Mudcat Café message #1837268 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #94716   Message #1837268
Posted By: Dave'sWife
18-Sep-06 - 07:46 AM
Thread Name: 'Danny Boy' at Catholic funeral
Subject: RE: 'Danny Boy' at Catholic funeral
Wilfried Schaum - The original post didn't suggest that the song was forbidden at the graveside service, just as part of the Funeral mass which is a formalised, set-down thing as joe described. The graveside service also has a formal part to it but once the priest has finished, if he has no objection, families often have someone sing Danny Boy or some other secular song.

Irish-American funerals have several traditional parts of them outside of the Mass and Graveside prayer but as time in this country (USA) has gone by and families assimilate, those traditions tend to fall away. then all you have is the adult children's memories of Danny Boy being sung "at the funeral" and they think the Church has issued some new prohibition when their request is refused. Also, after generations of intermarriage and seeing secular songs sung inside less orthodox churches, the adult children don't see the reason for the denial of their request. One would assume that any practising Catholic or even lapsed Catholic who once attended Mass regularly would know why such songs aren't permitted, but with time away from the Church and distance from it's Liturgy, such things get foggy.

Formal Irish Wakes that used to have 2 or 3 nights with 2 sessions each night are now often collapsed into one night of 2 sessions or one session entirely. This leaves little room for secular songs since there is a formal liturgy for the wake as well. Also, many Irish-Catholic families no longer live in the same city and have to forego the post-graveside service supper where such songs are traditionally welcomed. I used to think the 3 day Wake plus Mass, plus Burial plus supper was overdoing it, but as I get older, I find those traditions comforting. In our family, it would be a scandal to Wake a person in one day. Often the same people come all three nights but not to both sessions.

In summary, if you know of anyone who may have a surprise over Danny Boy waiting for them come time to bury their father, suggest to them that they mention including Danny Boy to the Funeral Director at the initial consultation. If they use and Irish funeral home, the director will be able to give them some good options. I also find having the Funeral Home plan the Supper at a nearby restaurant can result in a more meaningful event. Plus, they often have discount arrangements with the caterer and can hire you appropriate musicans.

Which reminds me, those of you muscians who might want to seek an opprtunity to be paid to sing such songs at a Memorial Supper, the gravseide service or at a Wake should consider providing your local Funeral homes with some samples of your repertoire and let them know you are available for such bookings. Directors also like to know about local harpists and pipers.