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A broad collection of prayerful and secular readings, poems, quotations & music used at funerals and memorial services - with links to online support. To comfort & inspire in times of mourning, grieving, thanksgiving and celebration of a loved and cherished life, now enfolded in the arms of eternal love.

'The dead have only gone as far as God, and God is not far away' ~ St. John Henry Newman

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just scroll down through as content is in no particular order - skip past any content not to your own taste or beliefs as something further down the page may make a helpful connection.

quick links: Hymns+Music || Links || Holy Souls || Contribute + Feedback + Copyright || Remembrance of our war dead

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." (John 11:25-26) <:))))<>< Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:5 <:))))<>< "Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength!" (Nehemiah 8:10) <:))))<>< "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" (Matthew 25:21 - NIV) <:))))<>< "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." Revelation 7:17b <:))))<>< "May all those who have died come to the fullness of the resurrection. May those who mourn be comforted."

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Prayer After Death of Loved One

Saints of God, come to his/her aid! Come to meet him/her, angels of the Lord!
R. Receive his/her soul and present him/her to God the Most High.

May Christ, Who called you, take you to Himself; may angels lead you to Abraham's side.
R. Receive his/her soul and present him/her to God the Most High.

Give him/her eternal rest, O Lord, and may Your light shine upon him/her forever.
R. Receive his/her soul and present him/her to God the Most High.

Let us pray: We commend our brother (sister) N. to you, Lord.
Now that he/she has passed from this life, may he/she live on in Your presence.

In Your mercy and love, forgive whatever sins he/she may have committed through human weakness. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

see also "The Song of Farewell" below

Prayers for the Deceased for Forgiveness and Peace and for Mourners

Lord Jesus, our Redeemer, You willingly gave Yourself up to death so that all people might be saved and pass from death into a new life. Listen to our prayers; look with love on Your people who mourn and pray for their dead brother/sister.
Lord Jesus, You alone are holy and compassionate; forgive our brother/sister his/her sins.
By dying You opened the gates of life for those who believe in You; do not let Your brother/sister be parted from You, but by Your glorious power give him/her light, joy, and peace in heaven where You live for ever and ever. Amen.

My brother (sister) in faith, I entrust you to God Who created you. 
May you return to the One Who formed you from the dust of this earth. 
May Mary, the angels, and all the saints come to meet you as you go forth from this life. 
May Christ Who was crucified for you bring you freedom and peace. 
May Christ, the Son of God, Who died for you take you into His kingdom. 
May Christ, the Good Shepherd, give you a place within His flock. 
May He forgive your sins and keep you among His people.
May you see your Redeemer face to face and enjoy the sight of God forever.

also: "Go forth, Christian soul, from this world in the name of the God the almighty Father, who created you, in the name of Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God who suffered for you, in the name of the Holy Spirit, who was poured out upon you, go forth, faithful Christian. May you live in peace this day, may your home be with God, with Mary, the virgin Mother of God, with Joseph, and all the angels and saints. Amen"

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DE PROFUNDIS Psalm 129 (130) Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.

Lord, hear my voice! O let your ears be attentive To the voice of my pleading. If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt, Lord, who would survive? But with you is found forgiveness: For this we revere you. My soul is waiting for the Lord, I count on his word. My soul is longing for the Lord More than watchman for daybreak. Let the watchman count on daybreak And Israel on the Lord. Because with the Lord there is mercy And fullness of redemption. Israel indeed he will redeem From all its iniquity.

Commentary: The psalmist was praying at a time of great sadness and despair for himself and the Hebrew people. He could see no way in which the sadness would end. That is why he calls to God 'out of the depths'. He was also deeply conscious of his own sins and the people's sins, but knew he could rely on God's promise of loving forgiveness. He hoped in God with the confidence of someone who at the darkest hour of the night looks forward to the light of dawn. This psalm has been one the Church's favourite prayers for the dead. It applies to the whole Church. It applies to the dead person, who returns to God as a sinner, trusting in God's love and compassion, looking beyond dying to the morning light of eternal life with God. It applies also to us who are left in the depths of sorrow, repenting of our own sins too and confidently looking forward to sharing the same everlasting light of heaven. I hope this will be of some help to you. God bless! Monsignor Richard Rutt [RIP August 2011] (retired priest of Falmouth parish - contributed by him.)

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A reading from the book of Wisdom 4: 4-15 (Jerusalem Bible translation)

The virtuous man, though he die before his time, will find rest. Length of days is not what makes age honourable, nor number of years the true measure of life; understanding, this is man’s grey hairs, untarnished life, this is ripe old age. He has sought to please God, so God has loved him; as he lived among sinners, he has been taken up.

He has been carried off so that evil may not warp his understanding or treachery seduce his soul; for the fascination of evil throws the good into the shade, and the whirlwind of desire corrupts a simple heart.

Coming to perfection in so short a while, he achieved long life; his soul being pleasing to the Lord, who has taken him quickly
from the wickedness around him.

Yet people look on, uncomprehending; it does not enter their heads that grace and mercy await the chosen of the Lord,
and protection, God’s holy ones. [This is the Word of the Lord.]

Other readings suggestions: Wisdom 3:1-6,9 | 1 Peter 1:3-9 | John 14:1-6 ~ link#2 | Romans 14: 7-12 | Apocalypse/Revelations 14: 13 | Lectionary Readings for funerals | 1Thessalonians 4:13-18 listen listen - click here and select from list

A Gospel acclamation: 'Happy are those who have died in the Lord; Let them rest from their labours for their good deeds go before them'

An alternative Hymn to Psalm 23:  "The king of love my Shepherd is" YouTube version

some more 'prayerful' offerings and suggestions can be found via the external links below

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'Death is nothing at all' ~ Canon Henry Scott Holland of St. Paul's Cathedral | info

Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. 

