Mudcat Café message #1835402 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #94716   Message #1835402
Posted By: PoppaGator
15-Sep-06 - 01:02 PM
Thread Name: 'Danny Boy' at Catholic funeral
Subject: 'Danny Boy' at Catholic funeral
We've discussed this topic at least once before, and I had planned to resurrect and add to an old thread, but I can't seem to find any such past discussion. Should have put a "tracer" on it...

Shortly after the 9/11 attacks five years ago, a number of highly public funerals (e.g., for NYC police and firefighters) featured the singing of "Danny Boy," or at least the instrumental performance of its melody, also (originally?) known as "The Londonderry Air." The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, along with some but not all other US dioceses, responded with a ban on the use of this song at all Catholic services, because of its "secular" nature.

My mom passed away on August 26 after a long bout with vascular dementia. Because she had decided to donate her body to medical sience, there was no "funeral" per se (in the presence of the casketed body). Instead, we held a memorial mass.

Imagine my surprise, at the end of the service, at hearing the organ play the introductory notes of "Oh Danny Boy." I quickly realized that the recessional-hymn lyrics printed in the program were to be sung to this familiar melody.

My sister and my aunt had planned the musical program; I wish they had told me advance the tune to which the closing piece was to be sung ~ I'd have been better prepared to sing out loud and clear. Afterwards, they told me that the lyrics (see below) are a loose English translation of a very old Latin hymn, "In Paradisum" (sic?). Absolutely acceptable to any and all clerical authorities, and totally appropriate to the occasion:

May choirs of angels lead you into paradise,
And may the martyrs come to welcome you
To bring you home into the holy city
So you may dwell in New Jerusalem.
May holy angels be there at your welcoming
With all the saints who go before you there,
That you may know the peace and joy of paradise,
That you may enter into everlasting rest.