20 Popular Readings for a Catholic Funeral

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Readings are an important part of a Catholic funeral. They provide a pause for the audience to reflect. The words are usually comforting for Catholics, too. They speak of a future that promises peace and salvation for the deceased. If you’re in charge of coordinating funeral readings, though, it can be challenging.

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This is especially true if the deceased was Catholic and you are not. Below, we have a selection of readings for you to choose from. Whether you prefer the Old or New Testament or the beautiful Psalms, there are plenty of options. 

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Catholic Funeral Readings for Mom or Grandma

Selecting a reading for your mom or grandma always comes from the heart. Catholic funeral readings are usually chosen from certain Scripture passages. They don’t tend to focus on family relationships. If you want traditional readings, pick a passage that would have meant something to them. 

1. Psalms 23:1-4

This Psalm serves as a reminder that your mom or grandma has gone on to eternal repose and restful waters. 

 “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. / In verdant pastures he gives me repose; / Beside restful waters he leads me; / He refreshes my soul. / He guides me in right paths / for his name sake. / Even though I walk in the dark valley / I fear no evil; for you are at my side / With your rod and your staff / that give me courage.”

2. Psalms 27:1-4

With God by your side, you can make it through this dark valley. 

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life's refuge; of whom should I be afraid? One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek: to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life. That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD and contemplate his temple.”

3. Psalms 42:1-4

If you’re a Catholic, you can believe that your mom or grandma is in a better place than you. Their soul has reached the ultimate goal: meeting the living God.

“As the hind longs for the running waters, so my soul longs for you, O God. Athirst is my soul for God, the living God. When shall I go and behold the face of God? I went with the throng and led them in procession to the house of God.

4. Psalms 103:8-13

God’s compassion still holds true, even during this difficult time. 

“Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger, and abounding in kindness. Not according to our sins does he deal with us, nor does he requite us according to our crimes. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion…”

5. Psalms 116:5-7

A time of mourning is incredibly difficult to cope with. 

“Gracious is the LORD and just; yes, our God is merciful. The LORD keeps the little ones; I was brought low, and he saved me. I believed, even when I said, "I am greatly afflicted," I said in my alarm, "No man is dependable."

» MORE: How do you host a virtual funeral? Start here

 

Catholic Funeral Readings for Dad or Grandpa

If you were lucky, you had a very close relationship with your dad or grandpa. There are lots of Bible verses that pay homage to good, loyal men. 

6. Wisdom 4:7-10

This passage praises someone in your life for their virtue and dedication to God.

“The virtuous man, though he die before his time, will find rest. Length of days is not what makes age honourable, nor number of years the true measure of life; understanding, this is man’s grey hairs, untarnished life, this is ripe old age. He has sought to please God, so God has loved him…”

7. 1 John 3:1

The love between a father and his child is unparalleled.

“Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God’s children; and that is what we are. Because the world refused to acknowledge him, therefore it does not acknowledge us…”

8. Romans 8:35-37

No matter how intense your grief is, it will not separate you from the love of God.

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

9. John 14:1-3

Your loved one has gone ahead of you to a place that God prepared for them. 

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

10. Isaiah 57:1 

Mourning the death of a righteous man is a privilege. 

“The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.”

Catholic Funeral Readings from the Old Testament

The Old Testament is full of poetic, comforting passages for a funeral. 

11. Ecclesiastes 3:2-3

Even if their death feels too soon, there is a time for everything. 

“There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for everything under the heavens. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build…”

12. Wisdom 3:1-3

Everything, including the souls of the deceased, are in God’s hand. 

“The souls of the just are in the hand of God and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace.”

13. Wisdom 4:7-9

The idea of your loved ones at rest is comforting. 

“The just, though they die early, shall be at rest. For the age that is honorable comes not with the passing of time, nor can it be measured in terms of years. Rather, understanding is the hoary crown, and an unsullied life, the attainment of old age…”

14. Isaiah 25:6-8

If you’re Catholic, you can look forward to a future where God will wipe the tears from your eyes. 

“On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples. On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, The web that is woven over all nations; he will destroy death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces ...

15. Lamentations 3:17-20

The entire book of Lamentations is a poignant expression of grief. 

“My soul is deprived of peace, and I have forgotten what happiness is; I tell myself my future is lost, all that I hoped for from the Lord. The thought of my homeless poverty is wormwood and gall; Remembering it over and over leaves my soul downcast within me …”

Catholic Funeral Readings from the New Testament

The New Testament is full of rich promises for the afterlife. 

16. Romans 14:7-9

Life and death are both in God’s hands. 

“Brothers and sisters: No one lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s…”

17. 1 Corinthians 15:52

At the resurrection, you will see your loved one again.

“For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

18. Romans 8:33-35

This is a beautiful promise for Judgment Day. 

“Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us. Who will condemn? It is Christ Jesus who died, rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God,

who indeed intercedes for us. What will separate us from the love of Christ?”

19. 2 Timothy 4:6-8

It’s a comfort to know that your loved one finished the race of salvation.

“I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me …”

20. 2 Corinthians 4:14-15

This is a promise for the resurrection. 

“Brothers and sisters: Knowing that the One who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence. Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.”

Gathering Funeral Readings

As you prepare readings, it may be appropriate to spread them out. You could pick one reading from the Old Testament, one from Psalms, and one from the New Testament. In this way, your readings represent the arc of the salvation story. 

If you're looking for more information on Catholic funerals, read out guides to the best Catholic funeral songs, how mass of Christian burials work, and all about last rites.


Sources

  1. “Masses for the Dead: Responsorial Psalms.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, n.d., www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/bereavement-and-funerals/responsorial-psalms.cfm
  2. “Scripture Readings for Funerals.” Diocese of Westminster, n.d., rcdow.org.uk/att/files/diocese/liturgy/funerals/funeral-readings.pdf
  3. “Funeral Information.” St. James Catholic Church, n.d., www.saintjames.church/funeral/
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