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is unbroken continuity.
[There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident?]
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner. 

All is well. 
[editor's note: Some find the opening words unhelpful, death 'is something' huge for many, however as the remainder this writing is encouraging, you could vary or omit the opening lines] NB. see also "To Those I Love and Those Who Love Me" below

What is dying? ~ 'A Parable of Immortality' written by Henry van Dyke (1852 - 1933), often misattributed to, because it was 'used' by Bishop Brent. Sometimes misattributed to Victor Hugo. Full version is below with two often used variations. [citation updated 09.2012 with thanks to Steve for correction]

[full version]

I am standing upon that foreshore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white clouds just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says, "There! She's gone!"
"Gone where?"
"Gone from my sight, that's all". She is just as large in mast and spar and hull as ever she was when she left my side; just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of her destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at that moment when someone at my side says, "There! She's gone!" there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!" And that is dying.

[Variation #1]

A ship sails and I stand watching till she fades on the horizon, and someone says, "she is gone".
Gone where?
Gone from my sight, that is all; she is just as large as when I saw her...
The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her, and just at the moment when someone says "she is gone", there are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up a glad shout, "there she comes!"...
and that is dying.

[Variation #2]

I am standing on the sea shore. 
A ship sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean. 
She is an object of beauty and I stand watching her till at last she fades on the horizon, and someone at my side says, "she is gone."
Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all: she is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination. 
The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not her: and just at the moment when someone at my side says, "she is gone," there are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up a glad shout, "there she comes" - and that is dying.

Related link: "She is gone" ~ a poem by David Harkins alternate link

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
often erroneously referred to as "An Indian Prayer" by Mary Frye (1932) + Wilbur Skeels (lyrics ©1996) see wikipedia article

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on snow;
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle Autumn's rain.

When you waken in the morning's hush;
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight;
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.

Version by Wilbur Skeels can't be shown here for copyright reasons.


In those quiet moments in the still of the night
Remember to rejoice and celebrate life
Do not think of me gone and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sunlight on the grain
I am the gentle autumn's rain
When you awaken in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in flight
I am the soft stars that shine
You will hear my gentle voice
and remember to rejoice
Never give up your fight
and remember always
to Celebrate Life.... ~ Anon

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I'm Free

Don't grieve for me for now I'm free,
I'm following the path God laid for me.
I took his hand when I heard him call,
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work or play. 
Tasks left undone will stay that way,
I found that peace at close of day.
If my parting has left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy
A friendship shared, a laugh a kiss,
Ah yes, these things I, too, will miss. >>


But not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life has been full, I've savoured much.
Good friends, good times, a loved ones touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all to brief
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief,
Lift up you hearts and share with me,
God wanted me now,
He set me free. 

© Janice M. Fair-Salters, by kind permission of the author, published in "Voices From Beyond" see two other poems on this page (citation updated 05.2014 with thanks to author)

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Don't cry for me ,
now that I am free.

Just look around anywhere,
and that is where I'll be.

For I am the daylight ,
when the sun starts to rise.

I'm the bright rainbow,
you see with your eyes.

I'm the tiny raindrops,
that sprinkle in the wind.

I'll always be here with you,
for there really is no end.

I'm the dew that's on the ground,
and the quietness all around.

Yes, I am so very happy,
with this new life I have found.

I'm the peaceful summer breeze,
that flows softly through the trees.

I'm the bluebird in the sky,
that sings with such ease.

Yes, I am so very happy,
so happy to be free.

Understand my family and friends
and don't you cry for me.
~  Sheila Pearce

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'Farewell My Friends'
By Gitanjali Ghei (1961- 1977)

It was beautiful as long as it lasted, the journey of my life, I have no regrets whatsoever, save the pain I'll leave behind.
Those dear hearts who love and care, and the heavy with sleep ever moist eyes, the smile in spite of a lump in the throat and the strings pulling at the heart and soul,
The strong arms that held me up when my own strength let me down, each morsel that I was fed with was full of love.
At every turning of my life I came across good friends, friends who stood by me, even when the time raced me by.
Farewell farewell my friends, I smile and bid you goodbye.
No, shed no tears, for I need them not, all I need is your smile, If you feel sad, do think of me, for that's what I'll like, when you live in the hearts of those you love, remember then...... you never die. from 'Poems of Gitanjali'

Included here by kind permission of her family. The author was a girl who died of cancer at the age of 16, and wrote some of the most beautiful poems on death, compassion and faith in God. more info ||  'Poems of Gitanjali' Oriel Press (Routledge & Kegan Paul) ISBN 0 85362

To Those I Love And Those Who Love Me

When I am gone, release me, let me go.
I have so many things to see and do.
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears.
Be happy that we had so many years.
I gave you my love, you can only guess
How much you gave to me in happiness.

I thank you for the love you have shown.
But now it’s time I travelled alone.
So grieve a while for me, if grieve you must.
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It’s only for a while that we must part,
So bless the memories within your heart.
I won’t be far away. For life goes on.

