OCF 397-399: Prayers for the Dead and for Mourners

Part V, Additional Texts, completes the original OCF. (We’ll cover the 1997 appendix on Cremation, of course, once we finish here.)

OCF 397 gives a listing of what follows in OCF 398, Prayers for the Dead, and 399, Prayers for the Mourners. A total of sixty-two prayers are given, and rather than retype or scan and render all of them here, I thought I’d just give you a highlight, and if anyone is curious, you can either read them for yourself and/or request a commentary on something that sounds interesting.

Of the forty-seven prayers for the dead (398), thirteen are “general,” one each is for a pope, a diocesan bishop, and “another” bishop. Three are given for a priest, two for a deacon, two for a religious, and even one of “One who worked in service of the Gospel.” Two are set aside for a baptized child, two for a youngperson, and one each for “parents” and “a parent.” Married couples have three prayers to choose from, single prayers for wife, husband, and even one for a “deceased non-Christian married to a Catholic.” This section also has two prayers for an elderly person, three for someone who died after a long illness, one for a person who died suddenly, one for an accidental or violent death, two for persons who have committed suicide, and two prayers are for “several persons.”

Of the fifteen prayers for mourners, they are distributed as such: seven for general use, five for mourners when a baptized child has died, two for a situation in which a child who died before baptism, and one for the tragedy of a stillborn child.

Remember these prayers supplement what is already given in the rites. They may be used for the various liturgies and situations of Part I (vigil, funeral, committal, and the minor rites) or Part II (OCF rites for children) or Part IV, the Office for the Dead.

Some clergy have some of these prayers tagged and use them when praying with the family. Sometimes they are used at the liturgies. Keep in mind that the rites rarely suggest “these or similar words” for prayers. These five dozen plus options give the minister a substantial repertoire of texts on which to call for various occasions. It is good to point out that nearly all of these prayers were composed by ICEL for the OCF, and probably done so in the vernacular. As a group they are fairly vivid in language, they frequently allude to Scripture, and are solid compositions in good modern English. It would be work such as this that shows the English translation of MR3 to be fairly shoddy in comparison.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Order of Christian Funerals, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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