Mass for the Dead

On the Anniversary of Death or Burial


   A Mass for the Dead has many features which distinguish it from others. These are in part reminiscences of otherwise obsolete liturgical customs, and are in part suggested by the mournful character of the rite. Thus, incense is not burned at the Introit and at the Gospel; the psalm Judica me Deus... is omitted; the kiss of peace is omitted; the deacon chanting the Gospel is not accompanied by the usual acolytes bearing candles, and no blessing is given.



Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. -- Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion, et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem: exaudi orationem meam, ad te omnis caro veniet. V.: Requiem aeternam . . . Eternal rest give to them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. -- (Ps. 64. 2-3). A hymn, O God, becometh Thee in Sion; and a vow shall be paid to Thee in Jerusalem: hear my prayer; all flesh shall come to Thee. V.: Eternal rest give unto them . . .


COLLECT.--O God, the Lord of forgiveness: grant to the soul of Thy servant, N., (or handmaid, or to the souls of Thy servants and handmaids, N.), the anniversary of whose burial we are keeping, a place of refreshment, the happiness of rest and the glory of light. Through our Lord Jesus Christ . . .


EPISTLE Thes. 4. 13-18
Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians.

[St. Paul treats of the resurrection of the world.]

Brethren: We will not have you ignorant concerning them that are asleep, that you be not sorrowful, even as others who have no hope; for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them who have slept through Jesus, will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you in the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them who have slept. For the Lord Himself shall come down from heaven, with commandment, and with the voice of an Archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead who are in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be taken up together with them in the clouds to meet Christ, into the air, and so shall we be always with the Lord. Wherefore comfort ye one another with these words.


GRADUAL Ps. 127. 3

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. V.: In memoria aeterna erit justus: ab auditione mala non timebit. Eternal rest give to them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. V.(Ps. 111. 7): The just shall be in everlasting remembrance; he shall not fear the evil hearing.



Absolve, Domine, animas omnium fidelium defunctorum ab omni vinculo delictorum. V.: Et gratia tua illis succurrente, mereantur evadere judicium ultionis. V.: Et lucis aeternae beatitudine perfrui. Absolve, O Lord, the souls of the faithful departed from every bond of sins. V.: And by the help of Thy grace may they be enabled to escape the avenging judgment. V.: And enjoy the bliss of everlasting light.



Dies irae, dies illa,
Solvet saeclum in favilla:
Teste David cum Sybilla.
Quantus tremor est futurus,
Quando Judex est venturus,
Cuncta stricte discussurus!
Tuba, mirum spargens sonum,
Per sepulcra regionum.
Coget omnes ante thronum,
Mors stupebit, et natura,
Cum resurget creatura.
Judicanti responsura.
Liber scriptus proferetur.
In quo totum continetur,
Unde mundus judicetur.
Judex ergo cum sedebit.
Quidquid latet, apparebit:
Nil inultum remanebit.
Quid sum miser tune dicturus?
Quem patronem rogaturus,
Cum vix justus sit securus?
Rex tremendae majestatis,
Qui salvandos salvas gratis,
Salva me, fons pietatis,
Recordare, Jesu pie.
Quod sum causa tuae viae:
Ne me perdas illa die.
Quaerens me, sedisti lassus:
Redemisti, crucem passus:
Tantus labor non sit cassus.
Juste Judex ultionis.
Donum fac remissionis,
Ante diem rationis.
Ingemisco tamquam reus:
Culpa rubet vultus meus:
Supplicanti parce, Deus.
Qui Mariam absolvisti.
Et latronem exaudisti,
Mihi quoque spem dedisti,
Preces meae non sunt dignae;
Sed tu bonus fac benigne,
ne perenni cremer igne.
Inter oves locum praesta,
Et ab haedis me sequestra.
Statuens in parte dextra.
Confutatis maledictis,
Flammis acribus addictis,
Voca me cum benedictis.
Oro supplex et acclinis.
Cor contitum quasi cinis,
Gere curam mei finis.
Lacrymosa dies illa,
Qua resurget ex favilla.
Judicandus homo reus.
Huic ergo, parce Deus:
Pie Jesu Domine,
Dona eis requiem.
Day of wrath and doom impending,
David's word with Sibyl's blending,
Heaven and earth in ashes ending.
O what fear man's bosom rendeth,
When from heaven the Judge descendeth,
On whose sentence all dependeth.
Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth,
Through earth's sepulchres it ringeth,
All before the throne it bringeth.
Death is struck, and nature quaking,
All creation is awaking,
To its Judge an answer making.
Lo, the book exactly worded,
Wherein all hath been recorded,
Thence shall judgment be awarded.
When the Judge His seat attaineth,
And each hidden deed arraigneth,
Nothing unavenged remaineth.
What shall I, frail man, be pleading?
Who for me be interceding
When the just are mercy needing?
King of majesty tremendous,
Who dost free salvation send us,
Fount of pity, then befriend us.
Think, kind Jesus, my salvation
Caused Thy wondrous Incarnation,
Leave me not to reprobation.
Faint and weary Thou hast sought me,
On the Cross of suffering bought me,
Shall such grace be vainly brought me?
Righteous Judge, for sin's pollution
Grant Thy gift of absolution,
Ere that day of retribution.
Guilty now I pour my moaning,
All my shame with anguish owning.
Spare, O God, Thy suppliant groaning.
Through the sinful woman shriven,
Through the dying thief forgiven,
Thou to me a hope hast given.
Worthless are my prayers and sighings,
Yet, good Lord, in grace complying,
Rescue me from fires undying.
With Thy sheep a place provide me,
From the goats afar divide me,
To Thy right hand do Thou guide me.
When the wicked are confounded,
Doomed to flames of woe unbounded,
Call me with Thy Saints surrounded.
Low I kneel with heart's submission,
See, like ashes, my contrition,
Help me in my last condition.
Ah! that day of tears and mourning,
From the dust of earth returning,
Man for judgment must prepare him,
Spare, O God, in mercy spare him.
Lord, all-pitying, Jesus blest,
Grant them Thine eternal rest.


