Canadian new Mass settings

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is publishing three new Mass settings of the revised English text, all usable with keyboard or guitar, by Fr. Geoffrey Angeles, John Dawson, and Michel Guimont, along with the ICEL chants. Have a listen here.

I see that the diocese of Toronto is gently mandating these settings.


  1. I’m glad I don’t live in Toronto. The settings sound quite trite. The Glorias all sound like ballads not majestic hymns of praise.

  2. The Gloria on the ICEL website (`Gloria XV’, I guess) is less sprightly than the chant in CCCB’s “Celebrate in Song” hymnal supplement (more than one tone, two sharps in its key signature :)), which is nevertheless referenced as ICEL copyright 2010. Toronto has noted the ambiguity of gently mandating an `ICEL chant Gloria’.

    The ICEL Lord’s prayer chant uses the `familiar in the U.S. sacramentary/Snow tone’, but with many different inflection choices. I would expect this to be confusing (doubly so in Canada, where a different musical setting is known), and am wondering why this was rewritten. (So you could sing English and Latin simultaneously on Pentecost :)?)

    1. correction to what I wrote: the chant Gloria in CCCB’s “Celebrate in Song” clearly credits text to ICEL and music ‘Anonymous’, unlike the other chants with text and setting credited to ICEL.
      Toronto’s website notes this, providing links to the ICEL chants, including the ICEL Gloria XV.
      Which one they gently mandate is not clear to me: maybe it’s clear to people who live there. I like both.

  3. The request is to choose from among these settings for the first year, and our parish will comply. This simply means that our process of “shopping” through all available settings will be continuing until November 2012. Who knows? Maybe our decision can be helped by a sifting process elsewhere, as other settings are put to actual use.

    I still have a question about it, though: for access to any of these settings beyond the chant, do we really have to buy a whole mini-hymnal with forty songs we don’t need? It doesn’t seem like good stewardship to me.

  4. Do the chant first – it is the default setting for a good reason – and then decide a) if you need a more elaborate setting and b) whether a return to a pop-music setting is the way forward.

  5. We are not well pleased with the new Mass settings. We will obey but under protest. It is not clear whether we are allowed to copy the Mass settings and hymns from Celebrate in Song for the choir. Do we still have to buy the music in order to sing the harmonies? We have tried with some success to promote the best of both worlds with harmonious music and congregation participation. If we are forced to use drab music then I fear that it wil be the end of the work we have been trying to do. I repeat, do we still have to buy music for the choir or can we print music for the choir from the disc?

  6. (1) The ArchToronto website for the implementation of the Missal clearly states that the ICEL Chant Setting for the Gloria is not the one found in Celebrate in Song (CIS).
    We actually do not know which ‘version’ of the Gloria chant notation would be found in the Canadian publication of the 3rd Edition of the Missal – not until we receive it from the CCCB.
    As with previous comments, it is not clear which Gloria would be used (or mandated) in a chant setting. I am very curious to know.

    (2) I personally think that all four Canadian settings’ of the Gloria could be better, but I have settled with setting ‘B’ as the one most geared for congregational singing of the Mass (and note, not ‘at’ Mass).

    (3) I realize and agree that the mini-hymnal is ‘useless’ for the most part, since the additional hymns are not the point of it all. The almost full text of the basic order of Mass in the new translation for the benefit of one who follows form the pew, as well as the notation for the (mandated) settings (for now), I think are worth the $10 they charge for it.

    (4) If you buy the CD-rom, you will have access to notation for the settings in keyboard and guitar form. If harmonies have been given by the composer, you will have those as well. Mass Setting B, for instance, does not have an ‘official’ harmony – though I am (reliably) told that one is in the works.

    (5) We all know the CCCB is fast when they shouldn’t be, and slow when they need to be. Let’s just live with what we have and be happy and thankful the Missal itself is being implemented at the same time as the rest of the English-speaking world.
    And pray – for the implementation, and the process of transition – that it be a period of renewal and not ‘just’ the mechanics or ‘aesthetics.’

  7. I sincerely hope that any comment I leave here will be regarded as an honest attempt at improving the music and with only the best of intentions.
    I have been a Catholic for my whole life and a professional singer for more than thirty years.
    Rather than dance around the topic, let me just say that putting music to words is meant to be our way of enhancing the message. It is intended to sweeten the words and to help us deliver each phrase with emotion.
    To say that “All four Canadian settings’ of the Gloria could be better” is an act of kindness.
    In many cases (not just the Glorias) the phrasing doesn’t match the words. The music does not flow and the tune is unpredictable from one note to the other, not just line by line.
    These are not tunes that people will sing and remember.
    Nor does the music in any way enhance the message.
    Are there any more options?

  8. I found this site when I was looking to contact Geoffrey Angeles to see about any Preface, Doxology etc music he might have composed to link his Mass settings with what our priest would like to sing.

    And having just transposed the Setting A guitar chords to easier -to -play chords that our parish music ministry has decided will be our agreed upon ‘one Canadian setting’, I am disappointed that the music is so complex. Our congregation is a SINGING one, but we will all be tested with this new music indeed. The Gloria… well… at least the refrain is catchy, but the Holy Holy ?… sigh… what percentage of the Church is a professional singer to follow all the sharps and flats? I think all of a dozen people in our congregation read music.

    I agree with Jim up above. These are not tunes that people will sing and remember…easily.

