Questions about intercessions, music at a funeral Mass

    May a non-Catholic proclaim the General Intercessions at a Funeral Mass?     
    I would suggest that the “Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism,” issued by the Pontifical Commission for Promoting Christian Unity on June 8, 1993 can help illuminate this question.
    Paragraph 133 of the Directory addresses the question of a non-Catholic fulfilling the ministry of reader at Mass. The Directory makes clear that normally “during a eucharistic celebration in the Catholic Church” the readings are to be proclaimed by a Catholic. The Directory goes on, however, to allow that “on exceptional occasions and for a just cause, the bishop of the diocese may permit a member of another church or ecclesial community to take on the task of reader.”
    The intentions of the General Intercessions are proposed by “the deacon, another minister, or some of the faithful,” (Lectionary for Mass, Introduction, No. 30.) I would suggest that the principles established by the Directory for the proclamation of the readings could be applied to the General Intercessions: ordinarily, the intercessions at Mass are proclaimed by a Catholic. As in paragraph 133 of the Directory, however, the bishop may allow a non-Catholic proclaim the General Intercessions according to his own pastoral judgment.
    As a parish organist I am often asked to include secular songs which the family chooses because they held special significance for the deceased. I explain that these songs are not appropriate, but the requests continue. Do such songs have a proper place in the funeral liturgy?
    The introduction to the Order of Christian Funerals devotes four paragraphs to the question of Music in the Funeral liturgy (Nos. 30-34).
    “Music is integral to the Funeral rites. It allows the community to express convictions and feelings that word alone may fail to convey. It has the power to console and uplift the mourners and to strengthen the unity of the assembly in faith and love. The texts of the songs chosen for a particular celebration should express the paschal mystery of the Lord’s suffering, death, and triumph over death and should be related to the readings from Scripture.”
    Thus, while Funeral music may express “convictions and feelings,” its subject must always be the paschal mystery and it must be related to the readings from Scripture.

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