This information is provided to assist you in planning the Mass of Christian Burial for your loved one. We hope that in choosing the Scripture readings and music, you might share more fully in the funeral liturgy in which your loved one is commended to God. If you need assistance, please email or call us and we will be happy to assist you. Be assured of the prayers and concern of our parish during this time of sorrow. 

Scripture readings that the Church suggests for Masses of Christian Burial

Funeral Liturgy Planning Form (drop off at rectory office or give to the priest at the wake)


In the face of death, the Church confidently proclaims that God has created each person for eternal life and that Jesus, the Son of God, by his death and resurrection, has broken the chains of sin and death that bound humanity. The Order of Christian Funerals is divided into three groups of rites that correspond to the three ritual movements in the funeral of Christians. These three movements form one procession from the funeral home to the church and to the cemetery and include: the Vigil Service (wake), Funeral Liturgy (Mass) and Rite of Committal (prayers at the cemetery). It is the usual custom that the funeral of Christians includes these three movements. Although this is customary, other options may be available. Sometimes a family chooses to have a Service at the Funeral Home instead of a Funeral Mass at the church (though the latter is preferable). 


Recently the Vatican issued a new instruction which clarifies the practice of cremation in the Catholic Church. It is entitled, "To Rise With Christ." It is not infrequent when people ask about the teaching of the Church regarding cremation as it has been become increasingly popular. Here is a brief summary:

  • The Church continues to prefer the practice of burying the bodies of the deceased. Nevertheless, cremation is not prohibited.
  • When cremation of the body has been chosen, the ashes of the faithful must be laid to rest in a sacred place.
  • The conservation of the ashes of the departed in a domestic residence is not permitted. The ashes may not be divided among various family members.
  • It is not permitted to scatter the ashes in the air, on land or at sea.
  • It is not permitted to preserve the ashes in mementos, pieces of jewelry or other objects.

    The purpose of this teaching is to remind us of our ancient belief as Catholics in the sacredness of the body. There was a time in history when a heresy (false teaching) held that the body is evil and so should be destroyed. But we hold that God created all things good, and the body which even Jesus took on when he was born among us is sacred and good. Not only that, but God raised the buried body of Jesus in the resurrection and scripture promises that we too will be raised, body and soul, on the last day.


According to diocesan guidelines, funeral Masses can be held on any day of the year except a Sunday, a Holy Day or during the Sacred Tridiuum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday). In general, funerals are held at 10:00 a.m. 


Funeral programs are not necessary since most hymns selected for funerals may be found in our hymnal. However, should you desire to develop and print a program you are welcome to do so. We ask that you do follow copyright laws when designing the program. Be sure to review the program with the priest to make sure the Order of Worship is correct.


Readers (Lectors): Family members or friends are encouraged to proclaim the Scripture readings at the funeral Mass and to read the General Intercessions (petitions). Please try to choose individuals with good and loud speaking voices, as the Word of God proclaimed needs to be heard easily. It is helpful to give your chosen reader a copy of the reading before the liturgy so that they may prepare in advance. If you wish the parish to provide readers to proclaim the Scriptures, please let us know.

Musician and Servers: Our staff will contact both the musician and adult altar servers. Our music minister will then call you to ask if there are any special songs you would like sung at the funeral. 

Visiting Priests: Visiting priests are always welcome to celebrate or concelebrate the funeral Mass. They should contact the Rectory Office to let us know in advance.


We now provide a space for funeral luncheons in our Parish Center Great Room. Please call the Parish Center Coordinator, Mina Rolando at 216-544-0190.


All parishioners are entitled to our ministries without charge. We would not exclude anyone who is not formally registered or hasn’t been able to contribute financially to the parish. Typically, a small portion of the fees paid to the funeral director is used to cover the services of the musicians (organist and cantor) and the priest ($225 total), however these are not required in order to receive a Christian burial. 


Masses for the intentions of the deceased can be requested through our parish or any parish church. The usual stipend for these Masses is $10. St. Leo the Great can schedule one weekend Mass & four weekday Masses per year for each household, based on availability. The large number of requests for Mass intentions precludes us from scheduling more unless more Masses become available. Additional Mass intentions may be distributed to the missions or to retired priests. If you wish to honor your loved one by making donations to a special fund or ministry such as our education endowment fund, please let us know. We discourage individual purchases of memorial vessels and vestments since this often results in multiplication of these items for the parish. 




