One of the hardest parts of my job is planning out Funeral Masses with the grieving families. The Extraordinary Form of the Requiem Mass is straightforward which is a freedom for me.
In the Ordinary Form, there is one request and one request only that is common to every single family and it is "On Eagle's Wings". It is not easy to tell the families that, "No, this is not appropriate for the Mass and we don't allow it here at our parish."
Most families are understanding after I explain that the Mass has prescribed music and that we can't just put whatever we want because we have an emotional attachment to a particular song.
This past week, I had to deal with a family that was very insistent on their choice of music. Our pastor tried to direct their choices, but they were not listening. So by the time they spoke with me, they presented a program that was entirely inappropriate for the Mass. Hint, "Danny Boy" and "When Irish Eyes are Smiling". When I explained that I couldn't allow these choices, I was confronted with outright hostility. I understood and felt compassion for them in their grief. Sadly, their previous experiences of funeral Masses had this music. And I felt like I was being maneuvered, triangulated and pitted against our pastor, the cantor and organist. This is not a position you would want to find me in because I will fight back and it ends up not being pretty whatsoever.
I don't know how, but in the end, we were able to work out the music that was dignified and proper to the Mass. The music they wanted was either played or sung at the Viewing of the Body and at the graveside.
Processional hymn: Praise to the Lord the Almighty
Psalm 23, Alstott from Respond and Acclaim
Gospel Acclamation from Chabanel Psalms Music for Funerals
Offertory Music: Schubert Ave Maria
Communion Music: I Come with Joy to Meet My Lord; I Received the Living God
Final Commendation: In Paradisum (plainchant)
Recessional hymn: Holy God, We Praise Thy Name
I think my friends' prayers sustained me throughout the trying week for which I am grateful.