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Holy Mass and the Organ: They Grew Up Together

In the Latin Church, the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things.

Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Article 120

The Catholic Mass and pipe organs have been together for 1,300 years. The only musical instrument used in Holy Mass longer than the organ is the human voice.

Not only does the organ add a wonderful splendor to the liturgy, but the organ is also the only musical instrument that can project and sustain long, broad, full, musical sound, supporting congregational singing in a large room. This is because the organ can sustain music notes indefinitely, unlike pianos, keyboards, and guitars which must be constantly struck or strummed because their sound begins decaying immediately.

Like a congregation, a pipe organ is made of many individual pipes, some large, some medium, some small. But when all of the individual pipes are used together, one unified sound is produced.

Did you know that only the priest performs more liturgical actions than the organist at Holy Mass? 17 out of 41 liturgical actions utilize the organ or an organist!


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