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Funerals are a key moment in the journey from this life to the next, especially for the family and friends who mourn the passing of a loved one. The purpose of the Catholic Funeral Liturgy is to offer worship and thanksgiving to God, the author of all life; to pray for the deceased, and to offer support to the bereaved.

We offer you our condolences at this time of your loss and grief. At every Mass, those who have died are lifted in the Eucharistic arms of the Church to our heavenly Father. May your loved one rest in peace and share in the new life of Christ’s Resurrection.

Preparing the funeral service of someone who has died can be a difficult thing to face. The clergy at the Cathedral will do everything we can to help and support you at this time. We hope that the following information will provide you with an idea of some of the things you need to think about.

Frequently ASKED questions about A catholic funeral:

You will need to inform the parish office of the death of your loved one so that we can pray for them. Please contact the Cathedral office

You will need to approach a funeral director who will guide you through all the practical details and costs. In the first place, the funeral directors will liase with the family, the Cathedral and the cemetery or crematorium to find a date and time for the funeral to take place. Once this date is agreed, please contact the Cathedral Office for an appointment with the member of clergy who will celebrate your loved one’s funeral. Please contact the Cathedral office

The focus of a Catholic funeral is to offer worship and thanksgiving to God, the author of all life; to pray for the deceased, and to offer support to the bereaved. It is a religious service where we express our Christian hope that those who have gone ahead of us marked with the sign of faith may one day rise in glory. This normally takes the form of the celebration of a Requiem Mass, the highest form of prayer in which the Sacrifice of Christ himself is made present. In offering this Sacrifice, we commend to God the soul of the deceased in union with Christ himself. However, there may be circumstances when a family request the more simple Funeral Service.

The Cathedral clergy will guide you through the three main things that you will have to consider whether you decide to have a Requiem Mass or a Funeral Service for your deceased loved one:

i) The Scripture Readings

ii) The Sacred Music


iii) the option of having a eulogy

All the readings must be taken from the Bible as these best express our hope that our dead share in the death and resurrection of Christ. In every age and culture, The Word of God is a source of encouragement and consolation for the faithful of God. It is Jesus who speaks when the Scriptures are read in church. Even when we read these readings to ourselves privately we are invited to listen for the voice of the Lord of Life.

Here is a selection of “funeral” readings for you to consider a collection of the readings approved for use at catholic funerals.

At every Catholic service there is at least one reading from scripture. At a Requiem Mass there are usually two and sometimes, three readings: a Gospel reading which is read by the priest or deacon and a reading taken from elsewhere in the Old or New Testaments.

It is important to choose a reader or readers who will proclaim the word of God in a clear, audible and confident manner. You want people to hear the reading(s) that you have chosen for your deceased’s funeral. Sometimes a family will ask someone to read who has never stood up in public to read, let alone at a funeral. When they do read at the Funeral, it is clear how uncomfortable they are when doing so. The key is to choose a person who is likely to be able to contain their emotions and communicate the scripture reading with clarity and meaning.

If you are struggling to find a reader, the priest or deacon celebrating the funeral will help you.

Some families choose not to have intercessions. Others do. The choice is yours.

If you do decide to have intercessions and have someone to read them, then you can compose your own or use some of the following suggested prayers 

All the music during the Requiem Mass or Funeral Service must be drawn from the repertoire of Christian hymns and compositions that express our faith in the Crucified and Risen Christ.

Non-religious music, such as, popular music can be requested through the undertakers for crematorium services or used at any social gathering you might have after the funeral.

When considering what to sing, do take into account the make up of the congregation and how they will respond to the invitation to sing. Try and choose hymns that people are familiar with and are likely to sing. Here are some suggestions of popular and appropriate hymns for a funeral Funeral Hymns

If the congregation is small, or unfamiliar with singing, it may be better to rely more on the organ and a soloist from the Cathedral choir.

All the music and any requests for singers from the Cathedral Choir must be arranged and agreed with the Master of Music, Mr Andrew Wright. This is to ensure that the quality of music at the Cathedral is of a high standard especially for the celebration of liturgical services.

For any enquiries about music please contact the music department at

Once approved, the Cathedral Music Department will arrange for an organist and, if requested, a soloist to sing.

Please note that there are no facilities to play recorded or downloaded music in the Cathedral.

This is when a member of the family or someone close to the family speaks briefly (three or four minutes) about the deceased. This is not a biography of the deceased but an attempt to describe why the deceased was so important to the family, to distil their essence and to thank God for who they were and what they gave in their earthly lives. 

There is no obligation to have a eulogy and some families decide that they wish to remember their deceased loved one in a more private and less formal fashion. 

Other families decide that they do want a eulogy and that there is someone who will write and be able to deliver the eulogy on the day of the funeral. To speak more personally about a deceased loved one is not an easy thing to do. No one, especially family members, should feel under any pressure or sense of duty to give a eulogy.

Sometimes a family do want a eulogy but they find that there is no one who would be able to deliver it. In this case, the family will write the eulogy and request the priest or deacon to read it out on their behalf.

If you decided to have a eulogy, we strongly advise that you write it out in full so that the eulogy remains focussed and succinct. 

The final act of saying farewell takes place in a brief service at the graveside or at the crematorium. This is led almost entirely by the priest or deacon.

Should we have a reception afterwards?

This is up to the family but the informal atmosphere of a reception is the best place for the display of photos and the use of popular music enjoyed by the person who has died or is associated with them by others. These things can encourage conversation and the sharing of personal memories of the one who has died, in ways that are especially helpful to the bereaved, to family and friends.