The death of a loved one is a particularly traumatic time for the family and friends of the deceased. The Catholic Church recognizes the stresses involved in organizing a funeral and offers the option to adapt some of the standard Prayers of the Faithful in order to better reflect and celebrate the life of the deceased. You will be able to choose from a vast selection of standard Prayers of the Faithful when you arrange the Funeral Mass with your Parish Priest.
Prayers of the Faithful at a Funeral Service
The priest directs the Prayers of the Faithful, a minimum of four prayers, requiring universal response from the gathered assembly.The Prayers of the Faithful are standard general intercessions or bidding prayers, calling for spoken responses from the assembly gathered at a Catholic Mass and reflective of the concerns of the whole gathering and the universal Catholic Church. Prior to the reading of the bidding prayers, the priest will invite the congregation to join together in praying for the deceased. A member of the congregation will then read out the bidding prayers, pausing at the end of each prayer to allow time for silent prayer.
Sample Text for a Simple Prayer of the Faithful
One of the basic bidding prayers for any deceased person is "We pray for [Name] who has died: - may God now welcome him/her into his heavenly home of eternal happiness and peace." The gathered assembly then responds with a standard response such as "Lord, hear us." This is a standard Prayer for the Faithful which a reader will announce slowly, allowing the congregation a few seconds to compose their own silent prayer for the deceased prior to making the universal response.
Sample of a Prayer of the Faithful for Family and Friends
A typical funeral intercessional prayer asking for comfort in grief for the family and friends of the deceased might be "The family and friends of [Name] who seek consolation and comfort. Heal their pain and dispel the darkness and doubt that comes from grief." A standard response could be "Lord, hear us" or "We pray to the Lord." The standard response for the Prayers of the Faithful remains the same throughout the series of prayers that are read at any Mass.
Sample Prayer of the Faithful for Forgiveness
It is a normal procedure to ask for forgiveness for the deceased's sins at funerals and one typical intercessional prayer for this is "God is full of mercy and compassion. May he forgive [Name] any sins he/she committed through human frailty." A standard response to this prayer would be: "Lord, hear us."
Closing Bidding Prayers' Statement
Following the reading of the final Prayer of the Faithful, the priest will conclude the prayers by summarizing the intentions of the congregation in a short and meaningful manner and commending the deceased to the mercy of God. The bidding prayers are the opportunity for the whole congregation, or community of the faithful, to actively participate in praying for the deceased.
Selecting Prayers for the Faithful
When you discuss the order of service for the Funeral Mass with your Parish Priest, he will guide you in choosing the best selection of Prayers for the Faithful to include. You may then have the opportunity to add your own words to the bidding prayers to make them more individual and reflective of your own wishes for the deceased.
- Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, Diocesan Liturgy Commission: Guidelines for the Prayer of the Faithful
- Diocese of Galway: The Loss of a Loved One
- Liturgy Office England & Wales: The Prayer of the Faithful
- St John the Apostle Catholic Church: Funeral Planner
- Navan Parish, Bereavement: Prayers of the Faithful (for Funeral Mass)
- The Vatican: Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Celebration of Funerals
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