Funeral Readings

Funeral Readings

At the time of death of a loved one there are so many difficult decisions to be made quickly and among those are organising the Funeral Liturgy. This page contains readings and prayers for the Funeral Mass to help you choose what is fitting for and appropriate for your deceased loved one.
You will need to consider the following:

For a funeral, the Readings necessary are as follows:

  • The First Reading - An Old Testament Reading (options below)
  • A Psalm (options below)
  • The Second Reading - A New Testament Reading (options below)
  • Gospel Acclamation (options below)
  • Prayer of the Faithful (options below)

Given that two readings are required as well as the psalm and Gospel Acclamation, it is normal to have two readers. One reader would do the First Reading and the Psalm and the other would do the Second Reading and the Acclamation. The two readers could then share reading the Prayer of the Faithful.

A selection of Readings and Prayers are given below. We recommend that you read through all the options, reflect on them as the Word of God and select the ones which seem to speak to you as appropriate for the celebration of the funeral of your loved one. Once you have selected your option, you can download and print them off via the link at the end of each reading or prayer.

Points to remember when reading:

  • Always read slowly and distinctly.
  • At the end of the reading pause for three seconds before saying: “The Word of the Lord".
  • Announce the Psalm in these words: "The response to the Psalm is..".
  • After the Second Reading invite the people to stand in these words, "The Gospel Acclamation", then read the Alleluia and verse.

Other elements of the Mass to consider include:

  • Music, including an organist and vocalist.
  • Offertory Procession - usually 2-4 people to carry forward the bread, wine, vessels.

It is important to discuss these options with the priest celebrating the Funeral Mass. For example, funerals which take place during the Easter season can have special readings with a stronger emphasis on the Resurrection.

The First Reading

(Select 1 from the 6 Provided Here)

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 planting, a time for uprooting what has been planted.

A time for killing, a time for healing;

a time for knocking down, a time for building.

A time for tears, a time for laughter;

a time for mourning, a time for dancing.

A time for throwing stones away, a time for gathering them up;

a time for embracing, a time to refrain from embracing.

A time for searching, a time for losing;  a time for keeping, a time for throwing away.

A time for tearing, a time for sewing;

a time for keeping silent, a time for speaking. A time for loving and a time for peace.

The word of the Lord.

Job said:

'Ah, would that these words of mine were written down, inscribed on some monument with iron chisel and engraving tool, cut into the rock for ever. 

This I know: that my Avenger lives, and he, the Last, will take his stand on earth. 

After my awaking, he will set me close to him, and from my flesh I shall look on God. 

He whom I shall see will take my part: these eyes will gaze on him and find him not aloof.'

The word of the Lord

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 a disaster their leaving us, like annihilation; but they are in peace.

If they experienced punishment as men seen it, their hope was rich with immortality; slight was their affliction, great will their blessing be.  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; as sparks run through the stubble, so will they.  They shall judge nations, rule over peoples, and the Lord will be their king for ever.  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.

The word of the Lord

The virtuous man, though he dies before his 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. 

He has sought to please God, so God has loved him; as he was living among sinners, he has been taken up.  He has been carried off so that evil may not warp his understanding or treachery seduce his soul; for the fascination of evil throws good things into the shade, and the whirlwind of desire corrupts a simple heart.

Coming to perfection in so short a while, he achieved long life; his soul being pleasing to the Lord, he has taken him quickly from the wickedness around him. 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.

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. 

The word of the Lord

I, Daniel, was doing penance when I received this message from the Lord: 

'At that time Michael will stand up, the great prince who mounts guard over your people.  There is going to be a time of great distress, unparalleled since nations first came into existence.  When that time comes, your own people will be spared, all those whose names are found written in the Book. 

Of those who lie sleeping in the dust of earth many will awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting disgrace. 

The learned will shine as brightly as the vault of heaven, and those who have instructed many in virtue, as bright as stars for all eternity.'

The word of the Lord

The Second Reading

(Choose 1 from the 14 Provided Here)

Hope is not deceptive, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.  We were still helpless when at his appointed moment Christ died for sinful men.  It is not easy to die even for a good man - though of course for someone really worthy, a man might be prepared to die - but what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners.  Having died to make us righteous, is it likely that he would not fail to save us from God's anger? 

When we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, we were still enemies; now that we have been reconciled, surely we may count on being saved by the life of his Son?  Not merely because we have been reconciled but because we are filled with joyful trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation.

The word of the Lord.

If it is certain that death reigned over everyone as the consequence of one man's fall, it is even more certain that one man, Jesus Christ, will cause everyone to reign in life who receives the free gift that he does not deserve, of being made righteous.

Again, as one man's fall brought condemnation on everyone, so the good act of one man brings everyone life and makes them   justified.  As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous. 