    Why wasn’t there a guitarist involved? Or someone with non choir led ‘people’ in mind?

    Ah well… All to the Glory of God, right?

    1. I play the organ in a very small church and I can really relate to your email as I am not an accomplished pianist and have to practise many hours. I can’t transpose but am really interested in the easier-to-play chords that you have created. I’m having trouble to sleep over this but vow to overcome my fears – for the Glory of God.

  9. Our diocese seems content in ordering the use of the Setting A mass. So, where is there an oboist available for all the masses in our parish? or any other small parish? Any “C” instrument will suffice, but I’ll wager most small parishes will be hard-pressed to find any. Without the oboe part, the mass sounds trite and hook-less ~ very unmusical in comparison to others available or (one hopes) yet to be written.

    So what wizz-bangs came up with these alternatives? Bunch of atonal dolts, IMHO. Certainly not musicians who need to learn/play these unimaginative ‘tunes’ (?). Sounds like a money grab to me. Churches have lots of money to spend, yet again, on a whack of new music and have competent groups of musicians to play them ~ NOT.

    I am considering the questions I have on the new music and I hope to get answers from the parish and diocese when I pose them. If I don’t get agreeable answers I have to consider leaving the music to sheeple content to blindly follow the questionable dictates of the dubious musical leadership. The implementation was not done well! Difficult to say, “Yes, my Lord!” to mediocre material. (and there’s another example!)

  10. Paula Jones,

    I came from a sleeping Catholiic to a Holy Ghost full of life catholic and suddenly they want to bring us back to death again
    I love the fact that they add a lot more praises to the gloria
    but the melody should remain the same. The Catholic had come a long way the youth are enjoying the masses a lot more why take the joy and put us back to sleep again why hold us hostage to the tune of all the changes for a whole
    year. I will never leave my church but as plasm 150 make a joyful noise unto the lord, Let people be free and praise their in their way once they are not breaking the teachings of the church

  11. I am frankly shocked at the fear of “sharps and flats” and the lack of musicianship within the small churches! None of this music is difficult to play for an organist or pianist especially those leading a congregation or choir! Surely you have some knowledge of music to be in the position you are in!
    Furthermore, the only “difficult” song to sing – say in the Angeles Mass – is the Gloria with its “unmusical”, roaming, lack of melody.
    There are, yes, many, many more musical, beautiful mass settings, and I hope there will be more to come in the future. For now I have chosen the Angeles as our Mass setting and even though we do not have an oboe or C instrument available, we still make the setting as exciting as we can! But I do totally agree – these are not tunes that people will sing and remember !

  12. This is a great song. We always sing this during our Masses here in Brantford. Though I have a hard time following it, and this is the first time I listened to this website to a great choir. I played it over and over again as I prepare my breakfast and reading the notes on the breakfast table then now I have a very good appreciation of it. My experience is that, once I internalized it, sing the song and follow it to every note over and over again I could feel how the composer want it to be rendered. This is a song that you have to place a full attention to it, try to sing it by heart then one will realize its greatness. Now that I am a bit confident in singing this song, I believe I will be praising the Lord during mass the proper way (which should be the case). I just found out too that this can be sung when one is cheerful anytime of the day as well as when you feelling sad. This song when sung correctly express our Praise, Humility and Suplication to God. It shows who we are in the eyes of the Glory of God. I hope this website will place all the songs in the CBW so it would be easy for us Catholics to practice the songs. Please note that I dont even know how to read notes. I learn to sing thru hearing. I just use the notes to give me a heads up whether I have to go up or down but I do appreciate a song when it is a good one. This is the reason why this song need a little of a special attention in order to appreciate it. This song throws us out of our comfort zone which I believe is good in order to make us pay attention when we are in the Church.

  13. So here I am, back after a year of playing and singing Mass Setting A. Our three church-parish is meeting tonight to plan for what other Mass to learn, now that we have mastered the Angeles one. We are a singing parish and I am so proud of our congregation learning and raising the roof with even the “Glory to God!” What will be next….Marty Haugen’s new Mass of Creation?, familiar enough to adjust. Advent is coming!

    peace to all

  14. As a ‘pinch hitter’ from a different church, I am flummoxed by the A-Version Mass setting I have to play at the last moment – the regular organist is cut off by floods from playing the wedding. Just a melody line underscored by dozens of arcane harmony changes!
    I can sight ready almost anything but this is a wander on the wild side of harmonic invention! It would be nice to be able to download and print something I could play but it looks like every particle costs money, unlike the tunes from Having written music myself, I appreciate the freedom to wander through the harmony but, having worked with talented amateurs, I realize the need for clear, easily playable accomp.
    And the organ is pretty limited, but that will keep me out of trouble!

  15. For anyone who is still looking for an alternative to the three “Celebrate in Song” Mass settings, I humbly submit my own, entitled “Mass of the Seraphim”. My goal was to craft melodies which were very singable while still being musically interesting (and avoiding triteness!). Recordings and sheet music (congregation parts, piano, organ, guitar; SATB and string quartet forthcoming) are freely available for download at As of now, this Mass setting has been approved for liturgical use in the archdiocese of Edmonton, AB, at St. Joseph’s College Chapel, so please contact your local bishop to request approval if you would like to use it at your parish.

  16. Is there any unison and organ musical setting of ICEL: mass texts that is at least as harmonically modern as the style of the 20th century French composer Jean Langlais?

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