music

BC Statement - Mass Settings - end of transitional period

During the process of the new translation of the Roman Missal the question of the musical setting of the text was one that concerned the bishops. They understood that not only do we sing at Mass but that we should sing the Ordinary parts of the Mass itself. In order to encourage parishes to do this, from Easter 2011 the bishops permitted the use of the new translation when it was sung. This enabled many parishes to make the transition to new and revised musical settings of the text smoothly. Congregations found that singing proved to be an effective way for people to learn and pray the new translation.

A feature of the Roman Missal is the integration of music into the text, offering the Church a normative musical setting of the liturgy. This has provided simple, basic chants which can be used on Sundays and weekdays. These chants offer a common setting whenever Catholics come together for Mass.

In addition to the Missal chants other settings have been published suitable for different musical resources. These include both new compositions, and others where the music has been revised in conformity with the new translations.

The Bishops’ Conference recognised that it would take some time for settings to become available and for some parishes, schools and communities to find musical settings suitable to their capabilities and resources. It is now three years since the permission to begin celebrating with musical settings of the Roman Missal, 3rd edition was given. The Bishops’ Conference has decided that from Pentecost Sunday, 8 June 2014 only settings of the Ordinary of the Mass using the new translation are permitted to be sung at Mass. Settings using the previous translation or paraphrased texts may no longer be used in our parishes, schools and communities.

The renewal of the Church’s music for the new translation has required much effort and cooperation by composers, musicians, priests and congregations which is now bearing fruit in the celebration of the liturgy. As the wisdom from tradition reminds us: ‘Whoever sings well, prays twice over’.”

It agrees that the statement be published in Lent 2014 and that from Pentecost Sunday 2014 settings using previous translations or paraphrased texts may no longer be used at Mass. 

Bishops' Conference Statement (pdf)