So if you need me call and I will come.
Though you can’t see or touch me, I’ll be there.
And if you listen with your heart you’ll hear,
All of my love around you soft and clear.
And then when you must come this way alone,
I’ll greet you with a smile and welcome you home. ~ (Anon)

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"Crossing The Bar"
by Alfred Lord Tennyson. info

Sunset and evening star,
     And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
     When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
     Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
     Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
     And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
     When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
     The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
     When I have crossed the bar.

By John Masefield (1878-1967) (English Poet Laureate, 1930-1967.)

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

Read at funeral of an old sailing friend, 'M.T.' - R.I.P. 6th January 2012 

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Miss Me But Let Me Go

When I come to the end of the road
and the sun has set on me,
I want no rites in a gloom filled room,
Why cry for a soul set free.

Miss me a little--but not too long,
and not with your head bowed low,
Remember the love that we once shared,
Miss me--but let me go.

For this is a journey that we all must take,
And each must go alone.
It's all a part of the Master's plan,
A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick of heart,
Go to the friends we know.
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds,
Miss me--but let me go.

© Janice M. Fair-Salters, by kind permission of the author, published in "Voices From Beyond" see two other poems on this page (citation updated 05.2014 with thanks to author as previously mis-attributed here to Edgar A. Guest, see his poems and links below)


Remember me when I am gone away.

Remember me when I am gone away.
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand.
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me:  you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had.
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than you should remember and be sad. 

Christina Rossetti

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Don't Cry.

Daddy please don't look so sad,
Momma please don't cry.
Cause I'm in the arms of Jesus,
And He sings me lullabies.

Please try not to question God,
Don't think He is unkind.
Don't think He sent me to you
And then changed his mind.

You see I'm a special child,
I am needed up above.
I'm the special gift you gave Him,
A product of your love.

I'll always be there with you,
So watch the sky at night.
Look for the brightest star
And know that's my halo's brilliant light. >>

You'll see me in the morning frost
That mists your window pane.
That's me in the summer showers,
I'll be dancing in the rain.

When you feel a gentle breeze
From a gentle wind that blows.
Know that it is me
Planting a kiss upon your nose.

When you see a child playing
And your heart feels a tug,
Don't be sad mommy,
That's just me giving your heart a hug.

So daddy don't look so sad
And momma please don't cry.
I'm in the arms of Jesus
And He sings me lullabies! - Anon

see: 'A child of mine' website- Help for parents and families after the death of a child. - 'there to hold your hand through the difficult days ahead with information guidance and support from people who do understand'.

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A Child of Mine (often cited as 'God's Lent Child')

I’ll lend you for a little while, a child of mine, God said
For you to love the while he lives and mourn for when he’s dead.
It may be six or seven years, or forty-two or three
But will you, till I call him back, take care of him for me?
He’ll bring his charms to gladden you and should his stay be brief
You’ll always have his memories as a solace in your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught below I want this child to learn.
I’ve looked this whole world over in my search for teachers true
And from the folk that crowd Life’s lane I have chosen you.
Now will you give him all your love and not think the labour vain,
Nor hate me when I come to take this lent child back again?
I fancy that I heard them say “Dear God, thy will be done.
For all the joys this child will bring the risk of grief we’ll run.
We will shelter him with tenderness, we’ll love him while we may
And for all the happiness we’ve ever known, we’ll ever grateful stay.
But should the angels call him much sooner than we’d planned
We will brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.”

Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959) written in 1930? published 1949 in 'Living The Years', publisher: Chicago, Reilly & Lee Co. [often mis-stated as 'author unknown' - citation updated 08.2008 with thanks to ts for correction] | more poems - Bereaved parent support links links below

Heaven's Rocking Chair
by Ron Tranmer ©

Are there rocking chairs in Heaven
where little babies go?
Do the angels hold you closely
and rock you to and fro?

Do they talk silly baby talk
to get a smile or two,
and sing the sleepy lullabies
I used to sing to you?

My heart is aching for you,
my angel child so dear.
You brought such joy into my life,
the short time you were here.

I know you're in a happy place,
and in God's loving care.
I dream each night I'm rocking you
in Heaven's rocking chair. 

contributed by the author, August 2011 - see below for more

for wider, encouraging, supportive poems contributed in 2012 by their author Ron Tranmer click here

more poems below contributed in 2012 by their author Ron Tranmer and visit

Teardrops And Rainbows
by Ron Tranmer

When sorrow comes into our lives
and tears of sadness fall,
they never go unnoticed,
God sees them one and all.

Our tears are very precious
In the eyes of our dear Lord,
He calls them up to special clouds
where they are safely stored.

When these clouds are heavy laden
from the weight which they contain,
moisture falls upon to the earth,
and our tears come down as rain.

Then when the rain has ended,
look to the sky above.
and when you see a rainbow
God is sending us His love.

He knows we all face sorrow,
and He knows we all feel pain.
That's why He sends a rainbow
after every tear filled rain.

Treasured Moments by Ron Tranmer ©

I treasure every moment
you spent in life with me.
I hoped to have you longer,
but it's not meant to be.

You left this world so suddenly.
I think my heart went too.
I feel so lost and lonely,
and I cry from missing you.

I know you're in a better place.
I know you're happy there.
I know one day I'll join you,
but the wait is hard to bear.

My heart feels like it's breaking
as I try to carry on.
You were my life, my everything,
but now sweetheart, you've gone.

I pray that God will give me strength
until He calls me too.
Then what joy will fill my heart
when I'm again with you.

Heavy Hearts by Ron Tranmer ©

With heavy hearts and tear filled eyes
family and friends bid you goodbye.
Gathered this day united in sorrow,
yet sure in faith of a brighter tomorrow.

