Approved Hymns for Funerals

It is the pastoral responsibility of parishes to provide liturgical music at all Funeral Masses. The same liturgical norms applied to music at any Mass apply to the Funeral Mass.

  1. An instrumentalist, a cantor, and even a choir where possible should assist the full participation of the assembly in the songs, responses, and acclamations of the funeral Rites (OCF #33).
  2. Certain musical texts are primary and should be sung or chanted at the Funeral Mass: the responsorial psalm, the gospel acclamation, the three acclamations of the Eucharistic Prayer, the “Lamb of God” litany, and the “Song of Farewell.” These should not be sung by cantor, choir, or soloist alone. Rather, they belong to the assembly.
  3. In the Order of Christian Funerals, as in all the reformed liturgical books, the cantor has an important task. The task of the cantor is to animate and direct the singing of the assembly. With the exception of the responsorial psalm, which is sung from the ambo, the cantor ordinarily leads the assembly from a cantor stand.
  4. Some form of hymnal or worship program may be used at funerals. The program might be a computer-generated document with the words and music for the liturgy. Copyright licenses and permissions are necessary, and many parishes have found annual licenses to be both convenient and inexpensive. Some liturgical publishers have offered participation cards and booklets for the liturgy that have proven very useful. A separate sheet might be prepared for the participation of the faithful in the committal at the cemetery.
  5. A choir has proven of great worth in many parishes. Members of a funeral choir are often recruited from parishioners who are retired, self-employed, or whose work gives them freedom of schedule.
  6. The selection of music for the funeral liturgy is often a sensitive issue for bereaved families, parish musicians, and pastoral staff. The choice of music for Christian funerals must be in accord with all the recommendations governing music in liturgy.
  7. The responsorial form of psalm singing, in which the psalmist or choir sings the verses and the assembly responds with a brief antiphon, is well suited to the funeral liturgy. The practice of substituting metrical hymns based on psalm texts for the responsorial psalm is not encouraged since this form affects and alters the ritual pattern of responsorial singing.
  8. The request for “favorite songs” of the deceased often result in inappropriate performances of music incapable of bearing the weight liturgy demands. Popular songs, sentimental ethnic music, or songs from Broadway hits are never to substitute for the music of the funeral liturgy.
  9. Music is preeminent among the signs expressed by the participants in any liturgy. Therefore, recorded music is not to be used within the liturgy to replace the congregation, the choir, the organist, cantor, or other musicians. (Liturgical Music Today, #60).

Here at St. Joan of Arc, we encourage full participation from our community. There are several opportunities to incorporate music into the funeral service. Please select a Processional Hymn, Preparation of the Gifts Hymn, Communion Hymn, and Recessional Hymn.

Approved Hymns

I heard the voice of Jesus say
The King of Love my Shepherd is (psalm 23)
I know that my Redeemer Lives
O God, Our Help in Ages Past
Amazing Grace

Ave Maria (Schubert)
Ave Maria (Bach)
The King of Love My Shepherd is (psalm 23)
What Wondrous Love
Shepherd Me, O God
Blest Are They

Panis Angelicus
Ave Maria (Schubert)
Ave Maria (Bach)
I Am the Bread of Life

In Paradisum (Gregorian chant)
May Flights of Angels Lead You
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
O God, Our Help in Ages Past
Come with us, O Blessed Jesus (Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring)
Amazing Grace