December 12: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe begins at midnight on Monday, December 12.  Devotional practices associated with this Feast, including the singing of the Mañanitas, could, however, take place in the evening of December 11, so long as the thematic focus of the Third Sunday of Advent (joy at the forthcoming celebration of the Lord’s Nativity) is maintained in these celebrations.

“Liturgies of Advent” Seminar at Saint Joseph’s Seminary – November 30

On Wednesday, November 30, from 7:00-8:30pm, Saint Joseph’s Seminary will host a presentation on the liturgies of the Advent season.  The talk will be given by Father Matthew Ernest, S.T.D., professor and director of liturgy at Saint Joseph’s Seminary and director of the archdiocesan Liturgy Office.  The presentation will discuss the history, themes, and liturgical rites of the Advent season.  This seminar is intended for anyone who wishes to learn more about the Church’s liturgical expression of this beautiful season of joyful expectation.  Registration may be found  at the Liturgy Office website.

New Guidelines for the Celebration of Marriage

Liturgical and musical guidelines for the celebration of marriage have been published by the Office of Liturgy.  These guidelines are intended to serve as a pastoral aid to clergy and others who are involved in the planning and celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage within the Archdiocese of New York.  The guidelines include a discussion of several new elements of the marriage rite found in the revised Order of Celebrating Matrimony.  This document may be accessed and downloaded at the Liturgy Office website.

Liturgical Q and A: Gloria at Nuptial Mass

Since the promulgation and subsequent implementation of the revised Order of Celebrating Matrimony, the Liturgy Office has received a number of questions regarding the use of the Gloria in ritual Masses.  As discussed in the September 2014 issue of Liturgy Update, both the Roman Missal and the Order of Celebrating Matrimony indicate that the Gloria is to be sung or said in ritual Masses for the celebration of marriage, including those that occur during Advent and Lent.

The inclusion of this ritual text in the marriage rite can admittedly present pastoral challenges, particularly when either the text of the Gloria or the musical setting that is selected is unknown to some members of the congregation.  In these cases, it may be helpful to include the full text and music of the Gloria in a program or worship aid.  Keeping in mind that other aspects of the marriage rite may also be unfamiliar to those gathered (such as the acclamation following the reception of consent), participation aids can be of great assistance in promoting the active participation of the congregation at multiple points throughout the wedding liturgy.

With regard to the musical setting to be chosen for this text, the various options given by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal [GIRM] for the proclamation of Gloria should be carefully considered in light of the pastoral circumstances of the wedding and the desire to foster the participation of those gathered:

[The Gloria] is intoned by the Priest or, if appropriate, by a cantor or by the choir; but it is sung either by everyone together, or by the people alternately with the choir, or by the choir alone.  If not sung, it is to be recited either by everybody together or by two choirs responding one to the other (53).

In an effort to encourage congregational singing of the Gloria, some parishes have found it helpful to use either a recto tono setting with a modulating accompaniment or a setting in which a simple musical theme is repeated throughout the singing of the hymn.  A refrain Gloria can also be used to promote participation, although the USCCB has noted that through-composed settings offer a clearer expression of the text as given in the Roman Missal (Sing to the Lord, 149).  Lastly, while the Gloria may be recited, efforts should be made to sing this text, bearing in mind the festive character of the occasion, the presence of musicians to accompany and lead the congregation, and the GIRM’s description of the Gloria as a “a most ancient and venerable hymn by which the Church, gathered in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb” (53).

Liturgical Preparation Aid for the Seasons of Advent and Christmas

The Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions [FDLC] has published a free resource for the seasons of Advent and Christmas.  This preparation aid includes:

  • The full text of a Rite of Reconciliation of Several Penitents with Individual Confession and Absolution;
  • Music suggestions;
  • Sample penances;
  • The text of the Christmas Proclamation (to be sung before the Mass at Midnight); and,
  • The text of the Proclamation of the date of Easter (to be sung before the Mass on Epiphany).

This resource may be downloaded from the Liturgy Office website and distributed freely with the permission of the Confraternity for Christian Doctrine, the USCCB, and the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

Supplement to the Lectionary Announced

lectionary 9780814645130 186x300 - Supplement to the Lectionary AnnouncedSupplement to the Lectionary Announced

The USCCB’s Secretariat of Divine Worship has announced the issuing and forthcoming publication of the Lectionary for Mass Supplement.  This resource will reflect the many changes and additions made in recent years to the Roman Missal, the General Roman Calendar, and the Lectionary.  It is anticipated that the Supplement will serve as an addendum to the current Lectionary until it is revised sometime in the future.  The Lectionary for Mass Supplement will introduce several new features, including:

  • Additions and emendations made to the Lectionary, such as those for the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children (January 22), and the memorials of Saint Marianne Cope (January 23), Our Lady of Fatima (May 13), Saint Pius of Pietrelcina (September 23), Saint John XXIII (October 11), and Saint John Paul II (October 22);
  • A change resulting from the promulgation of the Order of Celebrating Matrimony, Second Edition; this revised liturgical book includes  an additional New Testament reading (Ephesians 4:1-6), which will now be included in the Supplement;
  • A consolidation of the readings and psalms for the Mass for Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life, which may be used on January 22 (Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children);
  • Readings for new votive Masses: The Mercy of God, Our Lady, Queen of Apostles, and Saint John the Baptist;
  • Additions to the General and US Calendars reflecting the canonizations of saints and the transfers of liturgical celebrations since 2002, including the memorials of Saint André Bessette (January 6), Saint Damien de Veuster (May 10), Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (July 14), Saint Jane Frances de Chantal (August 12), and Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (December 9); and,
  • The inclusion of proper Psalms for the extended form of the Pentecost Vigil, along with the Old Testament readings for this celebration.

