Choosing hymns for a funeral service can seem daunting with so much choice. We’ve been keeping our records watching the popularity of hymns over the years. So for 2021, our top Catholic funeral hymn chart saw the return of a few favourites along with some new entries. Read on to see if your favourite funeral hymn made the list.

Our top 10 Catholic funeral hymns for 2022 were:

10 – Abide with me (7 in 2021)

A bit up and down for this hymn over the past few years. 5th in 2018, 2nd in 2019 and 2020 then dropped to 7th last year and now down 3 more places in 2022. However, it still has a particular resonance for a funeral service.

Written by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte. It is most often sung to the tune “Eventide” by William Henry Monk

So popular this hymn has endured through the years as one of peace and prayer offering comfort and hope in the face of change.

Often sung at the beginning of the funeral mass.

9 – This is my body (6 in 2021)

Slipped a position or two for this hymn to last year, and rightly deserved too.

Witten by Jimmy Owen.

The tune is soft and lilting, sung at either the offertory or communion.

8 – Soul of my saviour (back in from 9 in 2019)

Sung to the tune of Anima Christi

This lovely classic Catholic hymn has been in use from hundreds of years. the text (in Latin) dates back to the 14th century.

It is most often sung during the offertory or communion.

7 – I watch the sunrise lighting the sky (1 in 2021)

Written by John Glynn

A demotion this year from the top spot to tenth place. However, of all 10 hymns this is a particular favourite of mine. Should you want it sung at a funeral, give us a call.

This folk-style hymn is about God’s presence throughout life’s seasons.

A very gentle tune and the words have great meaning for a funeral service. This hymn works as a solo as well and is perfect to be sung at communion.

6 – Be still for the presence of the Lord (new in for 2022)

Composed by David J Evans in 1986

David had written a number of contemporary worship songs, but this is by far his most popular. It is thought one of his inspirations for the hymn was Exodus 3:16- The story of Moses and the burning bush.

The hymn has been sung on ‘Songs of Praise’ on the BBC and in 2019 was voted 9th in the UK’s 10 most popular hymns of that year.

5 – Amazing grace (2 in 2021)

A drop in rankings this year from 2nd, but nevertheless Amazing Grace remains special to many.

Sung to the tune New Britain

Words written in 1772 by the English poet and Anglican clergyman John Newton (1725–1807)

Amazing Grace is one of the most beloved hymns of the last two centuries and is estimated to be performed 10 million times annually and has appeared on over 11,000 albums. It really is in people’s psyche, so no wonder it is a popular request at funerals.

Newton was brought up as a Catholic but became an Anglican clergyman. His mother was a devout Independent unaffiliated with the Anglican Church. Does this explain the hymn’s popularity with Catholics? Or is it more to do with familiarity?

We are most often asked to sing this hymn for many catholic cremation services.

This year I was also asked to sing the modern adaption of this hymn by Chris Tomlin. I rather like this version too.

4 – Make me a channel of your peace (4 in 2021)

This wonderful hymn has a place for many in the funeral service, it steadily keeps its ranking year on year. Probably due to its perfectly apt words and terrific tune. I love it, and for this year I’ve sung a few times as a solo with a wonderful orchestral accompaniment. Such a joy!

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:

1 where the chorus “O master grant…” is sung after each of the first 2 verses

2 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!

3 – I, the Lord of sea and sky (Here I am Lord) (9 in 2021)

Back up the charts this year. This hymns remains popular, but does move around a bit (3,9,8,3)

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.

2 – The Lord’s my shepherd (5 in 2021)

The ever popular Crimond, and as the final verse says, this is the wish families have for the deceased. “And in God’s house, forevermore, my dwelling place shall be”.

Sung to the tune Crimond

This most popular funeral hymn is based on the words of Psalm 23. The hymn is very well known and has been sung by many at school, and has been sung at many notable Royal occasions.

During the mass this is often sung in place of reading the Psalm.

1 – How great Thou art (3 in 2021)

The steady climb for ‘How great Thou art’ see’s this hymn top the leader board for 2022.

Sung to a Swedish traditional melody and a poem written by Carl Boberg (1859–1940) in Mönsterås, Sweden, in 1885.

This hymn has had a worldwide birth, so to speak. Swedish tune, translated into German. Then translated from German to Russian, then from Russian to English.

At one stage this hymn was voted as the UK’s favourite hymn by “Songs of Praise”. Many popular singers have made recordings. Elvis Presley’s version is dear to many.

This hymn has a great climax and is often sung as the last hymn for a Catholic requiem mass

We’ll be posting more of the top songs and hymns we’ve sung during 2022 over the next few weeks.

For no here’s our playlist of the Top 10 Catholic hymns, if you want a jog your memory on the tunes.

Click the play button, and the player will load.

To see all the videos in the list click the ‘hamburger’ in the top right