OCF 372: Music Ministry at the Office of the Dead

We read earlier of the priority of music (OCF 30-33) in celebration of the vigil, the committal, and of course, the funeral. No less is true for any celebration of the office for the dead.

372. The sung celebration of the liturgy of the hours “is more in keeping with the nature of this prayer, a mark of both higher solemnity and closer union of hearts in offering praise to God.” (Musicam Sacram 37) Whenever possible, therefore, singing at morning and evening prayer should be encouraged.

In the choice of music preference should be given to the singing of the hymn, the psalmody, and the gospel canticle. The introductory verse, the responsory, the intercessions, the Lord’s Prayer, and the dismissal may also be sung.

An organist or other instrumentalist and a cantor should assist in singing the hymns, psalms, and responses, The parish community should also prepare booklets or participation aids that contain an outline of the hour, the texts and music belonging to the people, and directions for posture, gesture, and movement.


The first paragraph in this sections refers to a period of optimism for the sung liturgy of the revised rite. I can hardly imagine a Rome rite liturgy without music–certainly not any celebration of the liturgy of the hours.

Paragraph 2 gives a sensible priority, aware of the tradition of hymnody in the office and the central importance of psalms and the Gospel Canticle. Within that trio, the priority would be the canticle, the psalms, and the hymn. The other five elements are not always sung when prayed in common. Possibly the intercessions and certainly the Lord’s Prayer would be within the repertoire of any parish. Of the others, the responsory may be the biggest stretch, but not much if one uses one of the settings given in OCF 403. A brief song is also a possibility here.

Paragraph 3 is just common sense.



About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Order of Christian Funerals, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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