The readings at a Catholic funeral make up an important part of the ceremony. Often taking text from both the Old and New Testament they provide comfort to those mourning and remind them that the deceased will find peace.

That’s why choosing a reading can be difficult. You want to find words that do justice to the deceased or one that meant something to them and their family.

That can be even harder if you aren’t Catholic yourself. Not being familiar with the faith can make deciding on what passage of scripture to use much more difficult.

So it’s probably best to talk with the family as part of the funeral preparations and make a decision together. But you can bring your own suggestions if you have a personal preference.

The funeral readings below are split into ones from the Old Testament, New Testament and specific readings for a mother, father and child.

Table of Contents
From the Old Testament
From the New Testament
For a Mother
For a Father
For a Child

Catholic Funeral Readings

Often in Catholic funerals a reading is given from the Old Testament first followed by one from the New Testament. You may also find there are two readings from the New Testament – firstly from the epistles and then from the gospels.

from the Old Testament

These funeral readings are taken from the Old Testament.

Wisdom 4:7-15

The righteous, though they die early, will be at rest. For old age is not honoured for length of time,
or measured by number of years;
but understanding is grey hair for anyone,
and a blameless life is ripe old age.
There were some who pleased God and were loved by him,
and while living among sinners were taken up.
They were caught up so that evil might not change their understanding or guile deceive their souls.
For the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good,
and roving desire perverts the innocent mind.
Being perfected in a short time,
they fulfilled long years;
for their souls were pleasing to the Lord,
therefore he took them quickly from the midst of wickedness.
Yet the peoples saw and did not understand,
or take such a thing to heart,
that God’s grace and mercy are with his elect,
and that he watches over his holy ones.

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Lamentations 3:17-26

My soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, “Gone is my glory,
and all that I had hoped for from the Lord.”
The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall!
My soul continually thinks of it
and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.

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Maccabees 12:43-46

Judas, the ruler of Israel,
took up a collection among all his soldiers,
amounting to two thousand silver drachmas,
which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice.
In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way,
inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view;
for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again,
it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death.
But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought.
Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.

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Isaiah 25:6-8

On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.

The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces;
 he will remove his people’s disgrace
 from all the earth.

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Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

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Daniel 12:1-3

At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

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Wisdom 3:1-9

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
 They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
 But they are in peace.
For in the eyes of men, indeed they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. 
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
 Those who trust in God shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:

Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and God’s care is with the elect.

********************************

Job 19:1, 23-27

Oh, would that my words were written down!
Would that they were inscribed in a record:

That with an iron chisel and with lead
they were cut in the rock forever!

But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives,
and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust;

Whom I myself shall see:
my own eyes, not another’s, shall behold him,

And from my flesh I shall see God;
my inmost being is consumed with longing.

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Micah 7:7-9

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,

I wait for God my Savior;

my God will hear me.
Israel Will Rise
Do not gloat over me, my enemy!

Though I have fallen, I will rise.

Though I sit in darkness,

the Lord will be my light.
Because I have sinned against him,

I will bear the Lord’s wrath,

until he pleads my case
and upholds my cause.

He will bring me out into the light;

I will see his righteousness.

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Isaiah 25:6a, 7-9

On this mountain the Lord of hosts

will provide for all peoples

On this mountain he will destroy

the veil that veils all peoples,

The web that is woven over all nations;

he will destroy death forever.

The Lord God will wipe away

the tears from all faces;

The reproach of his people he will remove
from the whole earth; for the Lord has spoken.

On that day it will be said:

”Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!

This is the Lord for whom we looked;

let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”

isaiah 25:6-8 catholic funeral reading

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from the New Testament

Romans 5:5-11

Hope does not disappoint us,
because God’s love has been poured into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
For while we were still weak,
at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person
— though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us
in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
Much more surely then,
now that we have been justified by his blood,
will we be saved through him from the wrath of God.
For if while we were enemies,
we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son,
much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that,
we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have now received reconciliation.

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Corinthians 15:51-55

Listen, I will tell you a mystery!
We will not all die, but we will all be changed,
in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound,
and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability,
and this mortal body must put on immortality.
When this perishable body puts on imperishability,
and this mortal body puts on immortality,
then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God,
who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Timothy 2:8-13

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David — that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship,
even to the point of being chained like a criminal.
But the word of God is not chained.
Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect,
so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
The saying is sure:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he will also deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself.

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Revelation 20:11-21:1

I saw a great white throne and the one who sat on it;
the earth and the heaven fled from his presence,
and no place was found for them.
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.
Also another book was opened, the book of life.
And the dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it,
Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them,
and all were judged according to what they had done.
Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.
This is the second death, the lake of fire;
and anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life
was thrown into the lake of fire.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth;
for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,
and the sea was no more.
The Word of the Lord.

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Corinthians 15:20-28

Brothers and Sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,

the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

For since death came through a man,

the resurrection of the dead
came also through a man.

For just as in Adam all die,
 so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,

but each one in proper order:
 Christ the first fruits;
 then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
 then comes the end,
when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, 
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
 and every authority and power.


For he must reign until he has put all his enemies
 under his feet.
 The last enemy to be destroyed is death,
 for “he subjected everything under his feet. ”
But when it says that everything has been subjected,
 it is clear that it excludes
the one who subjected everything to him.
 
When everything is subjected to him,
 then the Son himself will also be subjected
 to the one who subjected everything to him,
so that God may be all in all.

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1 John 3:1-2

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!
The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.
But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

John 3:2-1 catholic funeral reading

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Acts 10:34-43

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached — how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen- by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

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2 Timothy 4:1-8

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

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Romans 14:7-12

None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.  For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.  For this is why Christ died and came to life, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.  Why then do you judge your brother or sister?  Or you, why do you look down on your brother or sister?  For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written:  “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bend before me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.” So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.

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Romans 6:3-9

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.

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Corinthians 15:20-28

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being.  For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order:  Christ the first fruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power.  For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death, for “he subjected everything under his feet.”  But when it says that everything has been subjected, it is clear that it excludes the one who subjected everything to him.  When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God my be all in all.

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Catholic Funeral Readings for Mother

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

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Psalms 27:1-4

The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord.

psalms 27:1-4 funeral reading

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John 14:1-4

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

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Psalms 23:1-4

The Lord is my shepherd,
I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths

for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

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Psalms 103:8-13

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

psalms 103:8-13 funeral reading

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Catholic Funeral Readings for Father

Isaiah 57:1

The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.

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Romans 5:17-21

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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1 John 3:1

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

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2 Corinthians 5:1

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

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Romans 8:35-39

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Catholic Funeral Readings for a Child

Lamentations 3:22-26

The favors of the Lord are not exhausted,
his mercies are not spent;
They are renewed each morning,
so great is his faithfulness.
My portion is the LORD, says my soul;
therefore will I hope in him.
Good is the LORD to one who waits for him,
to the soul that seeks him;
It is good to hope in silence
for the saving help of the Lord.

lamentations 3:22-26 catholic funeral readings

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John 19:25-30

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
After this, aware that everything was now finished,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
Jesus said, “I thirst.”
There was a vessel filled with common wine.
So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop
and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,
“It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

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Matthew 18:1-4

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

matthew 18:1-4 funeral reading for catholics

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1 Samuel 1:27-28

“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.

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We hope these Catholic funeral readings have helped you to find the perfect reading for a loved ones funeral.

catholic funeral readings

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