All Souls Day at the start of November gets us off to a month during which many christians, and many parishes, remember and pray for their deceased family members and friends. The revised Liturgy for Funerals in the Catholic Church prompted much composing and some can be presented here. The process of creating and amassing new repertoire can be complex and uneven, but, as we look back over the past 50 years of the vernacular in our liturgy, we should find much that encourages us while we keep looking for good things, taking care not to let the limitations of the good be blighted by the beauty of the best! Here are some of the settings I use and find helpful:

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


Introit: This passage, from the 1st Letter to the Thessalonians 4:14, expresses the faith of the early church in the middle of the 1st century – it seems so appropriate for those who can be discouraged when faced with the death of those they love. The plainsong Introit setting ‘Requiem aeternam’ is beautiful too, but some of its power must be weakened for those who do not understand Latin:

Just as Jesus died and rose, so those who sleep in him will be restored by God.
As in Adam all have die, so all will live in Christ, will live in Christ.
Glory to the Father . . . . .


Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine. Et lux luceat eis


How Blest

How blest are those who have died in the Lord.
Let them rest from their labours, let them rest
for their good works go with them,
for their good works go with them.
Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine on them.
May they rest in peace.
May they rest in peace.


I know that my Redeemer lives;
on the last day I shall rise again:
And in my flesh I shall see God, the living God.

I myself shall see him face to face,
and my eyes shall look upon my saviour.
And in my flesh I shall see God, the living God.

Within my heart this hope I cherish;
that in my flesh I shall see God.
And in my flesh I shall see God, the living God.