Although you've gone, we feel you near.
You are so loved by everyone here.
You touched our lives in numerous ways.
and brightened many of our days.

Sharing memories of time with you
is something that we love to do.
We laugh, we cry, with joy and pain.
Goodbye for now, until we meet again.

Take My Hand by Ron Tranmer ©

Beyond Earth's veil I cannot see
but my faith is strong, I trust in Thee.
I know in time I'll understand.
Until then Lord, please take my hand.

My purpose here, may I fulfill,
and in all things do Thy will.
The trials of life may I withstand.
Walk with me Lord and take my hand.

Then when I breathe my final breath
and close my eyes in earthly death,
may I not leave this world alone.
Lord, take my hand and walk me home.

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The Butterfly story

In a green meadow filled with Milkweed and flowers there lived a colony of caterpillars. They were a happy colony, living a quiet life in the cool shade. For many months they were very busy, scurrying around and munching on the soft Milkweed leaves.

They did notice that every once in a while one of the colony seemed to lose interest in crawling around with its friends. It would go off alone and crawl high up in the trees. It gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.

“Look!” said one of the caterpillars to another, “one of our colony is climbing up to the tops of the trees. Where do you think he is going?” Up, up and up it slowly went…even as they watched, the caterpillar disappeared from sight. Its friends waited and waited but it didn’t return.

“That’s funny!” said one caterpillar to another. “Wasn’t he happy here?” asked another. “Where do you suppose he went ?” wondered a third. No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled.

Finally one of the caterpillars gathered its friends together. “I have an idea. The next one of us who climbs to the tops of the trees must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why.” “We promise…” they all said solemnly.

One spring day not long after the caterpillar who had suggested the plan found himself climbing high up into the trees. Up up and up he went, higher and higher into the trees. Before he knew what was happening he had broken through the canopy of leaves into the warm sunlight and fell into a deep sleep.

When he awoke he looked about in surprise. He couldn’t believe what he saw. A startling change had come over his old body. He now had beautiful wings!

Even as he struggled he felt an impulse to move his wings. The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from his new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself flying into the blue sky.

He had become a butterfly. Swooping and dipping in great curves he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere.
By and by the new butterfly landed on a leaf to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the meadow. Why, he was right above his old friends the caterpillars! There they were, crawling around and munching on Milkweed, just as he had been doing before.

Then the butterfly remembered his promise. Without thinking the butterfly darted down. He landed on a flower and looked into the grass. Now that he was a butterfly he could no longer go back.

“I can’t return!” he said in dismay. “At least I tried, but I can’t keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the caterpillars would know me in my new body. I guess I’ll just have to wait until they become butterflies too. Then they’ll understand what has happened to me and where I went.”

And the butterfly winged off happily into its new world of sun and air.
Dear God, please remember those who have left the meadow we live in…and remember us who are still here.

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When you feel Lonely

When You feel Lonely
When a person you love passes away
Look to the night sky on a clear day.
The star that to you, appears to be bright,
Will be your loved one,
Looking upon you during the night.
The lights of heaven are what shows through
As your loved one watches all that you do.
When you feel lonely for the one that you love,
Look to the Heavens in the night sky above.
 ~ anon


Remembrance is a golden chain
Death tries to break,
but all in vain.
To have, to love, and then to part
Is the greatest sorrow of one's heart.
The years may wipe out many things
But some they wipe out never.
Like memories of those happy times
When we were all together. 
~ anon

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The Rose Beyond the Wall

 Near shady wall a rose once grew,
Budded and blossomed in God’s free light,

 Watered and fed by morning dew,
Shedding its sweetness day and night.

 As it grew and blossomed fair and tall,

Slowly rising to loftier height,
It came to a crevice in the wall
Through which there shone a beam of light.

 Onward it crept with added strength

With never a thought of fear or pride,
It followed the light through the crevice’s length
And unfolded itself on the other side.

 The light, the dew, the broadening viewWere found the same as they were before,
And it lost itself in beauties new,
Breathing its fragrance more and more.

 Shall claim of death cause us to grieve

And make our courage faint and fall?
Nay! Let us faith and hope receive—
The rose still grows beyond the wall,

 Scattering fragrance far and wide

Just as it did in days of yore,
Just as it did on the other side,
Just as it will forevermore. ~ A. L. Frink

Leaving a dear one

The family is not destroyed,
but transformed.
A part of it enters the invisible.

We believe that dying leads to absence,
when it really is a hidden presence.
We believe that it creates infinite distance,
when it does away with all distance
it returns to the spirit
what was for a time found in the flesh.

Every time someone leaves home and passes away
those left behind gain a link in heaven.

is no longer home to angels,
unknown saints and a mysterious God,
but it becomes familiar.
It is the family house,
the house up above, so to speak.
From up there to down here,
memory, helping hands, calls
carry on.

F. Sertillanges

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Traditional American Indian Prayer;
A Native American poem, possibly by Ishi, the last living member of the Yahi Native American tribe / people of The Pacific Northwest - [attribution contributed and amended 14/09/11]

When I am dead
Cry for me a little
Think of me sometimes
But not too much.
Think of me now and again
As I was in life
At some moments it's pleasant to recall
But not for long.
Leave me in peace
And I shall leave you in peace
And while you live
Let your thoughts be with the living.


