Taken From Pastoral Notes for the Roman Missal – Canadian Conference Catholic Bishops

45. The primary minister of music is the assembly itself. Ministers of music lead the assembly in song and foster the joy that characterizes the kingdom feast. Among the rich variety of musicians who form this ministry are cantors, leaders of music groups, singers, organists and other instrumentalists, and leaders of song. Through their work, the entire assembly is enabled to raise its voice in songs of praise to the God of salvation.41

  • Since the Responsorial Psalm is an integral part of the proclamation of the word, the cantor sings the verses of the psalm from the ambo.
  • The leader of song leads the assembly in hymns, acclamations and psalm refrains as required. The leader of song does not stand at the ambo when fulfilling this ministry except for the Responsorial Psalm.42

46. Ministers of music should be provided with a space that is integrated within the assembly and that allows ample room for instruments and other necessary articles. The music group’s ability to lead the assembly in song should be a priority when choosing this space.43

47. The human voice always holds a primary place in the singing of the Church.

  • Prerecorded music must never replace the singing of the assembly, nor should it displace the ministry of music ministers. Only in cases of real necessity should prerecorded music be used in liturgical celebrations and then only to support and enhance the singing of the assembly.
  • Instruments are intended to serve, not to replace or obscure the praise that comes from the heart.44

48. Since the organ has a special capacity to elicit and support joyful song, selecting and placing one within the assembly should be a key part of the planning for church construction and renovation.45

49. Communities should also be open to the technological advances of the present age.46 However, these advances should not replace the human voice or the use of ministers.

39 CSL, nos. 26-29; GIRM, nos. 98-107.

40 CSL, no. 29; LM, no. 55.Introduction 9