Singing at Catholic Mass

Catholics express their love for God by singing, especially during Mass. Worshipping God by singing sacred music in Mass on Earth allows Catholics to join with the angels who sing a song of praise forever in Heaven.

Singing has always been an important part of worship, even before Christianity. The Psalms were meant to be sung and other songs and hymns can be found in the Old Testament.

The Catholic Church continues the tradion of singing in the Sacred Liturgy. The Gloria, Sanctus, Alleluia, and Responsorial Psalm are regularly sung at Mass in addition to entrance, Communion, and recessional hymns.

Since the Catholic Mass is no ordinary event the songs that are sung in the liturgy are different from those found in secular music. They are set apart for the worship of God.

Idealy, music and song should not just embelish the Mass but be part of the liturgy itself where the prayers, readings, and responses are all chanted in Gregorian style or using polyphony.

We sing because they sing in Heaven:

Singing a song from the beginning of time:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Colossians 3: 16

Singing with the angels and saints:

Built into the fabric of our worship:

The last century, with the renewal introduced by the Second Vatican Council, witnessed a special development in popular religious song, about which Sacrosanctum Concilium says: “Religious singing by the faithful is to be intelligently fostered so that in devotions and sacred exercises as well as in liturgical services, the voices of the faithful may be heard…”. This singing is particularly suited to the participation of the faithful, not only for devotional practices “in conformity with the norms and requirements of the rubrics”, but also with the Liturgy itself. Popular singing, in fact, constitutes “a bond of unity and a joyful expression of the community at prayer, fosters the proclamation of the one faith and imparts to large liturgical assemblies an incomparable and recollected solemnity”

Pope John Paul II, Chirograph for “Tra le Sollecitudini” on Sacred Music, 22 November 2003

Singing the love song of the Trinity:

Music should express the gravity of what happens at Mass:

Singing music that is set apart:

“The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of solemn liturgy.” The composition and singing of inspired psalms, often accompanied by musical instruments, were already closely linked to the liturgical celebrations of the Old Covenant. The Church continues and develops this tradition: “Address . . . one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart.” “He who sings prays twice.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1156

Singing should have the principle place:

Lifting our voices in the native chant of the Church:

Eastern Rite Catholic Churches sing the entire ligurgy:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Filled with the fullness of God:

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