Let’s wrap up the brief discussion on music from the OCF general introduction. As we navigate the various rites, we’ll have plenty of opportunities to examine particular pieces in the months ahead. But don’t let that stop you from commenting now.
32. Music should be provided for the vigil and funeral liturgy and, whenever possible, for the funeral procession and the rite of committal.The specific notes that precede each of these rites suggest places in the rites where music is appropriate. Many musical settings used by the parish community during the liturgical year may be suitable for use at funerals. Efforts should be made to develop and expand the parish’s repertoire for use at funerals.
Like my parish, yours probably has Sunday-to-funeral crossover. There are one or two pieces unique to the funeral repertoire, like the Song of Farewell. The Gospel Acclamation and Eucharistic acclamations are from the more common settings.
33. An organist or other instrumentalist, a cantor, and, whenever possible, even a choir should assist the assembly’s full participation in singing the songs, responses, and acclamations of these rites.
One of my former parishes had such a choir, and what a dedicated group it was. Over thirty voices, about a 75-25 split between retired folks (many couples!) and stay-at-home moms. When our parish hosted the Chrism Mass one year, they were the core of the music ministry. But their dedication to funerals was unsurpassed. At least three times we had stretches of five funerals in four days, and the parish had a choir for every one of them.