Organising a Funeral

The Passing of a loved one is a sad and difficult time for family and friends. Funeral arrangements are daunting and can be overwhelming, fortunately both the Parish office and our local undertakers are experienced with the procedures around death and are here to assist you.





The group is made up of a number of parishioners who have been bereaved in recent times and are available to offer support to anyone who may need it.  For further information contact the parish office on 021 4773821




Readings to choose from:


  1. One reading from the Old Testament
  2. The Responsorial Psalm
  3. One reading from the New Testament
  4. Prayers of the Faithful
  5. Offertory: Bread and Wine only (Personal gifts that reflect the life of your loved one may be  brought to the altar at the beginning of the Mass)
  6. Music: All music chosen ought to be appropriate to a religious ceremony, following the guidelines for Music in the Church.


(Choose One Old Testament Reading)

1. A reading from the book of Sirach      (38:16-17,23)

My people, weep for the dead, lament to express your sorrow and bury the dead with fitting ceremonial, and do not fail to honour their 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.


2. A reading from the Prophet Isaiah.       (61:1-3)

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me.  He has sent me to bind up broken hearts, to give comfort to all who grieve; to comfort those who mourn in Zion and give them a garland instead of ashes, oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of despair.

This is the word of the Lord.


3. A reading from the book of Ecclesiastes.  (3)

There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under Heaven. A time for giving birth, a time for dying, a time for healing, a time for tears, a time for laughter, a time for mourning, a time for speaking, a time for loving.  All that God does is apt for its time.

This is the word of the Lord.


4.  A reading from the book of Wisdom  (3:1-9)

The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God, no torment shall ever touch them.  In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die, their going looked like disaster, their leaving us, like annihilation; but they are in peace.  God has put them to the test and proved them worthy to be with him; he has tested them like gold in a furnace, and accepted them as a holocaust.   When  the  time  comes for his visitation they will shine out.  They who trust in him will understand the truth, those who are faithful will live with him in love; for grace and mercy await those he has chosen.

This is the word of the Lord.


5. 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 rejoice that he has saved us.

This is the word of the Lord.


6.   A reading from the book of Wisdom  (4:7-15)

The upright, even if they die before their time, will find rest.  Length of days is not what makes age honourable, nor the number of years the true measure of life.  They have sought to please God, so God has loved them.  Coming to perfection in such a short while, they achieved long life; their soul being pleasing to the Lord, he has taken them quickly.  Yet people look on, uncomprehending; it does not enter their minds that grace and mercy await the chosen of the Lord.

This is the word of the Lord.



(Choose one Psalm)


Psalm 5

The Lord is my light and my help;

whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
before whom shall I shrink.  R/.
There is one thing I ask of the Lord,
for this I long,
to live in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life.  R/.
I am sure that I shall see the Lord’s goodness
in the land of the living.
Hope in him, hold firm and take heart.
Hope in the Lord.  R/.


Psalm 102

The Lord is compassion and love,

slow to anger and rich in mercy.
He does not treat us according to our sins
nor repay us according to our faults.  R/.
For as the heavens are high above the earth
so strong is his love for those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west
so far does he remove our sins.  R/.
The love of the Lord is everlasting
upon those who fear him;
his justice reaches out to children’s children

when they keep his covenant in truth.  R/.Psalm 22

The Lord is my shepherd;there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me,to revive my drooping spirit.  R/.
He guides me along the right path;he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness
no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and staff;with these you give me comfort.  R/.
You have prepared a banquet for me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing.  R/.
Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
for ever and ever.  R/.


(Choose one New Testament Reading)


1.   A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans   (14:7-12)

The life and death of each one of us has its influence on others; if we live, we live for the Lord; if we die, we die for the Lord, so that alive or dead we belong to the Lord.  This explains why Christ both died and came to life, it was so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.  We all shall have to stand before the judgement seat of God; as scripture says: By my life – it is the Lord who speaks – every knee shall bend before me, and every tongue shall praise God.  It is to God, therefore, that each of us must give an account of himself.

This is the word of the Lord.


2.  A reading from the first letter of St Paul to the Thessalonians (4:13-18)

We want you to be quite certain 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.  At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord himself will come down from heaven; those who have died in Christ will be first to rise, and then those of us who are still alive will be taken up in the clouds, together with them, to meet the Lord in the air.  So we shall stay with the Lord forever.  With such thoughts as these you should comfort one another.

