What Music Will be Used at the World Meeting of Families Papal Mass?

by Frank Klose

UPDATE: Here is the worship booklet for this Mass.

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With the release of a compact disc titled, “Sound the Bell,” much of the music that will be sung at the World Meeting of Families Papal mass on Sunday, September 27, 2015 is known. However, a few commenters on Pray Tell have asked further questions, such as what Mass settings will be used, and more.

The liturgical music will be provided by the Papal Mass choir, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Choir, the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul choir, a Black Catholic choir, a Vietnamese choir, as well as a Spanish choir.

Here is the lineup:

Preludes – Papal Mass Choir and Philadelphia Orchestra

  1. Beethoven: Hallelujah from Christus am Olberge, Op. 85
  2. Brahms: III from Symphony No. 3
  3. Mendelssohn: Verlieh uns Frieden
  4. Dvorak: II from New World Symphony
  5. Latona: Look Up and Count the Stars
  6. Durufle: Sanctus from Requiem, Op. 9
  7. Beethoven: IV from Symphony No. 7

Procession of Cardinals and Bishops:

  • Ecce Sacerdos, Elgar
  • The Gift of Love
  • I was Glad, Parry
  • Every Praise, H. Walker

Pope’s Arrival, Entrance onto the Parkway, and Vesting

The Spirit of the Lord, Stopford

Entrance Chant – Exultate Justi, Joncas

Kyrie – Mass of Saints Peter and Paul, Gouin

Gloria – Missa de Angelis

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 19 – from Lectionary Psalms, Guimont, with verses in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese

Acclamation before the Gospel – Festival Alleluia, Chepponis

Creed – Credo III

Universal Prayer – “Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer,” Gibala

Offertory Chant – Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom, Gouin

Sanctus – Chant Mass XVIII

Mystery of Faith – Missal chant in Latin

Great Amen – Mass of the Resurrection, DeBruyn

Lamb of God – Mass of Saints Peter and Paul, Gouin

Communion Chant – The Love of God, Revie

Communion pieces:

  • Himno Eucaristico
  • Gift of Finest Wheat/ Kreutz/Latona
  • Taste and See
  • I Received the Living God/Proulx
  • Giao Uoc
  • Ave Verum Corpus/Mozart
  • Orchestra Meditation – Sheep May Safely Graze/Bach

Marian Antiphon – Ave Maria /Bach /Gounod

Recessional – To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King


  1. Saint-Saens: Finale from Organ Symphony
  2. Saint-Saens: Tollite Hostias from Christmas Oratorio
  3. Rutter: O Clap Your Hands

Three publishers have set up pages showcasing their respective music:

Purchase the CD with Papal mass music here.

Dr. Francis X. Klose is a music director at Saint Katherine of Siena parish in Philadelphia, PA and assistant professor of religious studies at Cabrini College in Radnor, PA.


  1. I wonder if the Vietnamese representation is local, or do they come from other parts of the country. I am not aware of a strong Vietnamese presence in the Philadelphia area. I think of them mostly as settled in the Houston area, in Louisiana, and in California.

  2. Ahh, Bach (hand wave) (obscure M*A*S*H reference) Gounod, the best version of the Ave Maria to sing (imho) – who is singing it?

    1. @Chip Stalter:

      ROFL! Before I even saw your reference to the hand wave, I immediately thought of the comeback line for that: “Tolstoy?” Wow, you don’t see a lot of M*A*S*H lines around here.


      I can’t help finding it somewhat ironical that people expect this type / amount / complexity of music when the Holy Father is in town, but once he leaves, they often return to wanting whatever music can be provided for the least amount of money or other investment while still getting them out of church in less than one hour. Given the Pope’s statements and demonstrated humility, I wonder how he would view this. Would he say that he wanted the same music that the rest of the congregation uses the rest of the year? Would he unite himself in this particular way to “the poor” who don’t experience this type of musical banquet? I wonder what he would say.

      At the same time, I wonder if this type of event doesn’t do a slight disservice to other musicians with smaller budgets / parishes. After big events like this, I often receive comments from parishioners like “How come we don’t have music like that at our Masses”, usually referring to all of type, quantity, and complexity? “Why is the Pope (or Bishop X) the only one who receives this type of treatment? Shouldn’t all Masses be like this if we believe that the Real Presence of Christ is here?” It’s hard not to respond cynically about how many musicians that requires, how many rehearsals that takes, how much the music can cost, not to mention the commitment on the part of the parish to support that type of program. Lately I’ve been prone to respond: “Well, like all big endeavors, it begins with a commitment from each of us. I don’t have the time or the budget to do this all on my own, but if we all pitch in, we can achieve what seems overwhelming. So, when can you start attending choir rehearsals?”

  3. Chip, I fully agree with you – but rather than see the papal masses pared down I would love to see parish masses pumped up. The beauty of an occasion like this is it exposes this kind of glorious music to people who might never otherwise listen to it, or who might dismiss it unheard as elitist and boring.
    Also how wonderful it would be if normal masses could be enriched by at least a little great music instead of always accepting the bland and simplistic tunes – especially noticeable in the formal mass parts such as the Kyrie and Sanctus – which are usually forced on us.
    But fundamentally – as you say – that will all involve a lot more people contributing to the work instead of just complaining!
    PS The Exultate Justis was amazing, I loved it.

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