41 Best Catholic Funeral Songs & Hymns

Contents

“All Things Bright and Beautiful” by Bill Staines

Song year: 2000

Another uplifting song for funerals is “All Things Bright And Beautiful.”

It can be hard to find reminders of joy and hope in the wider world when you are struggling with loss. This song reminds us that those things never go away.

They always re-emerge after the winter to give us new hope.

“Blute Nur” by Hana Blažiková

Song year: 2015

Bach had a composition or anthem for every occasion. This aria’s title means roughly “bleeding hearts,” and it shows.

It’s an aria that sounds like a heart breaking. Sad without being weepy, it’s one of music’s most perfect expressions of grief ever written.

“Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” by The Netherlands Bach Society

Song year: 2014

Here’s more Bach. This piece is calmer and less raw. But its cry to Christ for help is equally suitable for a funeral.

After all, death brings seismic change into our lives. Nothing is more natural than reaching out for help from someone you trust.

“Hear My Prayer O God” by Bernarda Fink

Song year: 2012

This Catholic song for funerals comes from Dvorak’s Biblical Songs cycle. It’s spiker than “Going Home” and expresses how discombobulating grief feels.

But then the psalm text blossoms into a tender reflection on what it means to be at peace. For a song that walks with you through the nuances of loss, look no further.

“How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings Fair” by St John’s College Choir

Song year: 1997

One of the best-known pieces from Brahms’ German Requiem, this anthem beautifully envisages the hereafter.

The gently reflective melody reminds people that Heaven is the place souls long for. In death, that’s where we find them.

It can be hard to find that comforting. But the lyrics also talk about the peace souls experience once there, and that’s all we want for the people we love and lose.

“O For A Closer Walk With God” by The Cambridge Singers

Song year: 1992

This song isn’t explicitly about death, but it could be. In many ways, Catholic doctrine sees death as another, a closer walk with God.

A gorgeous middle section also serves as a reminder that because God is always with the grieving, so are the dead that precedes us.

“Mine Eyes For Beauty Pine” by The Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir

Song year: 2014

Howells sometimes gets lost in lists of great religious composers. Here his intricate composition offers a moving meditation on the soul’s search for Heaven and what it finds there.

Crucially, it reminds listeners that love is everywhere, even in death. It’s by holding onto that love that we keep our loved ones’ memories alive and fresh.

“Never Weather-Beaten Sail” by Stile Antico

Song year: 2019

Campion’s “Never Weather-Beaten Sail” is a touching image of the soul’s journey to the afterlife.

At a time when many people want answers, this Catholic song for funerals can be soothing.

Even if you can’t take the metaphor of the battered boat literally, it’s a beautiful way to remember your loved ones.

“Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer” by The Westminster Abbey Choir

Song year: 2010

The beauty of this Welsh hymn is that its lyrics apply to the living and the dead. We all need guidance from time to time, and never more so than after a heartbreaking moment.

They promise safe passage for lost loved ones but also strength and comfort to those left behind.

“A Prayer of St Richard of Chichester” by the Litchfield Cathedral Chorus

Song year: 1998

“A Prayer of St Richard of Chichester ” is another excellent song for funerals. Sung by the Litchfield Cathedral Chorus, it encourages listeners to draw strength from the people around them while grieving.

Only by doing that does it become possible to achieve St Richard’s prayer to know and love God and, through him, his people, better. In doing so, it can help come to terms with the loss.

“Easter” by the Polymnia Choral Society

Song year: 2013

Finally, it may seem odd to end with Ralph Vaughan Williams' anthem to Easter.

But Easter brings the promise of resurrection and life after death. That gives this anthem a hopeful note.

It’s a thoughtful, uplifting meditation on the enduring power of love and its ability to endure all things. There’s no more moving or powerful message to take away from a funeral.

Top Catholic Songs For Funerals, Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this list of the best Catholic funeral songs and hymns helps make funeral planning a bit more bearable.

Death can be painful, especially for the people left behind. But music has tremendous power to capture feelings, and it’s an excellent way to honor your loved ones.

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