Singing and the Funeral Mass
We encourage everyone who is arranging the funeral of a relative
or a friend to arrange for a singer and a musician to provide
music at the funeral Mass. This can be arranged very easily.
Our parish organist Mrs Helen Devine is usually available to play
at funerals and there are a number of excellent singers available.
Sometimes, people say that they would not like singing at the
funeral mass because: "It would make it too sad."
In fact, singing helps and comforts those who are grieving.
Music provides us with a great sense of hope and
lifts our spirits at times when we are feeling low.
Music also helps the funeral mass to be a fitting celebration for
the person who has died. The funeral mass is a celebration in which
we say our final liturgical farewell to someone whom we loved very much.
Its important for us to make that final celebration one that is worthy of the person,
one that we can look back on with satisfaction.
It is often our experience as priests that a funeral mass without singing
is an unsatisfactory experience for the mourners.
A funeral mass without singing can be very bleak and cold.
If you wish to arrange for a musician and a singer to provide music
at the funeral mass please talk to the priest or the undertakers.
In recent times, some controversy/attention has been focused on ‘family eulogies’ at funerals in Church. A family eulogy is most appropriately given at a graveside/crematorium when the prayers of commitment are complete. Even at the reception following the funeral there is an opportunity to give your eulogy, after all the best man and father of the bride do not give their ‘few words’ during the Wedding Ceremony.
Alternatively at the Removal to the Church the evening before, there is space for someone to say ‘a few words’. At the removal, everyone present is there on behalf of the deceased and his or her family while the funeral mass is a community and public mass. The ‘few words’ should be just that, certainly no more than 3-4 minutes in length and written out and shown to the celebrant beforehand. On occasions people have been unprepared and spoken for too long and it has caused stress to other family members. Other times what is said is inappropriate and sometimes even offensive to others present.
The priest will always include appropriate references to the life of the deceased as part of the funeral homily if you let him know some of the things you would like said.