Music in LiturgyCourse Level: Basic

Course Summary

This course covers the basic role of music within the liturgical rite of the Roman Catholic Church.  Special emphasis is given to introductory best practices in planning hymnody for Sunday Masses and Feast days.

Successful completion of this course earns 2.5 CEU's. Click here for more information about CEU's.

General Course Objectives

  • Articulate the basic function of music within the liturgical rite and why it is a key component to liturgical celebrations
  • Comprehend the differentiation between music within Mass that enacts the rite, accompanies the rite, or is optional to the rite
  • Understand the basic structure of the Roman Catholic liturgy and where music falls within it
  • Demonstrate an introductory understanding of how to select appropriate hymnody for Sunday liturgical celebrations

Course Materials

  • No books required. All readings are online.

Course Structure and Highlights

  • Week 1: Why do we sing? Music and the Mass
    • Be introduced to basic liturgical music norms set forth by the Church through the Second Vatican Council
    • Consider the charge for full and active participation within the liturgy
    • Consider Internal v. External Participation
  • Week 2: What do we sing? And the Introductory Rites
    • Consider what constitutes proper liturgical music as opposed to sacred or devotional music.
    • Be introduced to elements of the Introductory Rites that involve music.
    • Examine ‘other’ sacred music in relation to liturgical music
    • Examine music proper to the Introductory Rites
  • Week 3: Music and the Liturgy of the Word
    • Be familiar with music proper to the Liturgy of the Word
    • Comprehend a general overview of the Liturgy of the Word
    • Consider the centrality of music in the proclamation of the Responsorial Psalm
    • Consider how certain music enacts vs. accompanies the liturgical rite
    • Be introduced to the Gospel Acclamation and the language used during various liturgical seasons
  • Week 4: Music and the Liturgy of the Eucharist/Concluding Rite
    • Comprehend a general overview of the Liturgy of the Eucharist
    • Consider the importance of congregational singing during the acclamations afforded to the assembly in the Eucharistic prayer
    • Be introduced to best practice methods for selecting a Mass setting that encourages full and active participation
    • Examine the Communion hymn and Sending Forth hymn
  • Week 5: Selecting Proper Hymnody and Course Synthesis
    • Return to the overview of music within the liturgical rite and suggestions for best practices of selecting music
    • Examine resources that assist with the selection of hymnody in the planning of liturgy.
    • Apply principles for encouraging full and active participation within the gathered assembly at each liturgical celebration.