Music for a Catholic funeral

Music for a Catholic funeral

Most of us are rarely asked to choose music for a church service and may not know where to start.

Music Suggestions

This list will hopefully give you a few ideas. It is not an official list of approved music and does not include every possible hymn.
The wishes of a dead person are always the first starting point – wishes which may have been written down or be otherwise known because the deceased had a favourite hymn or hymns.

Traditional Hymns

  • Abide with me
  • All my hope on God is founded
  • Be thou my vision
  • Firmly I believe and truly
  • For all the saints
  • Guide me, O thou great redeemer
  • I heard the voice of Jesus say
  • O Jesus, I have promised
  • Lead, kindly light
  • Lord of all hopefulness
  • Now the green blade riseth
  • O God, our help in ages past
  • Praise to the holiest in the height
  • Praise we our God with joy
  • Sing with all the saints in glory
  • Soul of my Saviour
  • Thine be the glory

Modern Hymns and Songs

  • Be still and know I am with you
  • Be not afraid
  • Go, silent friend
  • How great thou art
  • I am the bread of life
  • Like a child rests
  • Jesu, son of Mary
  • O the love of my Lord
  • On eagle’s wings
  • There is a longing in our hearts
  • Unless a grain of wheat
  • We walk by faith
  • O Lord, I know you are near

Text adapted from Into Your Hands: planning a Catholic funeral, readings and prayers

Taizé chants

  • In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful
  • Jesus, remember me
  • Bless the Lord, my soul
  • O Christe, Domine Jesu
  • O Lord, hear my prayer

Latin Requiem Mass

Some parts (In paradisum, Requiem Aeternam, Sanctus and Agnus Dei) can be found in Music for the Funeral Rite (MFR, McCrimmon 1990) and Laudate (Decani Music, 1999.)


As in many places on Sundays, to have a Responsorial Psalm sung, a singer will be needed.
Some modern psalm settings are:
Requires a singer
Psalm 22(23): Because the Lord is my shepherd (Walker)
or Shepherd me, O God (Haugen)
Psalm 41(42): As the deer longs (Hurd) or
O God. for you I long (Farrell)
Psalm 62(63): Your love is finer
than life (Haugen)

If there is no singer available, these psalm may be sung by everybody present as a hymn or song:

Psalm 102(103): Praise, my soul,
the King of heaven
Psalm 22(23): The Lord’s my
or The king of love my shepherd is
Psalm 41(42): As longs the deer


The Gospel Acclamation is important as it prepares everyone to listen to the Gospel. Most people will know the Easter (or Paschal) alleluia and if there is someone to start it off, the organist or the priest, will join in. In Lent the Gospel Acclamation is not Alleluia but ‘Praise to you O Christ, King of eternal glory’ or a similar verse.

Mass Settings

The Holy, Holy, Memorial Acclamation and Great Amen should be sung at Mass if at all possible.

Songs of Farewell

Saints of God (MFR, nos. 21 & 44)
May the choirs of angels
I know that my redeemer lives (MFR, Laudate)

Procession from Church

May God the Father look on you (Laudate)
May flights of angels (MFR)
May choirs of angels welcome you (MFR)
In paradisum (Latin Requiem)
May the angels lead you into paradise (MFR)

Text taken from Into Your Hands: planning a Catholic funeral, readings and prayers ¬© 1999 Liturgy Office of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, published by Decani Books (0845 456 8392)

With thanks to the Liturgy Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales –

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The Art of Dying Well