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Funeral Music

posted Apr 23, 2013, 5:37 PM by Steven Vaughan
I’m back home in Illinois this weekend with my family to play a Memorial Mass for my Aunt Josephine, who recently passed away. She was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer last fall, but graciously accepted this challenge, seizing the opportunity to bring her family closer together. And now she has, in the words of my cousin, “begun her next and greatest adventure.”

Music has a powerful influence on the tone of the liturgy. It brings back memories and evokes emotions. In times of grief, it induces tears and smiles, and then surrounds us with a comforting embrace. It's been sung at funerals for centuries, way before Christianity. And it will live on in the hearts and memories of those in attendance, so it’s important to plan appropriate music for a meaningful service.

I’ve created a guide to selecting funeral music on our website. Please share it the next time you know someone in this position. Aunt Josephine made a couple requests, but if your loved one has left no specific wishes, pick music that reflects their personality and tastes. The funeral liturgy is designed to evolve from sadness and grief to the joy of resurrection. So make choices that will inspire guests to mourn your loved one's passing, give thanks for their life here on earth, and celebrate their eternal life.

The web page has samples you can listen to, and the selections appear as they should be printed, if you are printing a program. And if you know someone who is, I’m happy to proofread it in advance, to ensure their lasting memento is appropriately accurate.