Lesson 12: The Gloria

Listen to today’s Lenten Lesson.

What’s the number one song ever?

Hi, this is Fr. Rocky, with our Twelfth Lenten Lesson on the Mass.

The number one song ever, according to me, is the Gloria, which the Church has been singing for two thousand years, and it was first performed by the Choir of Angels over Bethlehem the night Jesus was born.  It is a song of rejoicing because God has sent us a savior!

Painting of singing angels

The Gloria has inspired composers down through the centuries to create stunningly beautiful musical scores for choir and orchestra. Some of the greatest are by Handel and Mozart. But the finest, most sublime setting for the Gloria, is from the Mass “Cum Iubilo”, a classic Gregorian Chant score. But we don’t know who composed it. It is reported that Mozart once said it was the most beautiful music he ever heard.

On very special occasions, the bells are rung during the Gloria: Midnight Mass on Christmas, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, and Easter Vigil.

P.S. The Gloria is a rich and beautiful song. Hear from Pope Francis on the theology behind the Gloria, and its place in the Mass, in this article from our archives.

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Rev. Francis J. Hoffman, "Fr. Rocky" is the Executive Director/CEO of Relevant Radio and a priest of Opus Dei.