MR Prefaces: For the Dead I

The Roman Missal provides five prefaces for a funeral or memorial Mass. It’s interesting the second edition mentions their use for All Souls Day, but the new Roman Missal does not. By the way, they can be used on the November 2 observance. The rubric for that is in the Proper of Saints of the third edition.

I hear this first preface the most often–and this is from many priests in many parishes over many years. I don’t know if that’s a factor of it being first, and in paging through the Missal one might tend to stop at the first option. It’s also one of two longer ones, so it carries a bit of heft. Plus a lot of allusions to the Scriptures, Old and New Testament. As with the other prefaces we’ve examined, each one has a “theme.” For preface I, the Missal subtitles it “The hope of resurrection in Christ.” Here is the MR2:

And the newest translation:

In him the hope of blessed resurrection has dawned,
that those saddened by the certainty of dying,
might be consoled by the promise of immortality to come.

Indeed for your faithful, Lord,
life is changed not ended,
and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust,
an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven.


  • Interesting that the Catechism at #1012 still quotes the first Roman Missal, at least in my edition and the ones I’ve found online.
  • In my research, the closest Scripture I’ve found to that first “stanza” is 1 Peter 1:3, which actually strikes me as an even better expression of faith, praise, and the resurrection: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead …”
  • In the second “stanza,” the “change” is also mentioned by Saint Paul (1 Corinthians 15:51) in the conclusion to his magnificent teaching on the Resurrection.
  • The last two references: our bodies returning to dust, and an eternal heavenly dwelling–these appear frequently in the Bible. The first, an acknowledgement in Judaism from the Torah (Genesis 3:19) to the Psalms (104:29 among other references). You can find that second to the eternal dwelling suggested in the prophets (Isaiah 25:6-9 for example) as well as Paul (2 Corinthians 5:1) and in the final two chapters of Revelation.
  • It’s a Bible-packed introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer at the funeral. No wonder clergy choose it often.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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