To Those Who Are Bereaved

Death is always a sad occurrence. To lose a spouse, parent, family member or close friend is surely one of the most painful experiences we must endure in life. While nothing at this time can remove the pain of loss the Funeral Mass has a clear message of hope. The readings, psalms and Communion reflections in this small booklet all convey compassion and hope.

The presence of people at a time of family bereavement may also be a wonderful source of strength. It is the local community speaking not in words but by their very presence.

The priests of the parish are most anxious to be a source of support and strength at this time and will be here to help in the months and years ahead. People often suffer in isolation. The bereavement process for some is very prolonged, but for all it is intense. Our prayers are never unmindful of your grief. Your priests would feel privileged to be of help in any way at any time during your time of grief.


At mass we listen to the Word of God. The readings at a Funeral Mass remind us that at the centre of our faith is the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The readings strengthen our hope of being gathered together in God’s kingdom and they encourage us to witness to the Christian way of life. The readings tell us of God’s designs for a world in which suffering and death will be no more. A careful selection and use of readings from Scripture for the funeral will provide the family and the community with an opportunity to hear God speak to them in their needs, sorrows, fears and hopes.

For the Funeral Mass itself you can choose the first reading from one of the readings from the Old Testament.

The Responsorial Psalm is normally sung. However if it is not being sung you can choose a Psalm.

From the New Testament readings you can choose the second reading.

Please choose 4-6 prayers for the Prayer of the Faithful

The following are a few tips which the reader may find helpful:

  • Practice the reading a number of times the night before the mass
  • Ensure that you know which reading you are proclaiming
  • Read slowly and clearly – try not to rush through the reading
  • Make sure you have the reading with you when you come to the Church
  • Speak clearly into the microphone – your mouth should be about six inches away from the microphone when you are speaking into it
  • If you are choosing your own reading please consult with the priest




A Reading from the Book of Deuteronomy

Moses died, his eyes undimmed, his vigour unimpaired. 
Then, leaving the plains of Moab, Moses went up Mount Nebo, and Yahweh
showed him the whole land, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea.
Yahweh said to him, ‘This is the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob, saying: I will give it to your descendants. I have let you see it with your
own eyes, but you shall not cross into it.’ There in the land of Moab, Moses the
 servant of Yahweh died as Yahweh decreed, he buried him in the valley, in the
land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but to this day no one has ever found his
grave. Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye
undimmed, his vigour unimpaired. The sons of Israel wept for Moses in the
 plains of Moab for thirty days. The days of weeping for the mourning rites of 
Moses came to an end. Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom,
 for Moses had laid his hands on him. It was he that the sons of Israel obeyed,
 carrying out the order that Yahweh had given to Moses

The Word of the Lord.


A reading from the book of Wisdom (4:7-15)
 Grace and mercy await the chosen of the Lord

The virtuous ones, though they die before their time, will find rest.
 Length of days is not what makes age honourable,
 nor number of years the true measure of life; 
understanding, this is man’s grey hairs 
untarnished life, this is ripe old age.
 They have sought to please God, so God has loved them;
as they were living among sinners, they have been taken up.
 They have been carried off so that evil may not warp their understanding 
or treachery seduce their souls; 
for the fascination of evil throws good things into the shade,
 and the whirlwind of desire corrupts a simple heart.
 Coming to perfection is so short a while, they achieved long life;
 their soul being pleasing to the Lord,
 he has taken them quickly from the wickedness around them
. Yet people look on, uncomprehending;
 it does not enter their heads
 that grace and mercy await the chosen of the Lord,
 and protection, his holy ones.

The Word of the Lord.


A reading from the Book of Sirach (38:16-17,23)
 Bury the dead with fitting ceremonial

My people, weep for the dead, lament to express your sorrow and bury the dead with fitting ceremonial and do not fail to honour the grave. Weep bitterly, cry out with full voice, and observe the mourning period in accordance with the merits of the deceased. When the dead are laid to rest, let their memory be one of peace, be comforted on their account once their spirit has departed.

This is the word of the Lord.


A reading from the book of Wisdom (3:1-6.9)

The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God,
and no torment will ever touch them.
In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died,
 and their departure was thought to be a disaster,
 and their going from us to be their destruction; 
but they are at peace.
 For though in the sight of others they were punished,
 their hope is full of immortality.
 Having been disciplined a little, 
they will receive great good, 
because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; 
like gold in the furnace he tried them, 
and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them.
 Those who trust in him will understand truth,
and the faithful will abide with him in love,
 because grace and mercy are upon his holy ones,
 and he watches over his elect.