He put his arms around you, and lifted you to rest. God’s garden must be beautiful, He always takes the best. He saw the road was getting rough, and the hills were hard to climb. So He closed your weary eyelids, and whispered "Peace be thine". It broke our hearts to lose you, but you didn’t go alone. For part of us went with you, the day God called you home. Irish funeral prayer

God saw you getting tired and a cure was not to be. So He put His arms around you and whispered “come to me.” With tearful eyes we watched you, and saw you pass away. Although we loved you dearly, we could not make you stay. A golden heart stopped beating, hard working hands at rest. God broke our hearts to prove to us, He only takes the best. God looked around His garden,  and found an empty place. He then looked down upon the earth, and saw your tired face. Irish funeral prayer


[Loved one’s name] Longing For One More Day. When we lose someone we love it seems that time stands still. What moves through us is a silence... a quiet sadness... A longing for one more day... one more word... one more touch... We may not understand why you left this earth so soon, or why you left before we were ready to say good-bye, but little by little, we begin to remember not just that you died, but that you lived. And that your life gave us memories too beautiful to forget. We will see you again some day, in a heavenly place where there is no parting. A place where there are no words that mean good-bye. Irish funeral prayer

Irish Bereavement blessings - broken link

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If I should go before the rest of you

If I should go before the rest of you. 
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone.
Nor when I'm gone speak in a Sunday voice.
But be the usual selves that I have known.
Weep if you must, parting is hell.
But life goes on, so sing as well. ~ Joyce Grenfell.

Prayer for Bereavement

Dearest Jesus, who wept at the death of your friend
and taught that they who mourn shall be comforted,
grant us the comfort of your presence in our loss.
Send Your Holy Spirit to direct us
lest we make hasty or foolish decisions.
Send Your Spirit to give us courage
lest through fear we recoil from living.
Send Your Spirit to bring us your peace
lest bitterness, false guilt, or regret take root in our hearts.

The Lord has given.
The Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.



For All of You Waiting in Heaven
I thought of you today, but that is nothing new.
I thought about you yesterday, and days before that too.
I think of you in silence, I often speak your name.
All I have are memories and a picture in a frame.
Your memory is a keepsake, from which I'll never part.
God has you in his arms. I have you in my heart.

listen Homilies for All Saints Day 2011 - click here

'Perhaps they are not stars but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through' ~ Eskimo proverb

When Tomorrow Starts Without Me.

When tomorrow starts without me, and I’m not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes, all filled with tears for me,
I wish so much you wouldn’t cry, the way you did today,
While thinking of the many things we didn’t get to say.
I know how much you love me, as much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me, I know you’ll miss me too.

But when tomorrow starts without me, please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name and took me by the hand.
And said my place was ready in Heaven far above,
And that I’d have to leave behind,
all those things I dearly love.

But as I turned to walk away, a tear fell from my eye,
For all my life, I’d always thought, I didn’t want to die.
I had so much to live for, so much yet to do,
It seemed almost impossible, that I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays, the good ones and the bad,
I thought of all the love we shared, and all the fun we had.
If I could relive yesterday, just even for a while,
I’d say goodbye and kiss you,
and maybe see you smile.

But then I fully realized, that could never be,
For emptiness and memories, would take the place of me.
And when I thought of worldly things, I might miss come tomorrow,
I thought of you, and when I did, my heart was filled with sorrow.

But when I walked through Heaven’s gates, I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me, from his great golden throne.
He said, “This is eternity, and all I’ve promised you.
Today your life on Earth is past, and here it starts anew”.
“I promise no tomorrow, but today will always last,
And since each day’s the same day, there’s no longing for the past”.
“But you have been so faithful, so trusting and so true,
Though there were times you did some things, you know you shouldn’t do”.
“But you have been forgiven, and now at last you’re free,
So won’t you take my hand now and share My life with Me”.

So when tomorrow starts without me, don’t think we’re far apart,
For every time you think of me, I’m right here in your heart.

Janice M. Fair-Salters © copyright - included here by kind permission of the author, see others on this page and in her book "Voices From Beyond"

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"Funeral Blues" or "Stop all the clocks"
is a poem by W. H. Auden, published in its final, familiar form in 1938.
We cannot include it here for copyright reasons but you can watch the performance from the film, 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' on YouTube
(suggested by J.L. 03/13 thank you)

Family Tree a poem

A limb has fallen from the family tree.
I keep hearing a voice that says, "Grieve not for me".
Remember the best times, the laughter, the song.
The good life I lived while I was strong.
Continue my heritage, I'm counting on you.
Keep smiling and surely the sun will shine through.
My mind is at ease, my soul is at rest.
Remembering all, how I truly was blessed.
Continue traditions, no matter how small.
Go on with your life, don't worry about falls.
I miss you all dearly, so keep up your chin.
Until the day comes we're together again. 

Anon. (attribution needed)

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For Farmers


Time just keeps moving on,
Many years have come and gone,
But I grow older without regret,
My hopes are in what may come yet.
On the farm I work each day,
This is where I wish to stay,
I watch the seeds each season sprout,
From the soil as the plants rise out.
I study Nature and I learn,
To know the earth and feel her turn,
I love her dearly and all the seasons,
For I have learned her secret reasons.
All that will live is in the bosom of Earth,
She is the loving mother of all birth,
But all that lives must pass away,
And go back again to her someday.
My life too will pass from Earth,
But do not grieve, I say, there will be other birth,
When my body is old and all spent,
And my soul to Heaven has went.
Please compost and spread me on this plain,
So my body Mother Earth can claim,
That is where I wish to be,
Then Nature can nourish new life with me.
So do not for me grieve and weep,
I did not leave, I only sleep,
I am with the soil here below,
Where I can nourish life of beauty and glow.
Here I can help the falling rain,
Grow golden fields of ripening grain,
From here I can join the winds that blow,
And meet the softly falling snow.
Here I can help the sun’s warming light,
Grow food for birds of gliding flight,
I can be in the beautiful flowers of spring,
And in every other lovely thing.
So do not for me weep and cry,
I am here, I do not die.



