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Sacred Music

UPCOMING EVENTS

Sunday Vespers at 5:15pm…every week!

  • As many know, the Cathedral has long celebrated Sunday Vespers (Evening Prayer) during the Season of Advent.
  • That said, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum concilium) and even the Council of Baltimore requested that Sunday Vespers be celebrated publicly and weekly, especially in Cathedral churches.
  • Following this advice, and desiring to more fully sanctify the Lord’s Day here in Birmingham, we are now celebrating Sunday Vespers at 5:15pm every Sunday.
  • Vespers lasts from 30-45 minutes, and is prayed mostly in English in traditional forms according to the Liturgy of the Hours. Antiphons for the psalmody are sung in Latin (the edition of which was recently promulgated by the Holy See and Solesmes Abbey in the Antiphonale Romanum II), as is the Magnificat on occasion.
  • Ordinarily, Evening Prayer will be led by a cantor, but a choir will occasionally be present for more important liturgical days. Please check the music lists on the Orders of Worship page for more details.
  • Vespers orders of worship will be posted in-line with Sunday Mass orders on the Orders of Worship page.
  • Please feel welcome to join us any (and every!) week.

Liturgical Music week-to-week during COVID-19

  • For the most current information on liturgical and sacramental schedules, check the Cathedral frontpage.
  • The 5:00pm (anticipated) Mass has organ voluntaries at the entrance, offertory, communion, and sortie.
  • The Sunday 8:30AM Mass is ordinarily led by a cantor, who leads the proper of the Mass in English. The ordinary is Gregorian, sung by all.
  • The 11:00am Mass is led by the staff singers of Cathedral Choir (who are few in number, and therefore can be socially distanced in the loft). This allows us a unique opportunity to plumb the depths of the “treasury of sacred music” recommended so heartily by the Second Vatican Council and every pontiff since Pope St. Pius X.
    • The Ordinary of the Mass is sung to one of the Masses from the Gregorian Kyriale or to a polyphonic setting. Should you wish to follow along, the CMAA and Solesmes Abbey have graciously made the Gregorian Missal available free for download here.
    • The Proper of the Mass is usually sung according to the Graduale Romanum, but occasionally polyphonic settings are represented as well (Byrd, Handl, and Willan, to name recent examples).
    • Motets and anthems are sung ad libitum, especially during Holy Communion.
  • The Orders of Worship and Music Lists subpage is kept current so that you may see what we are preparing for upcoming weeks!

Livestreamed Masses Archived

In the “Sacred Music” section you can learn about the following sub-topics (also accessible through the menus). In addition, please check out the sacred music information on the diocesan Office of Sacred Liturgy website.