This is the word of the Lord.


A reading from the book of Ecclesiastes

Next let us praise illustrious people,
 or ancestors in their successive generations.
 The Lord has created abundance of glory and displayed his greatness from earliest times.
 Some wielded authority as kings and were renowned for their strength;
 others were intelligent advisers and uttered prophetic oracles.
 Others directed people by their advice,
 by their understanding of the popular mind, 
and by the wise words of their teaching;
others composed musical melodies, and set down ballads; 
others were rich and powerful, 
living peacefully in their homes.
 But here a list of generous people whose good works have not been forgotten.

This is the word of the Lord.


A reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes

There is a time for everything, 
and a season for every activity under heaven: 
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot, 
a time to kill and a time to heal,
 a time to tear down and a time to build,
 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
 a time to mourn and a time to dance, 
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, 
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
 a time to search and a time to give up,
 a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 a time to tear and a time to mend,
 a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 a time to love and a time to hate,
 a time for war and a time for peace. 
What does a worker gain from his or her toil ? 
I have seen the burden God has laid on his people.
 God has made everything beautiful in its time,
 also he has put eternity into the human mind,
 yet even still we cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
 I know that there is nothing better for a person than to be happy and to do good while they live.
 That everyone may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all their work – that is the gift of God.

This is the word of the Lord.


A reading from the prophet Isaiah (25:6-9)

On this mountain, the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food. On this mountain he will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples, and the shroud enwrapping all nations, he will destroy Death forever.
 The Lord will wipe away the tears from every cheek, he will take away his people’s shame everywhere on earth, for the Lord has said so.
 That day, it will be said. See, this is our God in whom we hoped for salvation, the Lord is the one in whom we hoped. We exult and we rejoice that he has saved us.

This is the word of the Lord.


A reading for the prophet Isaiah (41:10, 44:22, 49:15-16)

Fear not I am with you; be not dismayed; I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, and uphold you with my right hand of justice. For I am the Lord your God who grasps your right hand; it is I who say to you ‘fear not, I will help you’.
 I have brushed away your offences like a cloud, your sins like a mist, return to me, for I have redeemed you. Can a mother forget her infant be without tenderness for the child within her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you. See, upon the palm of my hand I have written your name. Yes, in joy you shall depart, in peace you shall be brought back.

This is the word of the Lord.




Psalm 15

Response: You are my inheritance, O Lord.

1. Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.
I say to the Lord: ‘You are my God.’ .
O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;
it is you yourself who are my prize.

2. I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel,
who even at night directs my heart;
l keep the Lord ever in my sight:
since he is at my right hand, I shall stand firm.

3. You will show me the path of life,
the fullness of joy in your presence,
at your right hand happiness for ever.


Psalm 84

Response: Let us see, O Lord, your mercy and give us your saving help.

1. I will hear what the Lord God has to say,
a voice that speaks of peace.
 His help is near for those who fear him
and his glory will dwell in our land.

2. Mercy and faithfulness have met; 
justice and peace have embraced. 
Faithfulness shall spring from the earth
and justice look down from heaven.

3. The Lord will make us prosper
and our earth shall yield its fruit. 
Justice shall march before him
 and peace shall follow his steps.

4. Let the peoples praise you, O God; 
let all the peoples praise you.
 O God, be gracious and bless us
 and let your face shed its light upon us. 


Psalm 121

Response: I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to God’s house.’

1. I rejoiced when I heard them say: 
’Let us go to God’s house.’
 And now our feet are standing
 within your gates, a Jerusalem.

2. Jerusalem is built as a city
 strongly compact.
 It is there that the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord.

3. For Israel’s law it is,
there to praise the Lord’s name.
 There were set the thrones of judgement
 of the house of David.


Psalm 138

Response: Lord, you have made me and you know me.

O Lord, you search me and you know me;
 You know my resting and my rising;
 You discern my thoughts from afar. 
You mark when I walk or lie down;
 All my ways lie open to you.

O where can I go from your Spirit;
 Or where can I fly from your face? 
If I climb to the heavens you are there,
 If I lie in the grave you are there. 

If I take the wings of the morning 
And dwell at the sea’s furthest end,
 Even there your hand would lead me,
 Your right hand hold me fast.

For it was you who created my being, 
Knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I thank you for the wonder of my being,
 For the wonders of all your creations. 

O search me, God, and know my heart.
 O test me and know my thoughts.
 See that I follow not the wrong path
 And lead me in the path of life eternal.