For this one farmer the worries are over, lie down and rest your head,
Your time has been and struggles enough, put the tractor in the shed.
Years were not easy, many downright hard, but your faith in God transcended,
Put away your tools and sleep in peace. The fences have all been mended.
You raised a fine family, worked the land well and always followed the Son,
Hang up your shovel inside of the barn; your work here on earth is done.
A faith few possess led your journey through life, often a jagged and stony way,
The sun is setting, the cattle are all bedded, and here now is the end of your day.
Your love of God’s soil has passed on to your kin; the stories flow like fine wine,
Wash off your work boots in the puddle left by blessed rain one final time.
You always believed that the good Lord would provide and He always had somehow,
Take off your gloves and put them down, no more sweat and worry for you now.
Your labor is done, your home now is heaven; no more must you wait,
Your legacy lives on, your love of the land, and we will close the gate.
~ by Nancy Kraayenhof.

Read more and here

(above used at funeral of a retired farmer parishioner in 2015)

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GRIEVING: "The Hill"

A travelling man sat down to rest from his journey by the side of the road. As he rested, another man passed by. This other man, the traveller observed, walked very slow and was bent forward, his expression was troubled and pain reflected in his eyes.

"What ails you fellow?" called up the wise, but simple man. "Come and join me and take a rest, for your form is such that I see a need in you to share the burden that you carry."

The other man sat down, stared far into the distance for a while and then began.
"I have lost the very dearest person known to me." Tears welled up in his eyes as he spoke, he then fell silent for a short time before continuing. "I feel that I am constantly walking up a hill and that the wind is always against me, my feet are as heavy as clay and in my stomach I carry hot coals. I say to myself now that I must turn back to ease this pain. If I walk back down the hill then maybe I will find that all of this is not true and that my loved one will be waiting to greet me."

The traveller sat listening to the other man's story, and replied. "You must not go back down the hill. You need to reach the top, for thereafter you will find the path will level, the wind will soften, your feet grow lighter and the hot coals will cool. To go back down the hill will prolong your pain, for the path to your healing is forward and up the hill."

As the traveller got up to continue his journey, he said to the other man, "The one you have lost is not at the bottom of the hill but with you all the time, for you carry their spirit in your heart."
Anonymous [contributed by CS march '05 - thank you]

A Prayer for Difficult Moments
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself. [Amen.] (Diary of St. Faustina, 950).

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"One day we will meet beside the river and our Lord will dry every tear. For now, we must live in the joy of that promise and recall that for every generation life is hard, but God is faithful." ~ Bodie Thoene

'Death is not extinguishing the light. It is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.' ~ Rabindranath Tagore ~ Nobel Prize winner 1913 ~ more below 

'In one of the stars, I shall be living. In one of them, I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night.' ~ The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

'He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man.' ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

'Life is eternal and love is immortal; And death is only a horizon, And a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.' ~ Rossiter W. Raymond

"Death is God's last and greatest gift to the living"  ~ Margaret Eadie

'Be of good cheer about death and know this as a truth - that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.' ~ Socrates

'The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.' ~ Seneca

'I have died many a death in love, and yet, had I not loved I would never have lived at all.' ~ David Lasater

'Is death the last sleep? No - it is the last and final awakening.' ~ Sir Walter Scott 

'While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil.' ~ John Taylor

'For what is it to die, But to stand in the sun and melt into the wind? And when the Earth has claimed our limbs, Then we shall truly dance.' ~ Kahlil Gibran

'I shall not die of a cold. I shall die of having lived.' ~ Willa Cather

If we really think that home is elsewhere, and that this life is a 'wandering to find home,' why should I not look forward to the arrival? ~ C. S. Lewis

'Remember the man who served his almighty Creator, his country, his community, and most of all, his family. He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men, and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction.' ~ Bessie Anderson Stanley ??

'Let us all understand that death is not an eraser. It does not remove the deeds or the meanings that existed in anyone's life. It does not make poor men rich or great men fallible. And when death comes, let us not romanticize its presence nor the person it takes from us. Let us see death for what it really is: a border that we all must cross; a border that, more than any other, defines the lives we are able to lead. Do not mourn for those who cross over. Rather, reflect on the definition they've left behind. It is the only truth we are able to know here on earth. When the definition is great, then celebrate it. When it is lacking, then learn from it and improve on it. And use it to make your own definition more truthful and loving and miraculous.' ~ from 'Gideon' by Russell Andrews

'Looking back on the memory of the dance we shared, beneath the stars above, for a moment all the world was right. How was I to know that you'd ever say goodbye?
And now I'm glad I didn't know the way it all would end, the way it all would go.
Our lives are better left to chance.
I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance.'
~ Garth Brooks, The Dance 

'They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies.' ~ William Penn | more

"Death is not a period but a comma in the story of life." ~ Amos J. Farver

''Besides, the ones that love us never really leave us. You can always find them... [puts hand over Harry's heart]... in here.'' ~ Sirius Black - from 'Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban':

"Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?” ~ Terry Pratchett, 'Going Postal'.

