When choosing hymns for a funeral service it's often difficult to know where to start, as there are so many hymns to choose from. We've sung at many Catholic funeral masses and funeral services, so here's some help for choosing funeral hymns.
Our top 5 popular hymns are:
Do not be afraid
Written by Gerald Markland, based on four verses from the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 43.
This has 5 short verses and refrain, with an interesting melody but not a big vocal range. Very easy to follow even if you don't know it. The sentiment is very apt for a funeral: 'Don't be afraid, as God will always be with you'
I, the Lord of sea and sky (Here I am Lord)
Written by Dan Schutte, based on Isaiah 6:8 and 1 Samuel 3.
This hymn has 3 verses and refrain. The international Catholic magazine listed the hymn as a readers' favourite, and it's certainly a popular choice for our clients. It has a joyous feel and would be suitable as an entrance or exit funeral hymn.
Make me a channel of your peace
Written by Sebastian Temple, based on the Prayer of St Francis.
This popular hymn is also used as the anthem for Royal British Legion. It has 3 verses and a chorus. There are two different versions:
Where the chorus "O master grant…" is sung after each of the first 2 verses. When sung only once, after the second verse (this is how the music was originally composed). The chorus is so nice to sing that repeating it with both verses is a pleasure!
Now thank we all our God
This is a traditional hymn and is a translation from a German melody "Nun danket alle Gott", written in 1647.
I remember singing this at school often. It has 3 verses with uplifting words of thanksgiving to God.
On eagle's wings
Written by Michael Joncas, based on Psalm 90 and 91.
This modern hymn has 4 verses and a refrain. Just to make it more interesting, each verse is slightly difference musically. Verse 1 straight forward, verse 2 slightly syncopated, verse 3 starts with triplets and verse 4 has triplets and syncopation. Don't let this put you off; it's a wonderful hymn that people enjoy singing.
It also makes a great solo song at the period of reflection in the funeral service. The words bring hope and comfort: "He (God) will raise you up, on eagle's wings……and hold you in the palm of His hand"
Of all 5 hymns this is a particular favourite of mine. Should you want it sung at a funeral, give us a call. Here's a short clip.
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