The Divine Worship Secretariat has indicated that the Lectionary for Mass Supplement will be published by early 2017.  Once it is available, this resource may be used immediately, and the material contained in the Supplement will be included in future liturgical ordos.

Read more about the Lectionary for Mass Supplement in our December newsletter.

National Day of Prayer – Feast of Saint Peter Claver, September 9

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In the wake of racial tensions and tragic moments within several communities in the United States, the USCCB has invited Catholic communities to unite in a “Day of Prayer for Peace in our Communities” on September 9, the feast of Saint Peter Claver.  It is intended that this effort will serve as a way to “nurture open, honest and civil dialogue in our communities struggling with violence in many forms” (letter from Archbishop Wilton Gregory to the Bishops of the United States, dated August 11, 2016).  Parishes are invited to observe this Day of Prayer in one or more of the following ways:

  • Celebrants may wish to give a homily or include petitions in the Universal Prayer emphasizing the themes of healing, justice, peace, and unity;
  • Mass readings may be taken from the Masses “For Peace and Justice” (Lectionary Nos. 887-891) or “For Reconciliation” (Lectionary Nos. 892-896);
  • One or more prayers for peace may be recited after the celebration of Mass; and,
  • Parishes may wish to schedule a prayer service for community healing.  Prayers could invoke the intercession of African American candidates for canonization, including Venerables Pierre Toussaint and Henriette Delille and Servants of God Mary Elizabeth Lange and Father Augustus Tolton.

Fall Liturgy and Music Courses at Saint Joseph’s Seminary

Saint Joseph’s Seminary has announced that the following liturgy and sacred music courses will be offered this fall on Monday evenings (7:00pm-9:30pm) from September 12 – December 19:

Introduction to Liturgy – Fr. Matthew Ernest, S.T.D. (Yonkers and Huntington campuses)

Principles of Sacred Music – Dr. Jennifer Donelson, D.M.A. (Yonkers and Huntington campuses)

These courses are offered in conjunction with the Saint Cecilia Academy for Pastoral Musicians, a four-course, fully accredited program offered through Saint Joseph’s Seminary in the field of liturgical music.  Sponsored parish musicians receive a 50% discount off Seminary tuition when taking courses through the Saint Cecilia Academy.  For more information, visit

Liturgical Music: Copyrights, Licensing, and Permission for Use

The Liturgy Office frequently receives questions concerning permissions to reproduce liturgical music for use in worship aids and liturgical programs.  The following information outlines several principles and procedures having to do with music reproduction by parishes.  Pastors and music directors are encouraged to contact the Liturgy Office with additional questions.

What is meant by copyright?  “Copyright” is the legal protection of a creative work.  Using a work without permission that is under copyright is against the law, and penalties can be financially severe.  There is no exemption from copyright law for churches.  Creative works are protected for 95 years (if published before 1978), or for the life of the creator of the work plus 70 years if published after January 1, 1978.

Why should a parish be concerned about reprinting copyrighted materials?  Composers and arrangers rely on royalties for their income and publishers rely on sales.  They cannot produce future resources without the money generated by the sale of their resources.  “Churches and other institutions have a legal and moral obligation to seek proper permissions and to pay for reprinting of published works when required” (USCCB, Sing to the Lord, 105).

Is it always necessary to seek permission to use a copyrighted music and text?  Whenever a copyrighted work is reproduced in any form, permission must be obtained.  This applies to worship aids, bulletins, song books, handouts, and programs for special services, such as musicals, Christmas programs, and Lenten prayer services.

Where is copyright information indicated?  Copyright information is frequently given at the bottom of the first page or in an index in the front or back of a hymn or song collection.  If no copyright indication is present, the work may be in the public domain, but this should be confirmed with the publisher.  Often, works in the public domain are indicated by the designation “P.D.”

What music licensing companies are available to churches?  Permission to reproduce most liturgical music may be obtained through the following companies, each of which offers several options for the purchase of licenses (e.g., annual, event, single occasion): •

In order to determine if a license will cover the use of a particular song, an online search should be performed on the respective company’s website.  Note that, in individual instances, copyright permission may need to be obtained by contacting the individual who holds the copyright to an individual song, arrangement, or text.  This contact information is usually found in the copyright holder’s index of a hymnal or online.  Sample permission requests may be obtained from the Liturgy Office.

What is “Creative Commons”?   This license allows material to be copied or reprinted as needed for worship without obtaining permission or using a copyright license.  The only use for which permission is required is if the material is to be used commercially (i.e., sold).  Attribution to authors and composers should still be given in worship aids and programs.

Is a license needed to reproduce only the words of a hymn?  Hymn and song texts, as well as music, are protected under copyright laws.  Additionally, copyrighted words cannot be modified without permission.

How should a worship aid or program be formatted to indicate that a license has been obtained?  The specific formatting of worship aids and programs are directed by the company which grants the license. This formatting indicates that the music is being copied with permission.

How long should a parish keep a copy of a worship aid for which copyright permission has been obtained?  A copy of a worship aid or program should be kept on file for at least three years.

May a parish use a music book specific to a year (e.g., Breaking Bread 2005) after the year indicated?  In these cases, parishes pay a copyright fee to use those music books only for the intended year.  After the indicated year has passed, the books must be discarded, and new music books should be purchased.   Parishes who wish to use the same music book yearly should consider purchasing a hymnal and not an annual music book.

Where can a parish find out more information on copyright licensing?  Additional information may be obtained by contacting the Liturgy Office.

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