Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Washington

The Catholic Way of Death & Burial

Resources for Funeral Programs

Most families like to create and distribute a simple program for the Funeral Mass or Memorial Service of their deceased loved one. Following are some inspirational quotes that can be copied and pasted into Program Templates found within most word processing software:

“The belief that love can reach into the afterlife, that reciprocal giving and receiving is possible, in which our affection for one another continues beyond the limits of death—this has been a fundamental conviction of Christianity throughout the ages and it remains a source of comfort today. Who would not feel the need to convey to their departed loved ones a sign of kindness, a gesture of gratitude or even a request for pardon?”
— Pope Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, 48

“It is a sweet thought to dwell on, that those I most tenderly love, love God, and if we do not meet again here, in heaven we shall be separated no more.”
— St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

“How good it will be when the veil is lifted at last, and we have the joy of being face to face with Him whom alone we love!”
— Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

“In the mystical Body of Christ the souls of the faithful meet overstepping the barrier of death, they pray for each other and in charity realize an intimate, exchange of gifts.”
— Pope Benedict XVI

“Like any reasonable human being, the Christian sees his life, from his birth to his death, as a continual coming to be, accompanied by a continual passing away. But the Christian believes that in this coming to be and through it, the immortal person he is is being born and growing, the human being he is is being fashioned day by day and he will remain what he has become in and for eternity.”
— Madeleine Delbrel

“All people desire to leave a lasting mark. But what endures? Money does not. Even buildings do not, nor books. After a certain time, longer or shorter, all these things disappear. The only thing that lasts forever is the human soul, the human person created by God for eternity.”
— Pope Benedict XVI

“Death is grim, of course, my dear daughter, but the life beyond, which God in his mercy will give us, is most desirable. Truly, in no way must we lose heart because, even though we are weak, our weakness is not nearly as great as God’s mercy toward those who want to love Him and place all their hope in Him.”
— Letter of St. Francis de Sales to St. Jane de Chantal

“In old age, how should one face the inevitable decline of life? How should one act in the face of death? The believer knows that his life is in the hands of God: ‘You, O Lord, hold my lot’ (cf. Ps 16:5), and he accepts from God the need to die: ‘This is the decree from the Lord for all flesh, and how can you reject the good pleasure of the Most High?’ (Sir 41:3-4). Man is not the master of life, nor is he the master of death. In life and in death, he has to entrust himself completely to the ‘good pleasure of the Most High’, to his loving plan.”
— Pope John Paul II

“The life which God bestows upon man is much more than mere existence in time. It is a drive towards fullness of life; it is the seed of an existence which transcends the very limits of time: ‘For God created man for incorruption, and made him in the image of his own eternity’ (Wis 2:23).”
— Pope John Paul II

“It is clear that this [Resurrection] event is not just some miracle from the past, the occurrence of which could be ultimately a matter of indifference to us. It is a qualitative leap in the history of ‘evolution’ and of life in general towards a new future life, towards a new world which, starting from Christ, already continuously permeates this world of ours, transforms it and draws it to itself.”
Pope Benedict XVI, April 15, 2006

“O Lord, hear my voice when I call; have mercy and answer. Of you my heart has spoken: ‘Seek his face’. It is your face, O Lord, that I seek; hide not your face.”
— Psalm 27

“So I raised my voice from the very earth, from the gates of the nether world, my cry. I called out: O Lord, you are my father, you are my champion and my savior.”
— Sirach 51: 8

“If anyone loves me, he will hold to my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him.”
Jn 14:23

"The seed of eternity existing in each one of us reacts against death because that seed is itself not reducible to mere matter....For God has called us and continues to call us to cling with all our being to an everlasting share in the imperishable divine life."
Gaudium et Spes, 18

“Where might the human being seek the answer to dramatic questions such as pain, the suffering of the innocent and death, if not in the light streaming from the mystery of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection?”
— Pope John Paul II

“Man rebels against death because he bears in himself an eternal seed which cannot be reduced to mere matter. Hence to every thoughtful man a solidly established faith provides the answer to his anxiety about what the future holds for him. At the same time, faith gives him the power to be united in Christ with his loved ones who have already been snatched away by death. Faith arouses the hope that they have found true life with God.”
Gaudium et Spes, #18

“Through Christ and in Christ, the riddles of sorrow and death grow meaningful. Apart from His gospel, they overwhelm us. Christ has risen, destroying death by His death. He has lavished life upon us so that, as sons in the Son, we can cry out in the Spirit: Abba, Father!”
Gaudium et Spes, 22

