Prayers for Funeral Programs

If needed when planning (see funeral planning form), here are some ideas of prayers to include on the program. For questions about planning a funeral at Cathedral, visit our Funerals page. These prayers are in alphabetical order. Blessings to you!

Breastplate of St Patrick

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me, 
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of whom all nature hath creation, 
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Death is nothing at all

Death is nothing at all . . .
I have only slipped away
Into the next room . . .
I am I and You are You
Whatever we were to each other,
That we are still.
Call me by my old, familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way
Which you always used, 
Put no difference into you tone . . .
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow,  
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes
We enjoyed together,
Play, Smile, Think of Me, Pray for me,
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
Let it be spoken without an effort,
Without the ghost of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was . . .
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, 
Somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.
Nothing is past, nothing is lost.
One brief moment and it will be as it was before –
Only better, infinitely happier forever
We will all be
Together.

--Canon Holland of Coventry Cathedral

Do not stand at my grave and weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush 
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
(Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!

Family Tree

There’s love within our family tree
and happiness abounds.  
Its roots are deeply planted
In rich and fertile ground. 

We enjoy the rays of sunlight, 
and endure the winds and rain,
and when a leaf falls from our tree, 
together we share the pain. 

God gave us earthly families
and never did intend,
that bonds of love built on earth,
upon our death would end.

For when our life is over
and from earth our souls will flee, 
one by one, leaf by leaf
He’ll rejoin our family tree.  

--Ron Tranmer

Footprints in the Sand

One night I had a dream...
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and
Across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand;
One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before us,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
There was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life
This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
You would walk with me all the way;
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,
There is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why in times when I
needed you the most, you should leave me.
The Lord replied, "My precious, precious
child. I love you, and I would never,
never leave you during your times of
trial and suffering.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."

Gaelic Blessing

Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the gentle night to you.
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you.
Deep peace of Christ, of Christ the light of the world to you.
Deep peace of Christ to you.

Giving Back

We give them back to you, O God,
who gave them to us.
Yet as you did not lose them in giving,
so we do not lose them by their return.
Not as the world gives do you give, O Lover of souls.
What you give, you take not away,
for what is yours is ours also
if we are yours.

And life is eternal and love immortal,
and death is only a horizon,
and a horizon is nothing, save the limit of our sight.
Lift us up, strong Son of God, that we may see farther;
cleanse our eyes that we may see more clearly;
draw us closer to yourself that we may know ourselves
to be nearer to our loved ones who are with you.

And while you prepare a place for us,
prepare us also for that happy place,
that where you are we may also be for evermore.

--Attributed to Bede Jarrett, O.P.

Gone From My Sight

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side, spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, "There, she is gone."

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast, hull and spar as she was when she left my side. And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me -- not in her.

And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone," there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"

And that is dying...

--Henry Van Dyke

Hail and Farewell

Through many nations and through many seas borne, I come, Brother, for these sad funeral rites, that I may give the last gifts to the dead, and may vainly speak to your silent ashes, since fortune has taken yourself away from me.  Ah, poor brother, undeservedly snatched from me.  But now receive these gifts, which have been handed down in the ancient manner of ancestors, the sad gifts to the grave, drenched with a brother's tears, and forever, Brother, hail and farewell.

--Catullus

Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace.
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen. 

Heavenly Father

I call on You right now in a special way. It is through Your power that I was created. Every breath I take, every morning I wake and every moment of every hour, I live under Your power.
Father, I ask You now to touch me with that same power. For if You created me from nothing, You can certainly recreate me. Fill me with the healing power of Your Spirit. Cast out anything that should not be in me. Mend what is broken. Root out any unproductive cells. Open any blocked arteries or veins and rebuild any damaged areas. Remove all inflammation and cleanse any infection.
Let the warmth of Your healing love pass through my body to make new any unhealthy areas so that my body will function the way You created it to function.
And Father, restore me to full health in mind and body so that I may serve You the rest of my life.
I ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen

How do I love thee

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

--Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I’m Free

Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free
I’m following the path God has laid you see.
I took His hand when I heard him call
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work, to play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way
I found that peace at the close of day.
If my parting has left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
Oh yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savoured much
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts and peace to thee
God wanted me now; He set me free.

I Am Not Gone

I am not gone
While you cry with me
I am not gone
While you smile with me
I am not gone
While you remember with me

I will come
When you call my name
I will come
On your final day

It could never be
That we
Would never be

We shall always
Be together
Forever

I am not gone

--Michael Ashby

In Paradisium

May the angels lead you into paradise;
may the martyrs come to welcome you
and take you to the holy city,
the new and eternal Jerusalem.  

May choirs of angels welcome you
and lead you to the bosom of Abraham;
and where Lazarus is poor no longer
may you find eternal rest.

An Irish Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm 
of His hand.

