Funeral Mass

Funeral Mass

An Outline of the Funeral Mass

Introductory Rites

Greeting of the Body: As the funeral procession arrives at Christ the King, the assembly will greet the family and the body in the narthex of the church. This is the gathering space located underneath the bell tower. After the family has gathered, the priest will begin the prayers and then sprinkle the coffin with holy water as a reminder of the person’s Baptism.

The Placing of the Pall: After the body is sprinkled with holy water, a white cloth, called a pall is placed over the coffin as a reminder of the baptismal garments given to the baptized upon their entrance into the Church on the day of their Baptism. The pall is usually placed on the coffin by the immediate family or those most closely associated with the deceased’s care. (The pall may be placed on the coffin by the priest, assisted by the funeral director.)

Entrance Procession and Opening Song: After the pall has been placed on the coffin, the servers and priest will lead the coffin into the church followed by the family, friends, and assembly. The coffin will be placed in the center aisle in front of the altar. During this time a hymn is sung. A list of hymn suggestions may be found here.

Placing of a Christian Symbol: After the Opening Song has finished, an option of the Funeral Rite invites the family to place a symbol of the Christian life (a cross, Bible, rosary, icon of a saint, prayer book) on the coffin. If this option is chosen, the object is carried up in the procession and placed on the coffin after all of the people have assembled at their seats.

Opening Prayer

Liturgy of the Word

Readings: Two readings plus a sung responsorial psalm precede the Gospel. The family in collaboration with the liturgist should select one text each from the Old Testament readings, Responsorial Psalms (which will be led by the cantor), New Testament readings, and the Gospel readings. Non-biblical texts may not replace scriptural readings at Mass. It is customary for family members and/or family friends to participate by reading the Old and New Testament readings as well as leading the General Intercessions (Prayer of the Faithful). Preferably you would have three readers at a funeral Mass – one each for the First Reading, the Second Reading and the Prayer of the Faithful. For suggested readings, click here.


Prayer of the Faithful: You may use or adapt one of the sets found in Appendix I or, in collaboration with the liturgist or presider, compose a set of your own. Names of deceased family members may be added to the intercessions. If you wish to compose your own petitions, the examples can serve as a model.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Preparation of the Gifts: Family members or friends may bring the gifts of bread and wine to the altar.

Song for Preparation: Please see the list of suggested hymns in Appendix II.

Eucharistic Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer: The Our Father is to be recited or sung by the entire assembly.

The Sign of Peace

Lamb of God

The Distribution of Holy Communion: If family members or friends of the family are Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, they are invited to assist the priests and deacons in distributing the Body and Blood of Christ.

Communion Song: It is appropriate and helpful to sing a hymn with a refrain while the assembly receives the Body and Blood of Christ. This hymn should reflect the nature of the action taking place.

Final Commendation

Invitation to Prayer

Song of Farewell: The cantor will lead this traditional sung prayer, and the assembly should join in by repeating each phrase of the refrain.

Prayer of Commendation

Song of the Angels: This traditional song (In paradisum) is usually sung by the presider or cantor.

Closing Song
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