Recommendation of a Departing Soul


[Editor's note: This ritual was origianlly intended to be used by a priest visiting someone near death. However, there is nothing here that cannot be done by a layperson, especially if no priest or deacon is available. We must remember that the church is more than the clergy and the church in all its members are called to respond to the needs of the sick and dying. See Viaticum. "The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective." James 5:16. NRSV.]


The minister entering the room of the dying person says:

PEACE be unto this house.

[Response] And unto all who dwell therein.


The minister [may] then sprinkle the dying person, the bed, and the bystanders, with holy water in the form of a Cross, saying:

You shall sprinkle me, O Lord, with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed:

You shall wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your great mercy.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit

As it was in the beginning, is now, and

ever shall be, world wiyout end. Amen.


He [may] next present a CRUCIFIX to the dying person to to kissed, and [may] exhort him to look forward with hope to the attainment of eternal life, placing the Crucifix before his eyes to encourage him to have confidence in his eternal salvation. [You may] light a candle,... and with the bystanders [if they wish] devoutly recite the SHORTER LITANY, as follows:


The Litany for the Dying

LORD, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for him (her)

All you holy Angels and Archangels, pray for him (her). (This response is repeated for each petition, until "Holy Monks".)

Holy Abel,

All you choirs of the just,

Holy Abraham,

St. John the Baptist,

St. Joseph,

All you holy Patriarchs and Prophets,

St. Peter,

St. Paul,

St. Andrew,

St. John,

All you holy Apostles and Evangelists,

All you holy Disciples of our Lord,

All you holy Innocents,

St. Stephen,

St. Lawrence,

All you holy Martyrs,

St. Sylvester,

St. Gregory,

St. Augustine,

All you holy Bishops and Confessors,

St. Benedict,

St. Francis,

St. Camillus,

St. John of God,

All you holy Monks and Hermits, pray for him (her ).

St. Mary Magdalen, pray for him (her).

St. Lucy, pray for him (her). All you holy Virgins and Widows, pray for him (her ).

All you holy Saints of God, make intercession for him (her ).

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

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

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

From your anger, deliver him (her ), O Lord!

From the danger of death, deliver him (her ), O Lord!

From an ill end, deliver him (her ), O Lord!

From the pains of hell, deliver him (her ), O Lord!

From all evil, deliver him (her ), O Lord!

From the power of the devil, deliver him (her ), O Lord.

Through your nativity, deliver him (her ), O Lord!

Through your cross and passion, deliver him (her ), O Lord!

Through your death and burial, deliver him (her ), O Lord!

Through your glorious resurrection, deliver him (her ), O Lord!

Through your admirable ascension, deliver him ( her) , O Lord!

Through the grace of the Holy Spirit the Comforter, deliver him (her) , O Lord!

In the day of judgment, deliver him (her), O Lord!

We sinners, beseech you, hear us. That you spare him (her), we beseech you, hear us.

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.

When the last agony begins, [that is when the last moment arrives], the following prayers are said:

[Obviously, when to say the prayers is a judgement call. I wouldn't wait too long. Also I would tend to speak them quietly, or even silently, if it seemed appropriate.]

Let us pray.

DEPART, O Christian soul, out of this sinful world, in the name of God, the Father Almighty, who created you; in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, who suffered and died 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 blessed Joseph, the illustrious Spouse of the same Virgin; in the name of the Angels, Archangels, Thrones, Dominations, Virtues, Cherubim and Seraphim; in the name of the Patriarchs and Prophets, of the holy Apostles and Evangelists, of the holy Martyrs and Confessors, of the holy Monks and Hermits, of the holy Virgins and of all the Saints of God; let peace come to you this day, and let your abode be in holy Zion: Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.


O GOOD and Merciful God! who, according to your mercy and loving kindness, forgive the sins of such as repent, and graciously remitt the guilt of their past offenses, mercifully regard this your servant,N , and grant him( her) full remission of his ( her) sins, who most earnestly begs it of you. Renew, O most loving Father! whatsoever has been corrupted in him ( her) through the frailty of human nature, or violated through the deceits of the devil; make him (her) a true member of the Church and let him (her) partake of the fruit of your redemption.

Have compassion, O Lord! on his (her) tears, and admit him (her) who has no hope but in you, to... your reconciliation Through Christ our Lord;

R. Amen.

I RECOMMEND you, dear brother ( sister) , to Almighty God, and commit you to His mercy, whose creature you art; that having paid the common debt of nature by giving up your soul, you may return to your Maker, who formed you out of the earth. May, therefore, the noble company of Angels meet your soul at its departure; may the court of the Apostles receive you; may the triumphant army of glorious Martyrs conduct you; may the crowd of joyful Confessors surround you; may the choir of blessed Virgins go before you; and may a happy rest be your portion in the company of the Patriarchs; may St. Joseph, the sweet Patron of the dying, inspire you with great confidence; may the blessed Virgin Mary, the holy Mother of God, turn her eyes in gentle mercy upon you, and may Jesus Christ appear to you with a mild and cheerful countenance, and give you a place among those who are to be in His presence forever. May you be a stranger to all who are condemned to darkness... May God command your wicked enemy, with all his evil spirits, to depart from you. At your approach, encircled by Angels, may the infernal spirits tremble and retire into the horrid confusion of eternal night. May God arise, and put his enemies to flight. May all who hate Him flee before his face; let them vanish like smoke... But as to the just, let them rejoice and be happy in his presence. May all the demons of hell be filled with confusion and shame, and let no evil spirit dare to stop your course to heaven.

