LiturgyMusic for the Liturgy

Whenever and wherever the liturgy of the Church is celebrated there is a real sense in which the whole Church is gathered there.

Whether it is just a few people gathered in their parish church for an early morning weekday Mass; or many thousands gathered at an open air Mass during a papal visit; or any other gathering, great or small, to celebrate the liturgy, the whole Church is there. This is one reason why the celebration of the liturgy is never private; the liturgy unites the whole Church. Devotions are more private prayers but the liturgy, the official prayer of the Church, always brings together Christ and the whole Church - the Church near and far, the Church of the living and of the dead - all gathered in worship of God the Father.

The liturgy is the work of Christ which is shared by the people of God - hence the word “liturgy” which comes from the Greek and means “the work of the people.”Photo from the Year of Mercy celebration

Liturgies are sometimes also talked of as “rituals” and this refers to the ways in which we are able to celebrate them together. Ritual refers to the rhythm of the liturgy which gathers us together and enables us to worship together. Rituals, therefore, have a familiar pattern with often repeated elements which help us to be at home, to be together in the way that we worship.

In the growth of our understanding of the liturgy it is important that we get to know the Church’s own understanding. It is, after all, not my liturgy, but our liturgy: that is, it is the liturgy of the Church.

Liturgy is celebrated in a combination of words, song and action. Liturgy has to come alive and cannot remain simply as words on a page. However the Church’s books which assist the liturgy are important in guiding its celebration. Indeed, in an introduction to each of its ritual books, the Church sets out her own understanding (the theology and the practice) of each liturgy. Preparing a liturgy without absorbing this understanding would be to miss out a very important stage.

More general than each particular introduction in the ritual books, our own Bishops have recently given us two documents which can be extremely helpful to priests and people in promoting understanding and assisting in the preparation of liturgies. Celebrating the Mass (CTS Do731) brings together both instruction and pastoral advice relevant to every celebration of the Eucharist. Consecrated for Worship (CTS Do744) brings together rules and advice for building new churches, re-ordering older churches and the general organisation of our places of worship.

Resources for Parish Musicians

There are a number of resources that are useful for Parish Musicians to assist in the preparation of the music for various liturgies.  These are collected here for your benefit.

1. Official Documents

There are a number of official documents that inform and regulate the use of music in the liturgy:

The ‘Musicam Sacram’ is the Instruction on Music in the Liturgy issued in 1967;

The Liturgy Office of England and Wales has a Music resources page which, in addition to general instructions, has a section Jubilate Deo with downloadable resources in the form of chants and a syllabus for the training of Church Musicians;

2. General Resources

There are a number of helpful publications that can be used as a guide when choosing music for the Sunday liturgies. These include:

Society of St. Gregory Liturgy Planner (available with subscription)

Decani Music Liturgy Planner (available with subscription)

For a planning guide from OCP, see

3. Resources for the Year of Mercy

For the Hymn for the Jubilee of Mercy (together with a YouTube performance), see

Diocesan Choir

The Diocesan Choir is composed of singers from all over the Diocese who come together for regular monthly rehearsals at the Pastoral Centre.  They lead the music at major Diocesan events such as the Chrism Mass, Ordinations to the Priesthood, and major feast days and festivals.

Membership is open to all singers.  We especially welcome altos and tenors.  An ability to read music is desirable but not essential. All music is provided at rehearsals.  For enquiries about joining the choir please contact the Cathedral, [email protected]

Our repertoire over the last year has included

Resonemus laudibus  (14th century carol)

Ave Verum   (Byrd)

Laudate Dominum   (Mozart)

Ave Maria (from Vespers)  (Rachmaninov)

I was glad   (Parry)

Cantique de Jean Racine   (Fauré)

Ceremony of Carols   (Britten)

Gloria in excelsis Deo   (Thiman)

For the beauty of the earth   (Rutter)

Forthcoming repertoire

Zadoc the Priest   (Handel)

Mass of St. Ralph Sherwin  (Jeff Ostrowski)

Requiem  (Fauré)

Upcoming rehearsals and events

There are no upcoming events.