyful Joyful) (closing)
  • “Amazing Grace”
  • “How Great Thou Art”
  • Gathering Songs
  • “The Hand of God Shall Hold You”
  • “Just Like A Deer” (When will I come to the end of my pilgrimage?)
  • “Hosea” (Come back to me with all your heart…)
  • “Sing a New Song”
  • “Hail Mary Gentle Woman”
  • “Shall We Gather at the River”

Psalms

  • “Shelter Me O God” (also Nos. 1,2,3 listed in prelude section)
  • “On Eagle’s Wings”
  • “The Lord Is My Light”
  • “Happy Are They”
  • “You Are Near”
  • “Land of the Living”
  • “To You O Lord, I Lift My Soul”
  • “You Will Show Me the Path of Life”
  • “I Thirst For You”
  • “I Long For You”

Music at gifts

(Instrumental)
  • “Eye Has Not Seen”
  • “Center of My Life”
  • “Come To Me O Weary Traveler”
  • “I Heard The Voice of Jesus ”
  • “We Walk By Faith”
  • “Ave Maria”

Songs in Italian

  • “Resta Con Noi”
  • “Non Ti Scordar”

Inappropriate for the funeral liturgy

“Here I Am, Lord” should be used instrumentally only since its lyrics are about the call to ministry and not about death, life or resurrection.
Seasonal songs for Christmas or Holy Week should be avoided since they celebrate special moments of the Church year and not death and new life.

Selecting readings and readers

You have the option of selecting readings that can be found on the parish website under the title CHOOSING SCRIPTURE READINGS in the FUNERAL SERVICE PLANNING entry.
Readers may be selected for the funeral liturgy but this is only an option. Readers should be selected who can proclaim the readings with clarity and with faith. Often close family members or close friends are not always the best choices for readers because they may be too overcome with grief to proclaim clearly. When the Word of God is not delivered slowly, loudly and clearly, it is does not promote faith or support the bereaved.
Those who proclaim readings for Mass are not allowed to add their own words or sentiments.

Eulogies and personal meditation, poems

Close family members or friends may offer to deliver a eulogy at the funeral mass. A good eulogy should be concise, well written and delivered well. It should not take longer than 5 minutes and it should highlight the faith and good works of the deceased. Longer eulogies filled with anecdotes are more appropriate for the time of the wake, at the graveside or reception.
It is better to offer the eulogy, prayer, poem or meditation before Mass begins or at the very beginning of the funeral service. This sets the mood to celebrate the life of the deceased and helps the assembled know more about the deceased person before the prayer ritual.

Lyrics of lesser-known but highly appropriate and beautiful music

“There Are Many Rooms”
There are many rooms in my Father’s house
Do not be afraid and have no doubt
I am going there to prepare a place
Come and follow me. Come and you will see
Come and take your rest in God’s safe embrace.
I am the way, the truth, the life
Those who believe in me will never die
Will never die- but will live again
I will not leave you orphans       
I will return to you and you will live
You will live forever
Peace I leave my peace I give
Do not be troubled do not be afraid
I calm your fear — I am here
“Do Not Let Our Hearts Be Troubled”
Do not let your hearts be troubled
Have faith in God and faith in me
I will go forth to prepare a place for you
And I’ll come back to take you with me
That where I am you may also be
1) In God’s house there are many places for you alone to dwell in safety
You know the way to where I lead you. If you are lost I will show the way
2) I am the way the truth and the life; only through me can you know what I know
If you knew me you would see the vision. If you see me you see your God
3) The words I speak are not only of my self. It is your God who lives within me
If you believe that your God and I are one. I will provide when you call my name
“In Every Age”
Long before the mountains came to be
and the land and sea and stars of the night,
through the endless seasons of all time,
you have always been, you will always be.
In every age, O God, you have been our refuge.
In every age, O God, you have been our hope.
Destiny is cast, and at your silent word
we return to dust and scatter to the wind.
A thousand years are like a single moment gone,
as the light that fades at the end of day.
Teach us to make use of the time we have.
Teach us to be patient even as we wait.
Teach us to embrace our every joy and pain.
To sleep peacefully, and to rise up strong.
In every age, you have been our refuge
In every age, you have been our hope.
“When Grief Is Raw”
When grief is raw, and music goes unheard,
and thought is numb, we have no polished phrases to recite.
In Christ we come to hear the old familiar words:
“I am the resurrection. I am life.”
God, give us time for gratitude and tears,
And make us free to grieve, remember, honor, and delight.
Let love be strong to bear regrets and banish fears:
“I am the resurrection. I am life.”
The height and breadth of all that love prepares
Soar out of time, beyond our speculation and our sight.
The cross remains to ground the promise that it bears:
‘I am the resurrection. I am life.”
All shall be judged, the greatest and the least,
And all be loved, till every hurt is healed, all wrong set right.
In bread and wine we taste the great homecoming feast,
And in the midst of death we are in life.
“Take me home”
Take me home to Your dwelling place
In Your sweet embrace…Ready to hold me in Your arms
Take me home to Your loving eyes
With You alone I’ll rise
Singing forever, in Your arms …Take me home
1) Oh my God, You’ve led me through it all
Through all my hurt and my shame
Oh my God, I’ve travelled far to meet You
To see Your face, and call upon Your name
2) With You all pain is left behind
No sorrow or death come my days
Oh my God, how I’ve longed to know Your love
Come wipe my tears and take my fear away
3) Oh my God, the road is long and hard
Open your heart, come to Me
God with You, my sorrows turn to dancing
Reach out Your hand, and set my sprit free
“We Will Rise Again”
We will run and not grow weary for our God will be our strength
And we will fly like the eagle, we will rise again.
Like a shepherd I will feed you; I will gather you with care.
I will lead you and hold you close to my heart.
I am strength to the weary; to the weak I am new life.
Though the young may grow weary, I will be their hope.
Lift up your eyes, and see who made the stars.
I lead you, and I know you, I call you each by name.
Fear not, I am with you; I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; uphold you with my hand.
“Songs of the Angels”
May songs of the angels welcome you, and guide you along your way.
May smiles of the martyrs greet your own, as darkness turns into day
Every fear will be undone and death will be no more
As songs of the angels bring you home before the face of God.
From the depths I cry to you O Lord, hear the sound of my pleading
For my song longs for you O Lord, like the watchman longs for day.
I know that my redeemer lives and he shall stand,                 
Shall stand upon the earth. And I shall see, and I shall see!
Behold I tell you a mystery, we shall all be changed
For the trumpet will sound, the dead be raised
In the victory, the glory of God
“The Guardian’s Farewell”
Softly and gently dearly ransomed soul,
In my most loving arms, I now enfold thee
And o’er the purging waters as they roll
I poise thee and I lower thee and hold thee.
And with great care I dip thee in the lake
And thou without a sob or a resistance
Dost through the flood thy rapid passage take
Sinking deep, deeper into the dim distance
Angels to whom the weary task is giv’n     
Shall tend and nurse thee as thou liest
And Masses on the earth and prayers in heaven
Shall aid thee at the throne of the Most Highest.
Farewell but not forever (sister/brother/loved one) dear
Be brave and patient on thy bed of sorrow
Swiftly shall pass thy night of trial here
And I will come and greet thee on the morrow.