John Henry Cardinal Newman prayer

May He Support us all the day long,
Till the shades lengthen
and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over, 
and our work is done.
Then in His mercy
May He give us a safe lodging,
and a holy rest and peace at the last.
Amen.

--St. John Henry Cardinal Newman

Our Father

Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen. 

Prayer for Medical Professionals

O merciful Father, who have wonderfully fashioned man in your own image, and have made his body to be a temple of the Holy Spirit, sanctify, we pray you, our doctors and nurses and all those whom you have called to study and practice the arts of healing the sick and the prevention of disease and pain. 

Strengthen them in body and soul, and bless their work, that they may give comfort to those for whose salvation your Son became Man, lived on this earth, healed the sick, and suffered and died on the Cross. Amen.

Prayer of Commendation

Into your hands, Father of mercies, we commend our brother (sister) N.
in the sure and certain hope
that, together with all who have died in Christ,
he (she) will rise with him on the last day. 

[We give you thanks for the blessings
which you bestowed upon N. in this life:
they are signs to us of your goodness
and of our fellowship with the saints in Christ.] 

Merciful Lord, turn toward us and listen to our prayers:
open the gates of paradise to your servant
and help us who remain
to comfort one another with assurances of faith,
until we all meet in Christ
and are with you and with our brother (sister) for ever.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer of Farewell

Saints of God, come to his aid! Hasten to meet him, angels of the Lord!

Response: Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.

May Christ, who called you, take you to himself; may angels lead you to the bosom of Abraham.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

The Prayer of St. Francis de Sales

Be at Peace
Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life; 
rather look to them with full hope as they arise. 
God, whose very own you are, 
will deliver you from out of them. 
He has kept you hitherto,
and He will lead you safely through all things; 
and when you cannot stand it, 
God will bury you in his arms. 
 
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; 
the same everlasting Father who cares for you today
will take care of you then and everyday. 
He will either shield you from suffering, 
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. 
Be at peace, 
and put aside all anxious thoughts and imagination.

--St. Francis de Sales 1567-1622

Prayer to my Guardian Angel

Angel of God,
My guardian dear,
To whom God’s love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard,
To rule and guide.
Amen

Prayer to St. Jude

St. Jude, you remained faithful to our Lord, even unto death. You gave your life so that others might live. You endured physical pain and emotional abandonment. But you gladly joined your sufferings to those of our Savior, Jesus, and thus shared in the redemption of the world. I ask you now to intercede with our brother, Jesus Christ on my behalf, so that I too can find strength in the face of my suffering.  Help me to trust in God and put my life in his hands.

Preface for Mass for the Dead

In Him, who rose from the dead, 
our hope of resurrection dawned.
The sadness of death gives way
to the bright promise of immortality.

Lord, for your faithful people life is changed, not ended.
When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death
we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven.

In Him the hope of blessed resurrection has dawned, that those saddened by the certainty of dying might be consoled by the promise of immortality to come. Indeed for your faithful, Lord, life is changed not ended, and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust, an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven.

Prophets of a Future Not Our Own

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for God's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Amen. 

--The Prayer of St. Oscar Arnulfo Romero

Psalm 23 - The LORD Is My Shepherd

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest  my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. 

Safely Home

I am home in Heaven, dear ones;
Oh, so happy and so bright!
There is perfect joy and beauty
In this everlasting light.

All the pain and grief is over,
Every restless tossing passed;
I am now at peace forever.
Safely home in Heaven at last.

Did you wonder I so calmly
Trod the valley of the shade?
Oh! But Jesus’ love illumined
Every dark and fearful glade.

And He came Himself to meet me
In that way so hard to tread;
And with Jesus’ arm to lean on,
Could I have one doubt or dread?

Then you must not grieve so sorely,
For I love you dearly still;
Try to look beyond earth’s shadows,
Pray to trust our Father’s Will.

There is work still waiting for you,
So you must not idly stand;
Do it now, while life remaineth;
You shall rest in Jesus’ land.

When that work is all completed,
He will gently call you Home;
Oh, the rapture of that meeting,
Oh, the joy to see you come!

Saint Teresa of Calcutta

I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I do know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will NOT ask, "How many good things have you done in your life?"  Rather he will ask, "How much LOVE did you put into what you did?"

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; 
Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life 
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

St. Joseph Prayer

O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your Heavenly power I may offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the most Loving of Fathers. O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen 

St. Ignatius' Prayer for Generosity

Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.

The Memorare

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided.

Inspired with this confidence, we fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, our Mother.  To you we come; before you we stand, sinful and sorrowful.

O Mother of the word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer us.  Amen.

Viktor Frankl quote

From all this we may learn that there are two races of men in this world, but only these two – the “race” of the decent man and the “race” of the indecent man.  

Both are found everywhere; they penetrate into all groups of society.  
No group consists entirely of decent or indecent people.

--Viktor Frankl (Holocaust Survivor)