Ask a Franciscan

Can We Sing the Our Father?

Q. Why can’t we sing the Our Father at Mass? When I asked our parish organist, the response was that our parish was told not to do this.

A. There is no general prohibition about this. I have participated in several Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica or in its square when the Our Father was sung in Latin. I have also participated in Masses where it was sung in English or in other languages.

Some musical settings of this text, however, are more appropriate for solo singing than for congregational singing.

The “General Instruction of the Roman Missal” (3rd rev. ed.) explains: “Since in these times the faithful from different countries come together more frequently, it is desirable that these faithful know how to sing together at least some parts of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin, especially the profession of faith and the Lord’s Prayer, set to simpler melodies” (41). This is true even if these prayers are sung in other languages.

Unfortunately, people sometimes make liturgical or other rules based on their personal preferences and not on what the Church permits or requires.

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