When law came, it was to multiply the opportunities of falling, but however great the number of sins committed, grace was even greater; and so, just as sin reigned wherever there was death, so grace will reign to bring eternal life thanks to the righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The word of the Lord.

When we were baptised in Christ Jesus we were baptised in his death; in other words, when we were baptised we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father's glory, we too might live a new life.  If in union with Christ we have imitated his death, we shall also imitate him in his resurrection. 

We must realise that our former selves have been crucified with him to destroy this sinful body and to free us from the slavery of sin.  When a man dies, of course, he has finished with sin.  But we believe that having died with Christ we shall return to life with him: Christ, as we know, having been raised from the dead will never die again.  Death has no power over him anymore.

The word of the Lord.

Everyone moved by the Spirit is a son of God.  The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself and our spirit bear united witness that we are children of God.  And if we are children we are heirs as well: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, sharing his sufferings so as to share his glory.


I think that what we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed, which is waiting for us. The whole creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal his sons.  It was not for any fault on the part of creation that it was made unable to attain its purpose, it was made so by God; but creation still retains the hope of being freed, like us, from its slavery to decadence, to enjoy the same freedom and glory as the children of God.


From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know, 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 as we wait for our bodies to be set free.

The word of the Lord.

With God on our side who can be against us?  Since God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up to benefit us 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 loved 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, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The word of the Lord.

The life and death of each of us has its influence on others; if we live, we live for the Lord; and 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 both of the dead and of the living. 

We shall all 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.

The word of the Lord

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep.  Death, came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. 

Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him.

The word of the Lord.

I will tell you something that has been secret: that we are not all going to die, but we shall all be changed.  This will be instantaneous, in the twinkling of an eye, when the last trumpet sounds.  It will sound, and the dead will be raised, imperishable, and we shall be changed as well, because our present perishable nature must put on imperishability and this mortal nature must put on immortality.

When this perishable nature has put on imperishability, and when this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the words of scripture will come true: Death, where is your sting?  Now the sting of death is sin, and sin gets its power from the Law.  So let us thank God for giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The word of the Lord.

We know that he who raised the Lord Jesus to life will raise us with Jesus in our turn, and put us by his side and you with us.  You see, all this is for your benefit so that the more grace is multiplied among people, the more thanksgiving there will be, to the glory of God.

That is why there is no weakening on our part, and instead, though this outer man of ours may be falling into decay, the inner man is renewed day by day.  Yes the troubles which are soon over, though they weigh little, train us for the carrying of a weight of eternal glory which is out of all proportion to them.  And so we have no eyes for things that are visible, but only for things that are invisible; for visible things last only for a time, and the invisible things are eternal.

For we know that when the tent that we live in on earth is folded up, there is a house built by God for us, an everlasting home not made by human hands, in the heavens.

The word of the Lord.

We know that when the tent that we live in on earth is folded up, there is a house built by God for us, an everlasting home not made by human hands, in the heavens.


We are always full of confidence, then, when we remember that to live in the body means to be exiled from the Lord, going as we do by faith and not by sight - we are full of confidence, I say, and actually want to be exiled from the body and make our home with the Lord.  Whether we are living in the body or exiled from it, we are intent on pleasing him. 

For all the truth about us will be brought out in the law court of Christ, and each of us will get what he deserves for the things he did in the body, good or bad.

The word of the Lord.

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.

The word of the Lord

We want you to be quite certain, 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. 

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 the 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 for ever. 

With such thoughts as these you should comfort one another.

The word of the Lord.

Remember the Good News that I carry, 'Jesus Christ risen from the dead, sprung from the race of David'; it is on account of this that I have my own hardships to bear, even to being chained like a criminal - but they cannot chain up God's news. 

So I bear it all for the sake of those who are chosen so that in the end they may have the salvation that is in Christ Jesus and the eternal glory that comes with it. 

Here is a saying that you can rely on:

If we have died with him, then we shall live with him.

If we hold firm, then we shall reign with him.

If we disown him, then he will disown us.

We may be unfaithful, but he is always faithful, for he cannot disown his own self.

The word of the Lord.

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.

The word of the Lord.

Prayer of the Faithful

The Prayer of the Faithful is read AFTER the Priest has preached his homily and before the gifts of bread and wine are carried up.

These are offered only as a guide and families are free to compose their own and consult with the priest before the Mass.

Index of Prayers

  • number-one-inside-a-circle

    For N, that God the Father who raised Jesus Christ from the dead, may raise him/her to new life.

  • number-2

    For his/her family and friends and those who mourn his/her passing,
    that they may know that Christ mourns with them.

  • number-3

    For the many people who die each day by violence, war and famine. That God may show his mercy to all who suffer and gather them into his eternal Kingdom.

  • number-four

    For all who have died with faith in Christ. May their faith and trust in God lead them to the promise of the Resurrection.

  • number-5

    For all the carers who looked after N in the last weeks and months if his/her life. May they have kind hearts and gentle hands.