GOSPEL John 11. 21-27
† Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. John.

[Christ proclaims the resurrection.]

At that time: Martha said to Jesus, Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died: but now also I know that whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God will give Thee. Jesus saith to her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith to Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus saith to her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in Me, although he be dead, shall live; and every one that liveth, and believeth in Me, shall not die for ever. Believest thou this? She saith to Him, Yea, Lord, I have believed that Thou art Christ, the Son of the Living God, who art come into this world.



Domine Jesu Christe, Rex gloriae, libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum de poenis inferni et de profundi lacu: libera eas de ore leonis, ne absorbeat eas tartarus, ne cadant in obscurum: sed signifer sanctus Michael repraesentet eas in lucem sanctam: * Quam olim Abrahae promisisti, et semini ejus. V.: Hostias et preces tibi, Domine, laudis offerimus: tu suscipe pro animabus illis, quarum hodie memoriam facimus: fac eas, Domine, de morte transire ad vitam. * Quam olim Abrahae promisisti et semini ejus. O Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, deliver the souls of all the faithful departed from the pains of hell and from the bottomless pit: deliver them from the lion's mouth, that hell swallow them not up, that they fall not into darkness, but let the standard-bearer, holy Michael, lead them into that holy light; which Thou didst promise of old to Abraham and to his seed. V.: We offer to Thee, O Lord, sacrifices and prayers: do Thou receive them in behalf of those souls of whom we make memorial this day. Grant them, O Lord, to pass from death to that life which Thou didst promise of old to Abraham and to his seed.


SECRET.--Be favorable, O Lord, to our pleading for the souls of Thy servant N., (or handmaid, or to the souls of Thy servants and handmaids, N.) whose anniversary is being celebrated today: for whom we offer the sacrifice of praise: that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant him (her or them) fellowship with Thy Saints. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .


Preface for the Dead

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus: per Christum Dominum nostrum. In quo nobis spes beatae resurrectionis effulsit, ut quos contristat certa moriendi conditio, eosdem consoletur futurae immortalitatis promissio. Tuis enim fidelibus, Domine, vita mutatur, non tollitur, et dissoluta terrestris hujus incolatus domo, aeterna in coelis habitatio comparatur. Et ideo, cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus, cumque omni militia coelestis exercitus, hymnum gloriae tuae canimus, sine fine dicentes: It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, through Christ our Lord. In whom the hope of a blessed resurrection hath shone forth unto us; so that those who are saddened by the certain lot of dying, may be consoled by the promise of a future deathless life. For to Thy faithful people, O Lord, life is changed, not taken away: and when the home of this earthly sojourn is dissolved, an eternal dwelling place is being prepared in the heavens. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying:



Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine: * Cum Sanctis tuis in aeternum: quia pius es. V.: Requiem aeternal dona eis: * Cum Sancis tuis in aeternum: quia pius es. May light eternal shine upon them, O Lord, * With Thy Saints for evermore, for Thou art gracious. V.: Eternal rest give to them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them * with Thy Saints . . .


POSTCOMMUNION.--Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the souls of Thy servant N. (handmaid or of Thy servants and handmaids, N.) the anniversary of whose burial we are keeping, may be cleansed by this Sacrifice and may obtain both pardon and eternal rest. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth . . .


1 Indulgence of 3 years, each time. -- Plenary, under the usual conditions, when recing daily this hymn during a month. -- P.P.O. n. 541.