This is the word of the Lord


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

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 wretched 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.

This is the word of the Lord.


4.  A reading from the first letter of St John (3:1-2 )

Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting 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.

This is the word of the Lord.


5.  A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans (8:16-23)

I think that what we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed, which is waiting for us.  From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know it, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the spirit, we too groan inwardly for our bodies to be set free.

This is the word of the Lord.



(Choose about 6 prayers from the list below.)


1.  Throughout his/her life N. was a person of deep faith – a faith nourished by the Eucharist and the other sacraments.  Gather him/her now with the saints around your heavenly table.  Lord, hear us


2.  N. touched the lives of all of us.  Help us to keep alive in our lives the values and the ideals he/she put before us.  Lord, hear us.


3.  May we who grieve and mourn the death of N. look forward to the day when there shall be no more death or mourning.  Lord, hear us.


4.  We pray for all who cared for N. during his/her illness, especially the staff of…. Bless them all in their work.  Lord, hear us.


5.   Lord God, we ask you to comfort and console all who will miss N., especially his/her devoted family, his/her relatives and all his/her neighbours and friends.  Lord, hear us


6.  In our grief and tears may we see the compassion that Jesus had for those who mourn.  Lord, hear us.


7.  God of patience and encouragement be our companion and guide at this time of confusion in our lives.  Lord, hear us.


8.  May the wisdom of N, which guided us during his/her life, continue to shine brightly in our lives.  Lord, hear us.


9.  N. gave the gift of love to his/her family.  May he/she now receive the eternal gift of God’s love.  Lord, hear us.


10.  In our search for an answer to the question, “Why has this happened?” may we not lose hope and support one another at this difficult time. Lord, hear us.


11.  N. knew that the way to eternal life was through following Jesus.  May we share his/her faith in Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Lord, hear us.


12.  In the face of the trauma of death, we ask the Lord to walk with us in faith, because with our human eyes, all we see is pain and separation.  Lord, hear us.


13.  May we like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, meet Christ in our grieving, and, through the scriptures and the breaking of bread, may he give us new hope.  Lord, hear us.


14.  At the death of his friend Lazarus, Jesus wept.  As we grieve, may God give us the grace to be able to shed our tears with one another.  Lord, hear us.


15.  We pray for all our departed brothers and sisters, today we pray for (here you can mention the names of other family members who have died) may N. be reunited with them in God’s Kingdom where there is no more pain or suffering.  Lord, hear us.




Some important symbols are used during the Funeral Liturgy.

HOLY WATER is used to sprinkle the coffin when it is received in the church and during the final prayers before it leaves the church.  The holy water reminds us of our baptism and the baptism of our deceased loved one.

THE PASCHAL CANDLE is lit to remind us of Christ’s presence among us and of his victory over death.

A PALL is placed on the coffin when it is received in the church.  The Pall is a large white cloth that covers the coffin during the liturgy.  It is a reminder of the white garment that is put on the newly baptised to symbolise his or her new life in Christ.  It is also a reminder that all are equal in the eyes of God.

THE BIBLE is placed on the coffin to remind us that Christians are called to live by the Word of God.

THE CROSS is placed on the coffin to remind us that Christians are marked by the sign of the cross in baptism, and that it was through his suffering on the cross that Jesus won for us the promise of resurrection.

INCENSE is used to honour the body of the deceased, who through baptism became a living temple of God’s presence.  It is also a sign of the community’s prayers for the deceased rising up to heaven, and a sign of farewell.


You may like to highlight symbols which are unique to the personal journey of your loved one… special gifts, interests, attitudes to life…. these are brought up at the beginning of the Funeral Liturgy with a short explanation of their significance.  Only the bread and wine are brought up at the Offertory.



Following the Prayer after Communion, two people chosen by the family, fold up the Pall which is draped over the coffin.  As this is done with great care and respect, it symbolises the folding back of our loved ones life as we present them back to God.  Those who die go no further than God and God is very near.



If a member of the family wishes to deliver a eulogy, the graveside is the more appropriate place to do so.  If a member of the family wishes to say a brief word of thanks in the church this may be arranged, in advance, with the priest.