Funeral readings

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  The new translation of the matrimony rite plus your visit with the priests of our diocese last year helped us at the Cathedral to better present and choose our wedding readings (as I emailed with you about). Even though there’s no new Funeral translation, I’m trying to do a similar clean-up. Can I verify a few things?
  • The readings that are listed in the rite are THE readings to choose from, correct? The selection sheet we have handed out has some additional options, and I’m not sure that’s a good idea, or even allowed.
  • I assume the offerings are identical in English and Spanish?
  • Are there any asterisk-like designations (as with weddings)?
  • What is the Easter Season arrangement? A reading (or readings) from Revelation for the first reading, and the second reading drawn from the usual collection of New Testament readings?
Thanks for this help!

A:  Nice to hear from you, and thanks for your kind words about my talks. I remember your previous email and am glad that things are working out.

Regarding funeral readings, I treated this in my new book Light in the Darkness. The Introduction to the Order of Christian Funerals says that conferences of bishop may add different formularies when the ritual provides options (22/3). The introduction to the Lectionary for Mass says that the selection of readings for the Masses for the Dead “provides many texts that can be of assistance in adapting such celebrations to the situation, circumstances, and concerns of the particular groups taking part” (86). It does not explicitly limit the choices to these selections. So, I think there’s some freedom, but you’ll find others who think there’s not.
The choices are the same in Spanish, but we still do not have a Spanish lectionary for the United States.
There are no asterisk-like designations requiring certain readings at a funeral mass. That technique was brand new to the Order of Celebrating Matrimony.
During Easter Time, the first reading at a funeral should come from Revelation. The second reading (if there is one) then comes from the usual collection of New Testament readings.
And in case you haven’t heard, I’ve just followed your footsteps. I’m now pastor of the cathedral for my diocese.