Christians who belong to the Catholic Church have their own unique way of conducting their funeral services to include even catholic funeral readings, which are usually extracted from both the old and New Testament.
Most people will opt for the free and most popular Readings but, ask yourself this. Do you want to be the same as everyone else or use some special and unique words?
You will come across three Bible readings in a typical Catholic funeral, with one from the Old Testament, one from the epistles and the last one from the New Testament. The end of each reading is connoted by the priest saying, “That is the word of the Lord”, to which the congregation responds in acknowledgment, “Thanks be to God.”
Catholics further have their own unique order of service which begins by opening remarks, reading a word from the Bible, Eucharist service, and finally closing remarks. In between, predetermined songs are played, either by the choir, the congregation or both.
The Important Roles Played By Catholic Funeral Readings
Just like other Christians, Catholics believe in the concept of eternal life. These readings are an acknowledgment of God as the center of everything when human lives are in question. They serve several roles as listed herein.
They are used for praising, worshipping and thanking God
As is normal to any Christian gathering, especially in the church set up, everything is done with recognition of the power and might of God. Everything happens according to His watch, even the death of a loved one. We are meant, therefore, not to question Him, but to worship, give praise and be thankful in all circumstances, owing to the fact that He has still given us life in abundance.
They comfort the mourners
That death is a source of grief is no news. The pain is so much that sometimes words from those close to us may not do much to ease it. But the word of God, owing to these Catholic funeral readings, has some added strength that is able to calm the soul.
Sometimes all we want to hear is that things will be fine and that there is a strong overseer, who sees and understands our pain, in a way no human being can, and who will give us the strength needed to endure it all. That overseer is God as seen with these readings.
They celebrate the lives of the departed
The pain brought by the demise of a loved one makes us lose hope and worry about the future without them? How then, will you be able to take care of your kids alone, like in the death of a spouse? Everything seems lost and so is a part of you.
These Catholic funeral readings make us see their lives as having been lived to the fullest, and having attained the purpose for which someone lived, regardless of the period. It was just enough according to how God destined for them to live and accomplish their roles in life, giving us a reason to celebrate.
They are a source of consolation
It talks about death not being the end, but a mere transition into an after-life. We have a chance of reuniting with our loved ones when we die too. The readings further envision after-life as one free from worries and troubles associated with the worldly one, one where there is no sickness, just eating, singing, rejoicing and praising in the presence of the Lord. Knowing that your loved one is in a better place is a source of hope and consolation.
They seek to beseech God, requesting Him to accept the deceased’s soul-
We may have these Catholic funeral readings in attempts to talk to God based on the fact that we are still alive and capable of communicating with Him. We, therefore, ask Him to accept the soul of one of our own into His kingdom upon death.
This is done using carefully selected Bible readings that are believed to be able to soften God’s heart so that He can listen to our humble pleas. This we also do with gratitude, as the only thing left for us to do in honor of the deceased.
Sometimes this is a role that is believed to be played best by the priests themselves. They know the word of God better than we do. But we too can equally pick up the verses that we feel will have more impact during the funeral service for our loved ones.
You can thereafter suggest our choices to the priests so they can advise accordingly or incorporate them into their sermons. This is a nice way of personalizing the service.
You may also find a situation where the deceased had a scripture already picked up or wished for his family to do so? Will you then turn your back on them?
We have a list of appropriate Catholic funeral readings listed here at the holy bookshop to include even the most popular ones as the one cited below from the book of Palms 23, in the Old Testament.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul; He leads me in the path of righteousness, for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
Another popular Catholic funeral reading from the New Testament is cited below,
“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
We have a variety of these readings for you to choose from. Some are even regarded to be suitable for some situations over others. For instance, there are readings that will be a better fit for the funeral service of a child compared to that of an adult. If you are not sure you can suggest a couple of preferred verses to your priest for assistance in choosing the best.