Funeral Music

St. Leo the Great Music Guidelines for Funeral Rites

Because a funeral is an official ceremony of the Roman Catholic Church, guidelines for music in the Catholic Liturgy are to be followed.  Secular songs even though they may have been meaningful to the deceased or the family, do not capture the Gospel message of hope nor the sacred quality of Christian worship, and so secular songs are not appropriate for funeral services.  A selection like that may be best enjoyed during a time of quiet reflection at the funeral home with family and friends or at a funeral reception. 


In order to ensure that the quality of liturgy is maintained, it is preferred that only experienced St. Leo the Great Parish cantors and musicians provide the music. This helps to avoid disappointment to the families since it ensures a desirable continuity with the church’s regular worship life.  It also helps guarantee that the service will go smoothly because the celebrant, cantor and organist are accustomed to working with each other as well as with the specific acoustical demands of the liturgical space.  Professionally trained musicians may be used to sing solos at the Offertory or at Communion, but must work through the parish Music Director.  Use of recorded music in the liturgy is not permitted.  The hymn titles listed below are offered for your consideration.


Once you have made your selections – or if you need further assistance, please contact our Director of Music, Lorraine Neill to schedule and organist and cantor for the Funeral Mass.  She may be reached at703-273-4682 or 


Gathering Songs 

(Please select one song for the entrance processional)


Amazing Grace” - This traditional hymn was written by Virginia Harmony. “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me!”  W 650

Be Not Afraid” - Based on Isaiah 43:2-3 and Luke 6:20ff.  The refrain is: “Be not afraid, I go before you always. Come, follow me, and I will give you rest.”  W 680

Faith of Our Fathers” – “Faith of our fathers, holy faith, We will be true to you till death.”  W 676

For All the Saints” -  Traditional Hymn  “For all the Saints who from their labors rest.” W 891

Here I Am, Lord” - Based on Isaiah 6. The refrain is: “Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.”  W 783

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty” - This traditional hymn was written by John B. Dykes. “Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee; Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and mighty, God in three Persons, blessed Trinity.”  W 553

Lift High the Cross” – Based on 1 Corinthians 1:18. “Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim.” W 885

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” – “Love divine, all loves excelling, Joy of heav’n to earth come down.”

W 642

 O God, Our Help In Ages Past” - Based on Psalm 90. “O God, our Help in ages past, Our Hope for years to come.  Our Shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal Home.”  W 689

Sing with All the Saints in Glory” – Based on 1 Corinthians 15:20 (tune Hymn to Joy – Beethoven) “Sing with all the saints in glory, Sing the resurrection song!” W 526
Responsorial Psalms

(Please select one. The psalm is sung by the cantor after the first reading)


“The Lord Is My Shepherd” - Psalm 23. The refrain is: “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” 

“To You, O Lord - Psalm 25.   The refrain is: “To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.” 

 “The Lord Is My Light” -  Psalm 27.  The refrain is: “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” 

 “My Soul is Thirsting” - Psalm 63.  The refrain is:  “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord, thirsting for you my God. 

“The Lord Is Kind and Merciful” – Psalm 103.   The refrain is:  “The Lord is Kind and Merciful.” 

“I Will Walk Before the Lord” – Psalm 116.  The refrain is:  “I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.” 


Preparation of the Gifts & Communion Songs

(Please select two songs from the following list. During the Liturgy of the Eucharist, one will be used while the bread and wine is brought to the altar.  The other will be used during Communion. A few of the songs can only be used during Communion and are noted as such).  An organ solo may also be chosen for the Offertory.


 Amazing Grace”– See above notes

Ave Maria”- Franz Schubert. Sung in Latin. (Solo - Preparation of the Gifts)

Be Not Afraid”– See above notes

Blest Are They”- This waltz-like melody is based on the Beatitudes.  The refrain is: “Rejoice and be glad! Blessed are you, holy are you!  Rejoice and be glad! Yours is the kingdom of God!”  W 721

I Am the Bread of Life”(Communion only) - The text is based on Jn 6 and written by Suzanne Toolan, SM. The refrain is: “And I will raise you up, and I will raise you up, and I will raise you up on the last day.”  W 950

Eat This Bread” (Communion only) – The text is based on Jn 6 The refrain is: “Eat this bread, drink this cup, come to me and never be hungry, Eat this bread, drink this cup, trust in me and you will not thirst.” W 943

Eye Has Not Seen” - Based on 1Corinthians 2:9-10. Written and arranged by Marty Haugen. The refrain is: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard what God has ready for those who love him; Spirit of love, come, give us the mind of Jesus, teach us the wisdom of God.”  W 713

