Funeral Mass

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

Psalm 23:4

In every celebration for the dead, the Church attaches great importance to the reading of the Word of God. The readings proclaim to the assembly the Paschal Mystery, teach remembrance of the dead, convey the hope of being gathered together again in God’s kingdom, and encourage the witness of Christian life. Above all, the readings tell of God’s designs for a world in which suffering and death will relinquish their hold on all whom God has called his own. A careful selection and use of readings from Scripture for the funeral rites will provide the family with an opportunity to hear God speak to them in their needs, sorrows, fears, and hopes.

In the celebration of the Liturgy of the Word at the funeral liturgy, the Biblical readings may not be replaced by nonbiblical readings. But during prayer services with the family, nonbiblical readings may be used in addition to readings from Scripture.

  • Order of Christian Funerals, General Introduction, nos. 22-23

We ask you to choose one reading from the Old Testament and one reading from the New Testament, and two readers. If you do not have readers, let us know and we will provide them.

By clicking on the button below, you will be able to submit your reading selection directly to our Funeral Mass Coordinator .

Let me select my readings

Readings for Funerals

About the Mass
Readings from the Old Testament

A reading from the second Book of Maccabees.

Judas, the ruler of Israel,
took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas,
which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice.
In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view;
for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again,
it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death.
But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness,
it was a holy and pious thought.
Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Book of Job.

Job answered Bildad the Shuhite and said: Oh, would that my words were written down!
Would that they were inscribed in a record:
That with an iron chisel and with lead they were cut in the rock forever!
But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives, and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust;
Whom I myself shall see:
my own eyes, not another's, shall behold him; And from my flesh I shall see God;
my inmost being is consumed with longing.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Book of Wisdom.

The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself. Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love: Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Book of Wisdom.

The just man, though he die early,
shall be at rest.
For the age that is honorable comes not with the passing of time,
nor can it be measured in terms of years.
Rather, understanding is the hoary crown for men, and an unsullied life, the attainment of old age.
He who pleased God was loved;
he who lived among sinners was transported–
Snatched away, lest wickedness pervert his mind or deceit beguile his soul;
For the witchery of paltry things obscures what is right and the whirl of desire transforms the innocent mind.
Having become perfect in a short while, he reached the fullness of a long career; for his soul was pleasing to the LORD,
therefore he sped him out of the midst of wickedness.
But the people saw and did not understand, nor did they take this into account.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples.
On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples,
The web that is woven over all nations; he will destroy death forever.
The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces;
The reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken.
On that day it will be said:
"Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
This is the LORD for whom we looked;
let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!"

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Book of Lamentations.

My soul is deprived of peace,
I have forgotten what happiness is; I tell myself my future is lost,
all that I hoped for from the LORD.
The thought of my homeless poverty is wormwood and gall;
Remembering it over and over leaves my soul downcast within me.
But I will call this to mind, as my reason to have hope:
The favors of the LORD are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent;
They are renewed each morning, so great is his faithfulness.
My portion is the LORD, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
Good is the LORD to one who waits for him, to the soul that seeks him; It is good to hope in silence for the saving help of the LORD.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Daniel

In those days, I, Daniel, mourned
and heard this word of the Lord: At that time there shall arise
Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people;
It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since nations began until that time.
At that time your people shall escape, everyone who is found written in the book.
Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; Some shall live forever,
others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.
But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament,
And those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.

The word of the Lord.

Readings from the New Testament

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans.

Brothers and sisters:
Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless, died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person
one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
How much more then, since we are now justified by his Blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath.
Indeed, if, while we were enemies,
we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by his life.
Not only that, but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans.

Brothers and sisters:
If, by the transgression of the one, death came to reign through that one,
how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of justification
come to reign in life through the one Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, just as through one transgression condemnation came upon all,
so, through one righteous act, acquittal and life came to all.
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners,
so through the obedience of the one the many will be made righteous.
The law entered in so that transgression might increase
but, where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death,
grace also might reign through justification for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans.

Brothers and sisters:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
we too might live in newness of life. If, then, we have died with Christ,
we believe that we shall also live with him.
We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans.

Brothers and sisters:
Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, Abba, "Father!"
The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.
For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God;
for creation was made subject to futility,
not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption
and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves,
who have the first fruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves
as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans.

Brothers and sisters:
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all,
will he not also give us everything else along with him? Who will bring a charge against God's chosen ones?
It is God who acquits us.
Who will condemn? It is Christ Jesus who died, rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.
What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish, or distress or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
No, in all these things, we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities,
nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans.

Brothers and sisters: No one lives for oneself,
and no one dies for oneself.
For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord;
so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.
For this is why Christ died and came to life,
that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Why then do you judge your brother?
Or you, why do you look down on your brother?
For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God;
for it is written:
As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bend before me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.
So then each of us shall give an accounting of himself to God.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.

Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through a man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order:
Christ the first fruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.

Brothers and sisters: Behold, I tell you a mystery.
We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound,
the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality.
And when this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality,
then the word that is written shall come about:
Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.

Brothers and sisters:
Knowing that the One who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus
and place us with you in his presence.
Everything indeed is for you,
so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.
Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away,
our inner self is being renewed day by day.
For this momentary light affliction
is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen;
for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.
For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent,
should be destroyed,
we have a building from God,
a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.

Brothers and sisters:
We know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent,
should be destroyed,
we have a building from God, a dwelling not made with hands,
eternal in heaven.
We are always courageous,
although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,
for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Yet we are courageous,
and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.
Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense,
according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians.

Brothers and sisters: Our citizenship is in heaven,
and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He will change our lowly body
to conform with his glorified Body by the power that enables him also
to bring all things into subjection to himself.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians.

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep,
so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus,
bring with him those who have fallen asleep. Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord,
that we who are alive,
who are left until the coming of the Lord,
will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself, with a word of command,
with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven,
and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left,
will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
Thus we shall always be with the Lord.
Therefore, console one another with these words.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the second Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy.

Beloved:
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David: such is my Gospel, for which I am suffering,
even to the point of chains, like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained.
Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus,
together with eternal glory. This saying is trustworthy:
If we have died with him we shall also live with him;
if we persevere
we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny himself.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the first Letter of Saint John.

Beloved:
See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the first Letter of Saint John

Beloved:
We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

The word of the Lord.