The priest, ministers and the assembly greet the body at the entrance of the Church. 


The holy water reminds us of the saving waters of baptism. Its use calls to mind the deceased's baptism and initiation into the community and the newness of life into which he or she is now called. Immediately following, a white cloth or “pall” is placed on top of the casket. This cloth symbolizes the baptismal garment of our Catholic faith. Family members are encouraged to take part in this ritual at the liturgy. Family members may choose to place Christian symbols on top of the casket during the Mass. A favorite cross, rosary or prayer book of the deceased would be most appropriate. The casket is then processed to the front of the church near the Paschal Candle, the sign of the light of Christ and the eternal life into which we are born. 


The following is a list of suggested Opening Songs. (Other songs are acceptable; yet please make every effort to make sure that they can be found in our music book called “Journeysong” to assure active participation by all present. You are most welcome to borrow a copy of the hymnal from the rectory office. Please remember to return the hymnal.) Note that seasonal music is appropriate during the liturgical seasons of the year, i.e. Easter music during the Easter season, Christmas carols during the Christmas season, etc. Note: all hymns with Alleluias are inappropriate during the Lenten season. Our parish music minister would be happy to help with this. 

  • Amazing Grace
  • Be Not Afraid
  • Glory and Praise to Our God Here I Am, Lord
  • How Great Thou Art 
  • Joyful, Joyful We Adore You Lord of All Hopefulness
  • On Eagle’s Wings 


You can find the Scripture readings that the Church suggests for Masses of Christian Burial here

The First Reading is normally from the Old Testament. The readings for the Mass can be chosen by the family with the help of the funeral director or priest. This reading may be read by someone known to the family as long as they are capable of proclaiming God's Word well. 

The Responsorial Psalm is usually sung by the organist and/or cantor.

A second reading from the New Testament is optional but is normally proclaimed. 

The Gospel reading will normally be chosen by the priest and is always proclaimed by him.

Homily (Family members may wish to write down some notes about the deceased to share with the priest).

Universal Prayer (Petitions): these may be composed by a member or friend of the family or the standard ones provided in the ritual may be used. They may be read by someone known to the family or by the priest.



2-3 Family members are welcomed to bring forward the gifts of bread & wine/water which will be given to the priest for consecration. The table with these gifts is placed in front of the first pew.

Preparation song: Please choose either a short hymn or piano instrumental. Here are some suggestions: 

  • Instrumental
  • Eye Has Not Seen 
  • Amazing Grace 
  • Here I Am, Lord 


Normally the name of the deceased is included in this prayer when we pray for those who have died.


Normally only the Body of Christ is offered at funerals but the Blood of Christ can also be offered if there are parishioners present who are commissioned as Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist. Please note that a non-parishioner who is an Extraordinary Minister may not distribute at our parish (this is a directive of the Bishop of Cleveland).

Communion Song: Here is a suggested selection of songs to be sung during the sharing of Communion. Other songs are permitted, as long as they have a reference to the Eucharist. 

  • Be Not Afraid
  • Bread of Life
  • Eye Has Not Seen
  • On Eagles Wings
  • One Bread, One Body 
  • Taste And See
  • We Will Rise Again 

Eulogy: Personal stories within the context of faith do much to help bring about healing and consolation. The Vigil (Wake) with its more intimate setting is the most appropriate place for family members and friends to engage in this kind of sharing. Words of remembrance by one family member or one friend may be included in the Funeral Liturgy. A brief written remembrance (2-3 minutes) should be submitted to the priest before the liturgy. 


A song is sung as the casket is being incensed which is a sign of our prayers, thoughts and petitions rising up to God and an acknowledgment of the sacred nature of the body. 


Processional Song: Here is a list of suggestions for a closing hymn. Others selections are welcome but must be approved by the music minister. 

  • Amazing Grace 
  • Be Not Afraid 
  • River of Glory 
  • Lead Me, Lord 
  • On Eagle’s Wings
  • City of God
  • Holy God, We Praise thy Name 
  • How Great Thou Art
  • We Will Rise Again