“So it is that the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church 955 (2)

“There lies the wonderful certitude of the Christian which resolves all that is tragic in this uncertain life, for, in truth, all has already ended happily in a new beginning that has all the freshness of youth. And because this is so, the Christian can already gaze backwards as one of the blessed and can see all earthly things transfigured and love them as such. For all the things of this world that we really love…already belong to his ‘new earth.’ The whole of creation has become his mystery.”
Hugo Rahner

“Those who feed on Christ in the Eucharist need not wait until the hereafter to receive eternal life: they already possess it on earth, as the first-fruits of a future fullness which will embrace man in his totality. For in the Eucharist we also receive the pledge of our bodily resurrection at the end of the world: ‘He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day’ (Jn 6:54). This pledge of the future resurrection comes from the fact that the flesh of the Son of Man, given as food, is his body in its glorious state after the resurrection. With the Eucharist we digest, as it were, the ‘secret’ of the resurrection. For this reason Saint Ignatius of Antioch rightly defined the Eucharistic Bread as ‘a medicine of immortality, an antidote to death’.”
Pope John Paul II

“Perhaps, more than in the past, modern man is consumed by material interests and concerns. He seeks security and often feels lonely and anxious. But death is not the last word. Death—the mystery of the Virgin[Mary]’s Assumption assures us—is the passage to life, the encounter with Love. It is the passage to the eternal happiness in store for those who toil for truth and justice and do their utmost to follow Christ.”
Pope John Paul II

“To rise with Christ, we must die with Christ: we must ‘be away from the body and at home with the Lord.’ In that ‘departure’ which is death the soul is separated from the body. It will be reunited with the body on the day of resurrection of the dead.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1005

“The Christian Creed - the profession of our faith in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and in God's creative, saving, and sanctifying action - culminates in the proclamation of the resurrection of the dead on the last day and in life everlasting.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 988

“Christ, ‘the first-born from the dead’ (Col 1:18), is the principle of our own resurrection, even now by the justification of our souls (cf. Rom 6:4), and one day by the new life he will impart to our bodies (cf.: Rom 8:11).”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 658

“We firmly believe, and hence we hope that, just as Christ is truly risen from the dead and lives for ever, so after death the righteous will live for ever with the risen Christ and he will raise them up on the last day. Our resurrection, like his own, will be the work of the Most Holy Trinity: If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 989

“Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life.”
St. Dominic

“I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth.”
St. Therese of Lisieux

“Belief in the resurrection of the dead has been an essential element of the Christian faith from its beginnings. ‘The confidence of Christians is the resurrection of the dead; believing this we live. [Tertullian]’ How can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. . . . But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 991

“To be a witness to Christ is to be a ‘witness to his Resurrection,’ to ‘[have eaten and drunk] with him after he rose from the dead.’ Encounters with the risen Christ characterize the Christian hope of resurrection. We shall rise like Christ, with him, and through him.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 995


“What is ‘rising’? In death, the separation of the soul from the body, the human body decays and the soul goes to meet God, while awaiting its reunion with its glorified body. God, in his almighty power, will definitively grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the power of Jesus' Resurrection.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 997

“By death the soul is separated from the body, but in the resurrection God will give incorruptible life to our body, transformed by reunion with our soul. Just as Christ is risen and lives for ever, so all of us will rise at the last day.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1016

“The lives of the saints are not limited to their earthly biographies but also include their being and working in God after death. In the saints one thing becomes clear: those who draw near to God do not withdraw from men, but rather become truly close to them.”
Pope Benedict XVI

“On many occasions have I not seen my parents in tears; when Heaven had left them, but three children out of fourteen! But how often, too, have not those three survivors, in adversity and in trial, counted on the assistance of those brothers and sisters whom they had among the angels! Such are indeed also of the family, and are brought back to our minds in acts of unexpected assistance. Happy is the home that can count one half of its members in Heaven, to help the rest along the narrow way which leads there!”
Blessed Frederick Ozanam

“The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God - it is not ‘produced’ by the parents - and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 366

“I have loved men greatly, and I feel this world of living creatures has been so pleasant. I cannot go without tears. Nothing is farther removed from me than stoic indifference, so how can I hope for the death of a stoic? Plutarch’s heroes both terrify and bore me. If I were to go to heaven wearing such a mask, I think even my guardian angel would laugh at me. Why worry, why look ahead? If I feel afraid I shall say: I am afraid, and not be ashamed of it. As soon as Our Lord appears before me, may His eyes set me at rest...”
Georges Bernanos, The Diary of a Country Priest