Our Diocese

Singing the Mass in parishes and schools of the diocese

The Archbishop's Council has recommended that all parishes should be familiar with singing the Missal setting of the principal songs of the Mass, and also with the revised St Anne’s setting of the these songs by James McMillan.

The first recommendation is made to promote the quality of participation that is proper to the Mass in all circumstances, and the second to provide a further common setting which can be used in diocesan celebrations where people gather from a number of communities.

Parishes will often have additional settings in their repertoire. Some additional settings of the Ordinary of the Mass which are commended for use in the diocese are:

  • Edwin Fawcett: Mass of Blessed John Paul II (A setting in a very contemporary style with catchy melodic motifs, guitar chords, piano part including simplified accompaniments for the less confident pianist)
  • Christopher Walker: The New Celtic Liturgy published by Decani Music (piano and guitar chords, revised setting, nice vocal / instrumental harmonies in Gloria which has a chorus and chanted verses, separate instrumental part in Lamb of God)
  • Nick Baty: Warrington Acclamations published by Concept Music (guitar chords and piano accompaniment, flute part, simple vocal harmonies which could be doubled on instruments)
  • Gloria and Gospel Acclamation from Tony Alonso: Mass of Joy and Peace published by GIA Publications Inc (An audio recording, sheet music and instrumental parts available through GIA website, Gloria has refrain and the same tune is used in the Gospel Acclamation, guitar chords and piano acccompaniment)
  • Dan Schutte: Mass of Christ the Savior published by OCP (An audio recording is available through OCP website. The Gloria has a refrainset to a catchy tune which is repeated throughout the different sections of the setting, and which some recommend singing it faster than the metronome marking).

There are clear advantages when the same Mass settings are used in school and parish. However it is sometimes easier for parishes to learn settings, whereas in schools - especially where Mass is celebrated less frequently - this may be more of a challenge.

Schools in particular (but also parishes) should recognise that it is not essential to learn complete Mass settings

  • The Gloria rarely occurs at school Masses so when one is needed it might be more useful to become familiar with a setting with verses sung by a soloist and a chorus sung by everyone.
  • The Pentitential Act and the Lamb of God might be said
  • Students may learn only one of the three Memorial Acclamations.

It is important however to sing the Gospel Acclamation (Alleluia outside Lent); Holy, Memorial Acclamation and Amen (known collectively as the Eucharistic Acclamations).

Additional assistance may be found in the resources prepared by the Society of St Gregory available here.


Contact details:
Fr Allen Morris
liturgy@rcdow.org.uk