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Remembering the Dead by Henri J.M. Nouwen

When we lose a dear friend, someone we have loved deeply, we are left with a grief that can paralyse us emotionally for a long time. People we love become part of us. Our thinking, feeling and acting are codetermined by them: Our fathers, our mothers, our husbands, our wives, our lovers, our children, our friends ... they are all living in our hearts. 

When they die a part of us has to die too. That is what grief is about: It is that slow and painful departure of someone who has become an intimate part of us. When Christmas, the New Year, a birthday or anniversary comes, we feel deeply the absence of our beloved companion. We sometimes have to live at least a whole year before our hearts have fully said good-bye and the pain of our grief recedes. But as we let go of them they become part of our "members" and as we "re-member" them, they become our guides on our spiritual journey.

Taking the Sting Out of Death by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Dying is returning home. But even though we have been told this many times by many people, we seldom desire to return home. We prefer to stay where we are. We know what we have; we do not know what we will get. Even the most appealing images of the afterlife cannot take away the fear of dying. We cling to life, even when our relationships are difficult, our economic circumstances harsh, and our health quite poor. Still, Jesus came to take the sting out of death and to help us gradually realise that we don't have to be afraid of death, since death leads us to the place where the deepest desires of our hearts will be satisfied. It is not easy for us to truly believe that, but every little gesture of trust will bring us closer to this truth.

Excerpts from 'Bread for the Journey', by Henri J.M. Nouwen, ©1997

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And if I go, while you're still here… "And if I go, while you're still here… Know that I live on, Vibrating to a different measure, Behind a thin veil you cannot see through. You will not see me, So you must have faith. I wait for the time when we can soar together again, Both aware of each other. Until then, live your life to the fullest, And when you need me, Just whisper my name in your heart, … I will be there." ~ Emily Dickinson 

Hymns & Music

"The Song of Farewell"
a version of the traditional "In Paradisum" is often played at funerals.
Words and Music by Ernest Sands
excerpt | [see midi & YouTube links >>]

May the choirs of angels come to greet you.
May they speed you to paradise.
May the Lord enfold you in his mercy.
May you find eternal life.

1. The Lord is my light and my help; it is he who protects me from harm.
The Lord is the strength of my days; before whom should I tremble with fear?

2. There is one thing I ask of the Lord; that he grant me my heart-felt desire.
To dwell in the courts of our God every day of my life in his presence.

3. O Lord, hear my voice when I cry; have mercy on me and give answer.
Do not cast me away in your anger, for you are the God of my help.

4. I am sure I shall see the Lord's goodness; I shall dwell in the land of the living.
Hope in God, stand firm and take heart, place all your trust in the Lord.

>> Song of Farewell listen midi file

YouTube: (1) Vocal Solo, Piano, String Quartet. Recorded on a pocket digital recorder. 



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In Paradisum Gabriel Fauré - Requiem, Op. 48 - VII.

Watch performance on YouTube

Requiem also known as Mass for the dead.... the Rite of Christian Burial brings hope and consolation to the living. While proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and witnessing to the Christian hope in the resurrection, the funeral rite also recalls to bereaved families God’s mercy and love and meets the human need to turn always to God in times of crisis.

Music suggestions for funerals pdf

A parish musician's guide to the Order of Christian Funerals
pdf  | booklet pdf

Ever Loved Funeral Songs to help find the right music for a funeral, memorial service or celebration of life

OCP Catholic Worship Resources

An alternative Hymn to Psalm 23:  "The king of love my Shepherd is" YouTube version

Hymn God be with You Till We Meet Again below

'Song for Athene'

(also known as "Alleluia. May Flights of Angels Sing Thee to Thy Rest")

music Sir John Tavener - lyrics Mother Thekla >>>

info (Wikipedia)

listen #1 (Westminster Abbey Choir) YouTube

listen #2 (UA Schola Cantorum) YouTube

May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest

Remember me, O Lord,
when you come into your kingdom
Give rest, O Lord, to your handmaid who has fallen asleep
The Choir of Saints have found the well-spring of life and door of paradise
Life: a shadow and a dream
Come, enjoy rewards and crowns I have prepared for you.

Fiddler's Green' sung by The Dubliners

Lyrics [all rights reserved to the original authors]

As I roved by the dockside one evening so fair
To view the salt waters and take in the salt air
I heard an old fisherman singing a song
Oh, take me away boys me time is not long

Wrap me up in me oilskin and blankets
No more on the docks I'll be seen
Just tell me old shipmates, I'm taking a trip mates
And I'll see you someday on Fiddlers Green

Now Fiddler's Green is a place I've heard tell
Where the fishermen go if they don't go to hell
Where the weather is fair and the dolphins do play
And the cold coast of Greenland is far, far away >>>

>>> Now when you're in dock and the long trip is through
There's pubs and there's clubs and there's lassies there too
And the girls are all pretty and the beer is all free
And there's bottles of rum growing on every tree.

Where the skies are all clear and there's never a gale
And the fish jump on board with one swish on their tail
Where you lie at your leisure, there's no work to do
And the skipper's below making tea for the crew

Now I don't want a harp nor a halo, not me
Just give me a breeze and a good rolling sea
I'll play me old squeeze-box as we sail along
With the wind in the riggin to sing me a song

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Hymn: God Be with You Till We Meet Again lyrics: Jeremiah Eames Rankin, (tune 'Randolph' R. Vaughan Williams) Cardiff Festival Choir on YouTube || The American Boychoir on YouTube || piano version YouTube || Vimeo || alternate tune (Tomer) links below

God be with you till we meet again,
By His counsels guide, uphold you,
With His sheep securely fold you,
God be with you till we meet again..

