Order of Prayer for visiting a Cemetery


This order is a solemn commemoration of the departed whose bodies lie in a cemetery. It may be used on All Souls Day, Memorial Day, on the anniversary of the death or burial of a particular deceased person, or when a gravestone or cemetery monument is erected. The service may also be adapted for use by individuals when they visit the grave of a relative or friend.

The service may be used immediately following Mass or apart from Mass.

If the service takes place immediately after Mass and there is to be a procession to the cemetery, the blessing and dismissal of the Mass are omitted. During the procession a psalm or other suitable song may be sung. The priest may wear the chasuble or a cope for the procession and for the service in the cemetery.

This order may be used by a priest, deacon, or a lay minister.

On those occasions when this service is used by a family, one of the family members takes the minister’s parts.



A minister who is a priest or deacon greets the people in the following or other words preferably taken from Scripture:

The grace and peace of God our Father, who raised Jesus from the dead, be with you always.

All reply: And also with you.

A lay minister greets those present in the following words:

Praise be to God our Father, who raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Blessed be God for ever.

R. Blessed be God for ever.

The minister using these or similar words, says:

My dear friends, we gather today to pray for our brothers and sisters whose bodies lie here in rest. They have passed from death to life in company with the Lord Jesus, who died and rose to new life, and are purified now of their faults. We pray that God may welcome them among all the saints of heaven.


If Mass has not preceded, a reader, another person present, or the minister reads a text of sacred Scripture.

Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the first letter of Paul to the Thessalonians:

We shall stay with the Lord for ever.

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep. Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, console one another with these words.

Or one of the Scripture texts in Part III of the Order of Christian Funerals may be chosen.

As circumstances suggest, one of the following responsorial psalms may be sung, or some other suitable song.

R. To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

Psalm 25

In you I trust; let me not be put to shame,
let not my enemies exult over me.
No one who waits for you shall be put to shame;
those shall be put to shame who heedlessly break faith. R.

Your ways, O Lord, make known to me;
 teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior, and for you I wait all the day. R.

Remember that your compassion, O Lord,
and your kindness are from of old.
The sins of my youth and my frailties remember not;
in your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O Lord. R.

Good and upright is the Lord;
thus he shows sinners the way.
 He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way. R.

All the paths of the Lord are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
 For your name’s sake, O Lord,
you will pardon my guilt, great as it is. R.


Psalm 27:1, 2, 3, 4, 13 R. (v. 1) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 R. (v. 5) My soul has hoped in the Lord.
Psalm 143:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7, 9-10, 11-12 R. (v. 1) O Lord, hear my prayer.


While the following litany is sung or recited, the minister sprinkles the graves with holy water and, if desired, may also incense them.

Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy

Christ, have mercy
Christ, have mercy

Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for them

Saint Michael, pray for them

Saint John the Baptist, pray for them
Saint Joseph, pray for them

Saint Peter, pray for them
Saint Paul, pray for them
Saint Andrew, pray for them

Saint Stephen, pray for them

Saint Ann, pray for them
Saint Teresa, pray for them
Saint Catherine, pray for them
Saint Frances Cabrini, pray for them
Saint Elizabeth Seton, pray for them

(The names of other saints may be added.)

All holy men and women, pray for them

Christ, pardon all their faults: Lord, hear our prayer

Christ, remember the good they have done: Lord, hear our prayer

Christ, receive them into eternal life: Lord, hear our prayer

 Christ, comfort all those who mourn: Lord, hear our prayer

Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy

Christ, have mercy
Christ, have mercy

Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy

The minister then invites those present to pray the Lord’s Prayer, in these or similar words:

With Christ there is mercy and fullness of redemption; let us pray as Jesus taught us:


Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.


The minister then says the following prayer or another taken from the Order of Christian Funerals, no. 398.

All-powerful God,
whose mercy is never withheld
from those who call upon you in hope,
look kindly on your servants (N. and N.),
who departed this life confessing your name,
and number them among your saints for evermore.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.  R. Amen.


Almighty God and Father,
by the mystery of the cross,
you have made us strong;
by the sacrament of the resurrection
you have sealed us as your own.
Look kindly upon your servants,
now freed from the bonds of mortality,
and count them among your saints in heaven.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.  R. Amen.

Or: For one person

Almighty God and Father,
it is our certain faith that your Son,
who died on the cross,
was raised from the dead,
the first fruits of all who have fallen asleep.
Grant that through this mystery
your servant N.,
who has gone to his/her rest in Christ,
may share in the joy of his resurrection.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.  R. Amen.

Or: For the blessing of a gravestone or monument

O God,
by whose mercy the faithful departed find rest,
bless this gravestone
with which we mark the resting place of N.
May he/she have everlasting life
and rejoice in you with your saints for ever.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.  R. Amen.


The minister says:

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.

May they rest in peace.
R. Amen.

May their souls and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

A priest or deacon adds:

May the peace of God, which is beyond all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. R. Amen.

Then he blesses all present.

And may almighty God bless you all, the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.

The service may be concluded by a suitable psalm or other song.

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