May Christ Jesus, who was crucified for you, deliver you from torments; may He deliver you from eternal death, who for your sake grantd to die. May Christ Jesus, the Son of the living God, place you in the ever- blooming garden of His paradise; and may He, the true Shepherd, own you for one of His flock. May He wash away all your sins, and place you at His right hand, in the company of His elect. Oh! may it be your happiness to behold your Redeemer face to face; to be ever in His presence, in the blessed vision of that Eternal Truth which is the joy of the elect. And thus placed among those happy spirits, may you be forever filled with heavenly delights.

R. Amen.

Receive your servant, O Lord, into the place of salvation, which, he (she ) hopes to attain through your mercy.

R. Amen.

Deliver, O Lord! the soul of your servant from all the pains of hell, and from all trials and tribulations.

R. Amen.

Deliver, O Lord! the soul of your servant, as you delivered Enoch and Elias from the common death of the world.

R. Amen.

Deliver, O Lord! the soul of your servant, as you delivered Noah in the flood.

R. Amen.

Deliver, O Lord! the soul of your servant, as you delivered Abraham from the midst of the Chaldeans.

R. Amen.

Deliver, O Lord! the soul of your servant, as you delivered Job from his afflictions.

R. Amen,

Deliver, O Lord! the soul of your servant, as you delivered Isaac from the sacrificing hand of his father.

R. Amen.

Deliver, O Lord! the soul of your servant, as you delivered Lot from Sodom and the flames of fire.

R. Amen.

Deliver, O Lord! the soul of Tby servant, as you delivered Moses from the hands of Pharaoh, King of Egypt.

R. Amen.

Deliver, O Lord! the soul of your servant, as you delivered Daniel from the lion's den.

R. Amen.

Deliver, O Lord! the soul of your servant, as you delivered the three children from the fiery furnace and from the power of an unmerciful king.

R. Amen.

Deliver, O Lord! the soul of your servant, as you delivered Susanna from her false accusers.

R. Amen.

Deliver, O Lord! the soul of your servant, as you delivered David from the hands of Saul and Goliath.

R. Amen.

Deliver, O Lord! the soul of your servant, as you delivered Peter and Paul out of prison.

R. Amen.

And as you did deliver that blessed virgin and martyr, Thecla, from most cruel torments, so grant to deliver the soul of this your servant, and bring it to the enjoyment of your heavenly bliss.

R. Amen.


We commend to you, O Lord! the soul of this your servant N, and beseech you, O Jesus Christ, Redeemer of the world, that, as in your love for him, you became man, so now you would grant to admit him (her) into the number of the blessed. Remember, O Lord! that he (she) is your creature, not made by strange gods, but by you, the only true and living God; for there is no other true God but you, and none can work your wonders. Let his (her) soul find consolation in your sight, and remember not his (her) sins, nor any of those excesses which he (she) has fallen into, through the violence of passion and corruption. For although he (she) has sinned, yet he (she) still retains a true faith in you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; he (she) has had a zeal for your honor, and faithfully adored you, his (her) God, and the Creator of all things.

REMEMBER not, O Lord! the sins and ignorances of his ( her) youth; but according to your tender mercy, be mindful of him ( her) in the eternal glory. Open the heavens to him ( her) , and let the angels rejoice with him ( her).

Into your kingdom, O Lord, receive your servant. May St. Michael, the Archangel, the chief of the heavenly host, conduct him ( her) ; let the holy angels come out to meet him (her) , and carry him ( her) to the city of the heavenly Jerusalem; may blessed Peter, the Apostle, to whom were given the keys of the kingdom of heaven, receive him (her); may holy Paul, the Apostle, and chosen vessel of election, assist him ( her) ; may St. John, the beloved Disciple, to whom the secrets of heaven were revealed, intercede for him ( her) ; may all the holy Apostles, to whom was given the power of binding and loosing, pray for him ( her) ; may all the Saints and Elect of God, who, on earth, suffered torments for the sake of Christ, intercede for him ( her) ; so that, being freed from the prison of his ( her) body, he ( she) may be admitted into the kingdom of heaven: through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, world wiyout end. R. Amen.

MAY the most clement Virgin Mary, Mother of God, the most loving consoler of the afflicted, commend to her Son, the soul of this servant N. , so that through her maternal intercession he ( she) may not fear the terrors of death, but in her company may joyfully enter the desired heavenly home. R. Amen.


I HAVE recourse to you, St. Joseph, Patron of the dying, who departed this life under the watchful care of Jesus and Mary, and by these dear pledges I earnestly commend to you the soul of this servant N., in his (her) last agony, that, through your protection, he (she ) may be delivered from the snares of the devil and eternal death, and may deserve to attain to everlasting happiness, through the same Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

If the sick person continues in distress of agony, it is proper for the assistants to continue in prayer, repeating the preceding prayers, or saying the Gospel according to St. John (ch. xvii, 1-26, ch. xviii and xix), or Psalms 118 DR (NAB 117) and 119, v. 1-32 NIV (NAB 118).


 See also: Prayer when death is near.


From The Priest's New Ritual, compiled by Rev. Paul Griffith. Published by John Murphy Co. in 1930. Copyright 1927. Imprimatur 1926. This text has some adaptations to remove archaic language. It is presented here for religious and educational purposes only. No other use is intended or permitted. 

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