God be with you till we meet again,
'Neath His wings securely hide you,
Daily manna still provide you,
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again,
When life's perils thick confound you,
Put His arms unfailing round you,
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again,
Keep love's banner floating o'er you,
Smite death's threatening wave before you,
God be with you till we meet again.

Alternate tune by William G Tomer + chorus:
Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus' feet;
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again
link #1 || link #2 (Jessy Dixon) || link #3 || link #4 ||   link #5 (Daniel O'Donnell) || more info

Prayer Attributed to St. Augustine:

Watch, dear Lord, with those who wake or watch or weep tonight, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend your sick ones, O Lord Jesus Christ, rest your weary ones, bless your dying ones, soothe your suffering ones, shield your joyous ones, and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

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more external links open in a new window or tab

  • Age Concern England

  • Samaritans UK

  • CRUSE bereavement care - Offers free information and advice to anyone who has been affected by a death - Provides support and counselling one to one and in groups - Offers education, support, information and publications to anyone supporting bereaved people - Increases public awareness of the needs of bereaved people through campaigning and information services

  • UK Care Guide - has an infographic and help article to break down the steps that someone needs to go through when they have lost a loved one. Their wider mission is to help people face issues as they get older, with helpful advice and guidance.  

  • Winston's Wish - a charity supporting bereaved children and young people.

  • icon newElizabeth's Smile - charity support for grieving children

  • Care for the Family - giving hope to the bereaved >> bereavement support organisations an extensive list

  • Many resources are on the website of Funeral Helper

  • The Compassionate Friends (UK)  - (TCF) is an organisation of bereaved parents and their families offering understanding, support and encouragement to others after the death of a child or children. They also offer support, advice and information to other relatives, friends and professionals who are helping the family.

  • Child Death Helpline  ~ for all those affected by the death of a child. also telephone (UK) 0800 282986. Volunteers are needed to work in this service. - 

  • SANDS - The Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society

  • A Little Lifetime Foundation the voice for bereaved parents and their families across Ireland.

  • Child Bereavement UK (formerly 'The Child Bereavement Trust')

  • St Paul's Miscarriage & Infant Loss Support Group - Miscarriage & Infant Loss Memorial Book Ministry - For all who have lost a baby from conception to 1 year old. The Miscarriage & Infant Loss Memorial Book is kept at Tintagel Catholic Church and administered from Füssen, Bavaria, Deutschland. It is placed on the altar at all Masses celebrated in Tintagel. -  An annual Mass is celebrated in remembrance of all babies who have died from conception to 1 year old and their families. (future dates not known - please contact them direct) at the Catholic Church of St Paul the Apostle, Tintagel, Cornwall, UK. Those who cannot attend the Mass are invited to join them in prayer on that day remembering the intentions they are praying for. more | wikipedia

  • Morning Light Ministry is a Catholic ministry for bereaved mothers and fathers who have experienced the death of their baby through ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death up to one year old. This Catholic ministry also welcomes bereaved parents of other Christian denominations, bereaved parents of other faiths and bereaved parents of no religious affiliation who are struggling with the very notion of faith.

  • Babyloss support groups

  • "And Should The Angels Call" ~ A poem, especially for those mourning the loss of a child.

site links: Remembrance of our war dead | Prayer for 'Healing the Family Tree'

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Holy Souls

Pray for the Souls of all deceased parishioners in whose memory this page is dedicated [and for all bereaved families and friends] In your kindness pray also for souls who have no one to pray for them. Into Your hands Lord we commend them. Eternal rest grant unto them and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May they rest in peace - Requiescant in pace, Amen

"As we enter Heaven, we will see them, so many of them, coming towards us and thanking us. We will ask who they are and they will say: 'A poor soul you prayed for in Purgatory!' " ~ Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen 

Prayer for 'Healing the Family Tree' | listen Homilies for All Saints Day (2011)

Catholic Teaching on Purgatory | Wikipedia | "It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins" (2 Mac 12:46) | Novena prayer 'For the Relief of the Poor Souls in Purgatory' as published in 1931.

'The Secret of the Poor Souls in Purgatory' - An interview with the Austrian mystic Maria Simma of Austria (broken link, try a search)
"Get us out of here" by Nicky Eltz who documents the experiences of the Austrian mystic Maria Simma (broken link, try a search)

Medjugorje message November 6, 1986 "Dear children! Today I wish to call you to pray daily for souls in purgatory. For every soul prayer and grace is necessary to reach God and the love of God. By doing this, dear children, you obtain new intercessors who will help you in life to realize that all the earthly things are not important for you, that only Heaven is that for which it is necessary to strive. Therefore, dear children, pray without ceasing that you may be able to help yourselves and the others to whom your prayers will bring joy. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Prayer of St. Gertrude the Great. Our Lord told St. Gertrude the Great, that the following prayer would release 1,000 souls from Purgatory each time it is said. The prayer was extended to include living sinners which would alleviate the indebtedness accrued to them during their lives. "Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen." more info  [St. Gertrude's life was the mystic life of the Cloister – a Benedictine nun. She meditated on the Passion of Christ, which many times brought a flood of tears to her eyes. She did many penances and Our Lord appeared to her many times. She had a tender love for the Blessed Virgin and was very devoted to the suffering souls in Purgatory. She died in 1334. Her feast day is November 16th.]

Intergenerational Healing and Prayer for Deliverance and Protection (Intergenerational Healing)

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