 Gift of Finest Wheat”/ “You Satisfy the Hungry Heart (Communion only) - This song is commonly known by both titles. The refrain is: “You satisfy the hungry heart with gift of finest wheat.  Come give to us, O saving Lord, the bread of life to eat.”  W 939

 Here I Am, Lord” – See above

On Eagle’s Wings” - The text is based on Psalm 91. Written and arranged by Michael Joncas. The refrain is: “And he will raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of his hand.”  W 690

One Bread, One Body” (Communion only) - Written by John Foley, SJ. The refrain is: “One bread, one body, one Lord of all, one cup of blessing which we bless. And we, though many, throughout the earth, we are one body in this one Lord.”  W 931

Panis Angelicus” (Communion solo) Franck.  Sung in Latin

Take and Eat” (Communion only) – The refrain is:  Take and eat; take and eat; this is my body given up for you.  Take and drink; take and drink; this is my blood given up for you.  W 940

We Have Been Told” – Written and arranged by David Haas.  The refrain is:  We have been told, we’ve seen his face, and heard his voice alive in our hearts; Live in my love with all your heart, as the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.  W 763

We Remember” - Written and arranged by Marty Haugen. The refrain is: “We remember how you loved us to your death, and still we celebrate, for you are with us here; and we believe that we will see you when you come in your glory, Lord. We remember, we celebrate, we believe.”  W 938

You Are Mine” - Written and arranged by David Haas. The refrain is: “Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name. Come and follow me, I will bring you home; I love you and you are mine.”  W 704


Song of Farewell

(select one)

In Paradisum/May Choirs of Angels”- sung in Latin.  English Translation is:  May choirs of angels escort you into paradise; and at your arrival may the martyrs receive and welcome you; may they bring you home into the holy city, Jerusalem.  May the holy angels welcome you, and with Lazarus, who lived in poverty, may you have everlasting rest.  W 200

“Songs of the Angels” – Bob Dufford.  The refrain is:  “May songs of the angels welcome you and guide you along your way.  May the smiles of the martyrs greet your own as darkness turns into day.  Ev’ry fear will be undone and death will be no more, as songs of the angels bring you home, before the face of God.”

“Song of Farewell” – Ernest Sands.  The refrain is:  “May the choirs of angels come to greet you.  May they speed you to paradise.  May the Lord enfold you, in his mercy.  May you find eternal life.”

“May the Angels Be Your Guide” – MacAller & McGrath.  “May the angels be your guide, may they lead you into paradise, and take you home to the new Jerusalem.”

“Celtic Song of Farewell” – Irish Melody, adapted Steve Schaubel.  “May choir of angels lead you into paradise, and may the martyrs come to welcome you, to bring you hope into the holy city, so you may dwell in new Jerusalem.  May holy angels be there at your welcoming, with all the saints who go before you there, that you may know the peace and joy of paradise; that you may enter into everlasting rest.



(Please select one song for leaving)


Holy God We Praise Thy Name” – Traditional hymn.  “Holy God we praise thy name.  Lord of all we bow before thee.”  W 614

How Great Thou Art” - This is a beautiful and majestic, traditional hymn. The refrain is: “Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee; How great thou art, how great thou art! Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee; How great thou art, how great thou art!” W 578

I Am the Bread of Life” – See above

 On Eagle’s Wings” – See above

Precious Lord, Take My Hand” - Written in 3/4 time. This hymn has a southern gospel feeling. It was written and arranged by Thomas A. Dorsey. The first verse is: “Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on, let me stand; I am tired, I am weak, I am worn. Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light; Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.” W 980

Sing with All the Saints in Glory”– See above

The Strife Is O’er” – Traditional hymn.  “The strife is o’er the battle done; Nw is the Victor’s triumph won; Now be the song of praise begun; Alleluia.  W 511

We Walk by Faith”- Based on John 20: 24-29. “We walk by faith, and not by sight; no gracious words we hear of him who spoke as none e’er spoke, but we believe him near.” W 674



The form below can be used to organize your selections and can be sent to Lorraine Neill, Director of Music.
SelectionFile type iconFile nameDescriptionSizeRevisionTimeUser
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  86k v. 1 Mar 19, 2014, 11:52 AM Lorraine Neill
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  24k v. 1 Jul 30, 2012, 6:16 AM Lorraine Neill

  2336k v. 1 Jul 1, 2011, 11:41 AM Lorraine Neill