Look towards him and be radiant. 
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
 The Lord is close to the broken hearted; 
Those whose spirit is crushed he will save;
 Those who hide in him
 Shall not be condemned.




A Reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians (4: 4-9)

We want you to be quite certain, sisters and brothers, about those who have died, to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like the other people who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus; God will bring them with him. We can tell you this from the Lord’s own teaching that any of us who are left alive until the Lord’s coming will not have any advantage over those who have died. With thoughts such as these you should comfort one another.

The word of the Lord.


A reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Romans (8..3I-35, 37-39)

With God on our side, who can be against us? Since God did not spare his only Son, but gave him up to benefit all, we may be certain after such a gift, that He will not refuse anything he can give. Could anyone accuse those that God has chosen? When God acquits could anyone condemn? 
Could Christ Jesus? No! He not only died for us – he rose from the dead, and there at God’s right hand he stands and pleads for us. Nothing therefore can come between us and the love of Christ even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked. These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loves us. For I am certain of this; neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, nor heights, nor depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible through Christ Jesus our Lord.

The word of the Lord.


A reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Romans (I4:7-9)

The life and death of each of us has its influence on others; if we live, we live for the Lord; so that alive or dead, we belong to the Lord. This explains why Christ both died and came to life. It is so that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

The word of the Lord.


A Reading from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians (13: 4-14)

Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope and patience never fail. Love is eternal. There are inspired messages, but they are temporary; there are gifts of speaking in strange tongues, but they will cease; there is knowledge, but it will pass. For our gifts of knowledge and of inspired messages are only partial; but when what is perfect comes, then what is partial will disappear. When I was a child, my speech, feelings and thinking were all those of a child; now that I am an adult, I have no more use for childish ways. What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. What I know now is only partial; then it will be complete as God’s knowledge of me. Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.

The Word of the Lord.


A reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 3: 14-19

This is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural takes its name.
Out of his infinite glory, may he give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth, until knowing the love of Christ which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God.

The word of the Lord.


A Reading from 1 Corinthians (15:12, 16-20)

Brothers and sisters: If Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 
If the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins.
 Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

The word of the Lord.


A reading from St Paul’s letter to the Philippians (3:8-14)

I believe that nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For him I have accepted the loss of everything and I look on everything as so much rubbish if only I can have Christ and be given a place in him. I am no longer trying for perfection by my own efforts, the perfection that comes from the Law, but I want only the perfection that comes through faith. All I want to know is Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share his sufferings by reproducing the pattern of his death. That is the way I can hope to take my place in the resurrection of the dead. Not that I have become perfect yet, I have not yet won but I am still running trying to capture the prize for which Christ Jesus captured me. I can assure you, my brothers and sisters, I am far from thinking that I have already won. All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come. I am racing for the finish, for the prize to which God calls us upwards to receive in Christ Jesus.

The word of the Lord.


A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Philippians (3:20-21)

Our homeland is in heaven
For us, our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes the saviour we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will transfigure these bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body. He will do that by the same power with which he can subdue the whole universe.

The word of the Lord.


A Reading from the Second Letter of St. Paul to Timothy

Be careful always to choose the right course; be brave under trials; make the preaching of the Good News your life’s work, in thoroughgoing service.
As for me, my life is already being poured away as a libation, and the time has come for me to be gone. I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day; and not only to me but to all those who have longed for his Appearing.

The Word of the Lord.


A reading the second Letter of St. Paul to Timothy (4:6-8)

As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

The word of the Lord.


A reading from the first letter of St John (4:7-12)

My dear people,
let us love one another
since love comes from God
and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Anyone who fails to love can never have known God,
because God is love.
God’s love for us was revealed
when God sent into the world his only Son
so that we could have life through him;
this is the love I mean:
not our love for God,
but God’s love for us when he sent his Son
to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away.
My dear people,
since God has loved us so much,
we too should love one another.
No one has ever seen God;
but as long as we love one another
God will live in us
and his love will be complete in us.

The word of the Lord.


A reading from the first letter to St. John (I In. 3:I-3)

Think of the love that the Father has shown us by betting us be called God’s children and that is what we are. Because the world refused to acknowledge him, therefore it does not acknowledge us. My dear people, we are already the children of God but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed; all we know is, that when it is revealed, we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is.

The word of the Lord.



Response: Lord, graciously hear us.

Celebrant: We are made in the image and likeness of God. As trusting people we pray to our merciful God.

We pray for N. that God will reward him/her with peace and joy for the good he/she did during his/her life. Lord, hear us.

