Organising a Catholic funeral can be daunting for some, but when the funeral is during Lent there may be a few surprises regarding the music.

The choice can seem somewhat limited or at some churches non-existent. The ‘rules’ regarding music do vary from church to church, as each Parish Priest has the last say on what happens in ‘his’ church.

The funeral is in Lent, but I want music during the Mass

It’s true that some priests decide that there should be no music at all in the church during the lead up to Easter, known as Lent. If that is the case, then his word is final, but never fear we do have a solution in that eventuality. (See further down this blog)

The Catholic Faith office has this guidance about music during Lent:

  • all music needs to have a Christian message

  • each parish priest has the option to be selective or have no music at all

So, if the Parish Priest is happy for music during Lent then here are a few suggestions.  Just remember, Lent is a more period of penance and sacrifice before Easter, so the usual rule is that music should not be overly joyous and not mention the ‘Risen Lord’ as that comes on Easter Sunday.

Top 20 Catholic funeral songs for Lent

  • Abide with me
  • All things bright and beautiful – a version by John Rutter
  • As I kneel before you
  • Ave Maria – by Schubert, Gounod & Caccini
  • Be still my soul – a vocal version of Sibelius’ ‘Finlandia’
  • Do not be afraid
  • Go, silent friend – sung to the tune of Danny Boy
  • Here I am, Lord
  • I watch the sunrise lighting the sky
  • Laudate Dominum
  • Make me a channel of your peace
  • May the road rise to meet you – The Irish Blessing
  • My God loves me – sung to the tune of Plaisir d’amore
  • On eagle’s Wings
  • Panis Angelicus – by Cesár Franck
  • Piè Jesu – by Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Sancte Deus – vocal version of Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’
  • The Lord bless you and keep you – by John Rutter
  • The Lord is my shepherd – by Howard Goodall
  • This is my body

No music in church, what can I do?

We have a solution to this problem. To have a singer at the graveside. We’ve sung at many gravesides over the last few years, and families have said how the singing lifted their spirits at a trying time.

Of course singing by the grave gives families the option of non-religious songs that can’t be sung in the Catholic church, such as: ‘Unforgettable’, ‘The Fields of Athenry’, ‘You raise me up’ etc.

We have a discreet portable backing track system which means we have professional accompaniment and can sing at the graveside without any difficulty (even under an umbrella if necessary).

Having you sing at the graveside as well was brilliant, it really added to a personal send-off. My uncle would have been chuffed to have you singing for him.

PW - uncle’s funeral, Durrington Cemetery, Worthing, West Sussex

Toni, thank you it was a wonderful send of for mum. Your voice resounding throughout the cemetery. A wonderful gift. Thanks once again.

KB - mother’s burial, Hither Green Cemetery, London

Church and graveside no problem

We have also sung at both church, then popped in the car to drive on to the cemetery to sing a popular song or family favourite by the graveside, covering both bases, so to speak.

We’re always happy to discuss how we can help celebrate a loved one’s life and make the funeral service a personal event. Give us a call to see how we could help.

You made mum’s farewell an occasion which gave everyone at St James’, and Wessex Vale, something very beautiful and positive to reflect upon; a wonderful memory for each of us, which my mother would have really appreciated and enjoyed.

DS - mother’s funeral, St James, West End & Wessex Vale Crematorium