Music Plan

Format for Liturgical Music
  • Prelude Music: ends when the five-minute church bells ring
  • If there are no announcements, quiet music may continue
  • Entrance Hymn: ends when the priest is at the altar
  • Gloria / Kyrie: usually only sung on special occasions
  • Responsorial Psalm: Respond and Acclaim book used
  • Gospel Acclamation: Respond and Acclaim book used
  • Offertory Music: ends when the priest washes his hands
  • Mass Music: always sung at every weekend Mass
  • Communion Hymn: begins when the priest receives Communion
  • Other Music:¬†ends when the priest is ready for the closing prayer
  • Closing Music: as the people are walking out of church after Mass

Music is the servant of the liturgy, not the master of it. The music may never delay or interrupt the liturgical action. Musicians should face the altar as their focal point, not the congregation.

Processional hymns end when each procession is over: at the entrance procession, the offertory procession, the communion procession, and the closing procession. Only the Mass parts are sung in their entirety (Gloria, Sanctus, etc.)

The responsorial psalm is not the high point of the liturgy of the word, but a reflective response between the readings. Finally, choirs and cantors sing best when the congregation overpowers them in robust musical participation.

People are often surprised to learn that the “four hymns” of the Mass are processional hymns that conclude when the liturgical action is over, or when a new ritual action is ready to begin. However, the “closing hymn” is not even mentioned in the Roman Missal because “the Mass is ended” and we are told to “go in peace.” While singing a hymn at the end is possible, it is still a processional hymn. So, the congregation should not be trapped in their pews to sing it after the Mass is technically over, even before it starts. Choral or instrumental music is also appropriate at the end.