We pray for the gift of eternal life: That N. will be received into the Lord’s loving embrace. Lord, hear us.

We pray for the family and friends of N. who shared a long life with him/her and looked after him/her. That God may now strengthen them, through their love for each other and their faith. Lord, hear us.

We pray for this assembly: that we may keep our minds and hearts on the kingdom that lasts forever. Lord, hear us.

Celebrant: Eternal God, as Saint Augustine taught us, you have made us for yourself alone, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you. Secure in this knowledge, we ask you to grant these prayers, through Jesus who is Lord forever and ever. Amen



Response: Lord graciously hear us.

Priest: Christ is the Good Shepherd who gives his life to save those he loves. In our loss, let us turn to him and with confidence make our needs known  to him.

That God may reward N. for all the love that he/she shared. Lord, hear us.

That God may visit N.’s family and friends with comfort and peace especially his/her neighbours and those who cared for him/her. Lord, hear us.

That those who grieve over the loss of N., that they all may be comforted by the knowledge that the Lord will take care of him/her. Lord, hear us.

For all the faithful departed, especially our relatives and friends and members of this community; that they may dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Lord, hear us.

Priest: Lord, give us the certainty that beyond death there is a life where broken things are mended and lost things are found; where there is rest for the weary and joy for the sad; where all that we have loved and willed of good exists, and where we will meet again our loved ones. We ask this through Christ who is Lord forever and ever. Amen.



Death is only an Horizon
We give them back to you, O Lord, who first gave them to us; and as you did not lose them in the giving so we do not lose them in the return. Not as the world gives do you give O Lord. For what is yours is ours also, if we belong to you. Life is unending because love is undying and the boundaries of this life are but an horizon and an horizon is but the limit of our vision. Lift us up, strong Son of God, that we may see further. Strengthen our faith that we may see beyond the horizon. And while you prepare a place for us as you have promised, prepare us also for that happy place; that where you are we may be also, with those we have loved, forever.
Bede Jarett, O.P.

Peace at Last

May the Lord support us all the daylong; till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and our work is done. Then in his mercy, may he give us a safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at last. Amen
Cardinal Newman

Gone only from our sight
I am standing on the seashore. Suddenly a ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts out for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she is only a ribbon of white cloud just above where the sea and sky mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says: “There! She’s gone!” Gone where? Gone from my sight – that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull as she was when she left my side and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her and just at the moment when someone at my side says: “There! She’s gone!” there are other voices ready to greet her with a glad shout: “There! She comes!” And that is dying.


One night a man had a dream. He dreamt that he was walking along a beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed the scenes of his life. For each scene he noticed not one, but two sets of footprints in the sand. He understood immediately that one belonged to him and the other to the Lord. But then he noticed a curious thing. At the lowest and saddest times in his life there was only one set of footprints. This bothered him and so he asked the Lord: “How come that during the most difficult times in my life, the very times when I most needed you, you left me on my own?” Then the Lord replied: “My friend, during your trials and sufferings when you see only one set of footprints, those footprints are mine. It was then that I carried you.

Reflection Grief (John O’Donohue)
Though the silent weeping of your heart lessens, you get on, more or less, with your life; a place is kept within you for the one who is gone. No other will ever be given the key to that door. As the years go on you may not remember the departed every day with your conscious mind. Yet below your surface mind, some part of you is always in their presence. From their side, our friends in the unseen world are always secretly embracing us in their new and bright belongings. Though we may forget them, they can never forget us; their secret embrace unknowingly shelters and minds us. The bright moment in grief is when the sore absence gradually changes into a well of presence. You become aware of the subtle companionship of the departed one. You know that when you are in trouble, you can turn to this presence beside you and draw on it for encouragement and blessing.   The departed is now no longer restricted to any one place and can be with you any place you are. It is good to know the blessings of this presence.

Concluding Prayer
All say: May the Lord support us all the day long ‘til the shades lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is done. Then in his mercy may He grant us a safe lodging, a holy rest and peace at the last. Amen.
Cardinal Newman

Stranger at our side
All through life’s day our risen Lord walks with us. Often, however, he is a stranger to us, for he never forces himself upon us. Before the day’s end, we will ask many questions, experience many failures, disappointments and heartaches. And then, suddenly, whether we are young, middle aged or old, we will find that the shadows are lengthening and night is fast approaching. In that moment we pray that, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, our eyes will be opened and that we will recognise him – the stranger who walked at our side – as our risen Lord. And he will not vanish from our sight. Instead he will guide us through the dark valley of death to the safety of the Father’s house.