Singing the Mass adds less than 3 minutes to the length of Mass, yet it completely revolutionizes congregational participation. By directly engaging the congregation with simple dialogues and prayers, the priest cultivates a heightened liturgical experience.

  1. Preparations
    1. Talk to your people for a few weeks about how singing a text helps to set the words apart.  Singing helps to raise our hearts to God. You wouldn’t think of SPEAKING the song “Happy Birthday.”
    2. Don’t worry your musicians. They don’t have to change their songs.
  2. Practice by yourself
    1. Open the Missal to Appendix 1 (various Chants for the Order of Mass) and sing
      1. the Greeting, Penitential Act – try the one that includes the Kyrie, Final Blessing, Dismissal
    2. Keep going
      1. Choose a Presidential Prayer Tone
        1. Sing the Collect, Prayer over the Offerings, the Preface Dialogue
      2. Tones for the Readings – introduction and acclamation
      3. The Lord’s Prayer – just Sing it
    3. Reread Musicam Sacram for the Vatican II document that promotes singing the Mass.
    4. Here is a handy chart which shows how to build a sung Mass from the ground up.


      Singing the Mass at Saint Peter’s Church, Omaha with Fr. Gregory Carl and Music Director – Zachary Turner.

  3. Technological Preparations
    1. If possible, turn down your mics. Don’t overwhelm the acoustic sound of the congregation with an amplified voice (yours or a music leader’s). Remember, your singing voice carries better than your speaking voice.
    2. Ask your musician to NOT sing the responses into the mic. Let the congregation find and hear its own voice.
    3. For more insight into how congregational singing works, see the inspiring work of Alice Parker.
  4. Begin slowly with your congregation
    1. At first, you might have to sing the congregational responses with them, but you shouldn’t have to do that for long. Give them a good example to follow and then let them fly on their own.
    2. Start with weekday Mass – your spiritual warriors
      1. For two months
        1. Sing the Greeting, Penitential Act, Collect, Final Blessing, Dismissal
        2. Chant every “The Lord be with you.”
        3. Demonstrate that this is the new normative
          1. Be joyful even when you/they mess up
          2. Be consistent
    3. After two months, begin to sing at the weekend Masses – all of the weekend Masses
      1. Remember, this is a no-cost way to help you and your people to grow in holiness
        1. Sing the Greeting, Penitential Act, Collect, Final Blessing, Dismissal
        2. Chant every “The Lord be with you.”


          Nos encanta cantar la Misa! We love to sing the Mass! – Coro Guadalupano

  5. Helpful reminders
    1. At first, the congregation WILL grumble, mess up, be timid, complain
    2. Keep at it. Joke around with them. Don’t be stern. Be consistent.
    3. Over the next 6 months to 1 year
      1. Hear how your congregation grows in confidence
      2. Listen to them unite their voices in melody and in rhythm
      3. Pray that the children in your congregation receive extra graces as they hear their parents and friends singing the Mass – think “future priests and sisters”
  6.  Holy Days -Go the next step – Sing even more of the Mass – The Eucharistic Prayer

chrstkingchoir3“Trumpets help us to sing the Mass.” – Sacred Heart Choir and Holy Day Brass