Roman Catholic Rite for commending a departing soul



1. Whenever a pastor goes to carry out the ceremony of commending a departing soul, he should if possible be assisted by at least another cleric. The latter will carry the vessel with holy water, a surplice, and a purple stole. Arriving at the sick-room, the priest puts on the surplice and stole, and then entering the room says:

P: God's peace be in this home.

All: And in all who live here.

Next he sprinkles the sick person, the room, and the bystanders with holy water, saying the antiphon:

Purify me with hyssop, Lord, and I shall be clean of sin. Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

2. Then he presents a crucifix to the dying person to be kissed, and at the same time says a few words to him of hope for eternal salvation. Moreover, he places the crucifix within sight of the patient, so that gazing on it he may take comfort from the hope which it symbolizes.

3. Then a candle is lighted. The priest and all the bystanders kneel and pray the short litany as follows:

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Holy Mary, pray for him (her).

All holy angels and archangels, pray, etc.

Holy Abel,

All choirs of the just,

Holy Abraham,

St. John the Baptist,

St. Joseph,

All holy patriarchs and

St. Peter,

St. Paul,

St. Andrew,

St. John,

All holy apostles and evangelists,

All holy disciples of our Lord,

All holy Innocents,

St. Stephen,
St. Lawrence,

All holy martyrs,

St. Sylvester,

St. Gregory,

St. Augustine,

All holy bishops and confessors,

St. Benedict,
St. Francis,
St. Camillus,

St. John of God,

St. Mary Magdalen,

St. Lucy,

All holy monks and hermits

All holy virgins and widows,

All holy men and women, saints of God, intercede for him (her).

Be merciful, spare him (her), O Lord.

Be merciful, deliver him (her), O Lord.

Be merciful, deliver, etc.

From your wrath,

From the peril of death,

From an evil end,

From the pains of hell,

By your nativity,

By your cross and passion,

By your death and burial,

By your glorious resurrection,

By your wondrous ascension,

By the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate,

On the day of judgment,

We sinners, beg you to hear us.

That you may spare him (her), we beg you to hear us.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

4. And as the soul struggles in its death agony, the following prayers are recited:

Depart, Christian soul, from this world, in the name of God the Father almighty who created you; in the name of Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who suffered for you; in the name of the Holy Spirit who sanctified you; in the name of the glorious and blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God; in the name of St. Joseph, her illustrious spouse; in the name of the Angels and Archangels, Thrones and Dominations, Principalities and Powers, Cherubim and Seraphim; in the name of the patriarchs and prophets, the holy apostles and evangelists, the holy martyrs and confessors, the holy monks and hermits; in the name of the holy virgins and all the holy men and women of God. May you rest in peace this day and your abode be in holy Sion; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

God of mercy, God of pity, in your great compassion you blot out the sins of the penitent and cancel the debt of past misdeeds by your gracious pardon. May it please you now to look with favor on your servant, N., and hear him (her) as he (she) pleads for the forgiveness of all his (her) sins, sincerely acknowledging them. All-merciful Father, grant his (her) request, and refashion in him (her) whatever has been marred by human frailty or defiled by the devil's treachery. Unite to the one body of the Church this member whom you have redeemed. Have pity, Lord, have pity for his (her) tears and sighs, for his (her) only hope is in your mercy. Grant him (her) the grace of being reconciled to you; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

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