Liturgical Music

Music enriches our world and our lives. 

Having fallen upon our ears, music has the amazing ability to reach deep into our hearts: to heal; to console; to give strength and confidence; to unite… "God Defend New Zealand" played as an athlete steps up to the winner's podium often elicits tears from the athlete and rapturous applause form the onlookers. The haunting sound of the lone piper playing "Amazing Grace" in the early hours of the Dawn Parade or the bugler sounding the "Last Post" draws the listeners to remember our fallen dead. Music has the power to touch the very core of who we are.

Music plays a central role in our Catholic worship.

For we Catholics, liturgy and music go hand-in-hand. Beautiful, noble and simple music serves to enrich our liturgical celebrations and draws us ever more deeply into the Paschal Mystery that is the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.


Catholics have a long and noble tradition of liturgical music. For centuries, chant has held central place in our liturgy. However, in the years since Vatican II, chant became less heard in our churches; it seemed "to fall from favour".

Thankfully, there has been a renaissance in the appreciation and use of chant in our liturgy, and rightly so; it is part of our history and tradition. However, while chant should have a special place in our musical repertory, it is not the only style of liturgical music open to us.

Contemporary Compositions

Down through the centuries composers have striven to give "new voice" to the sacred words of the Mass and our other public worship. It is no different today. There are composers, local and international, who work their craft in their efforts to "gift" to the Church, music that lifts the hearts of our praying community "to full, conscious and active participation" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 14).

In Aotearoa New Zealand, our Bishops are keen that we sing music that is worthy for use in the liturgy. It is their intention that every effort be made to ensure that we have a repertoire of liturgical music that is beautiful, noble and simple, so that together as the Body of Christ here in this sacred land, we can "with gratitude in [our] hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God" (Col 3: 16).

New Hymnal - Catholic Worship Book II

A cpmprehensive new worship resource for the Catholic Church in Australia was published in 2016.
For more information, including complete outline of contents visit
or email cwb@morning