Preparing for a Funeral: Funeral Readings and Prayers

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Choosing Readings and Prayers for the Funeral Liturgy

Presidential Prayers

The prayers which the priest leads as the one presiding at the celebration of the liturgy are often referred to as Presidential Prayers. There are a number of options for these prayers in funeral Masses and liturgies. Normally the priest will choose the presidential prayers, considering the particular circumstances in which the funeral is being celebrated, and what he knows of the deceased.

You will normally be invited to select the scripture readings to be proclaimed and the Prayer of the Faithful. You may ask the priest or someone else to choose them for you, but bear in mind that they will want to be familiar with the life of the deceased, as well as circumstances regarding their passing (eg if they died after a long illness), in order to choose readings that speak to this particular situation.

Scripture Readings

Normally a funeral will include a First Reading, Responsorial Psalm and Gospel.  A Second Reading (proclaimed after the Responsorial Psalm) is optional.  It is preferable that the Responsorial Psalm is sung (see suggestions); one of the texts linked to below is used if it is not sung.  If the funeral is being celebrated during the Easter Season (between Easter Sunday and Pentecost), then there are different scripture passages from which a First Reading is chosen.

The Gospel Acclamation should always be sung.  If it cannot be sung, it is often preferable not to say it, but to simply stand in silence when the priest goes to the ambo (lectern) to proclaim the Gospel.

The choices for scripture readings are provided below.

Funeral for an Adult

Funeral for a Baptised Child

Funeral for a Child who Died Before Baptism

Prayer of the Faithful

At funerals, like most liturgical celebrations, there is time taken for the assembly – the faithful – to pray for their needs and intentions. Below are some options provided from the funeral rite. You may choose one of these and use them as they are, adapt them to suit your particular needs and circumstances, or write your own intentions. If you do choose to write your own prayers, please note that the Prayer of the Faithful normally has a particular structure. The samples below will give some guidance as to how they should be written and ordered.

Prayer of the Faithful

Prayer of the Faithful for a Baptised Child

Prayer of the Faithful for a Child