Are songs by "Matt Maher" approved for Catholic Liturgy?
  • Hello to all! I would like to receive clarification - I have seen songs by worship artist Matt Maher and others used in Catholic Liturgy, such as "Lord I Need You", or "Kyrie Eleison" often for youth Masses.
    However, are those songs approved for Catholic Liturgy? Do they bear an Imprimatur or Nihil Obstat? I would like to know since I hope to use some of Maher's songs for a youth Mass, but unsure if they are even approved for liturgical use.
    Thank you all.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,063
    I think a lot of his music is licensed by OCP under their teen hymnal.
    Thanked by 1VincentPham06
  • Technically approved, but definitely not suitable.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,507
    Note that it is text that requires approval, not tunes. So Maher's Kyrie eleison may be within the rules.
    I have never seen a recent (after 1969) lyric or hymn book with an explicit nihil obstat or an imprimatur except the official liturgical books. But some have commendations from bishops, I would consider that sufficient for local use. Some believe that as OCP has the Archbishop of Portland as chairman of the board, any of its publications is automatically approved (at least within the diocese, and probably anywhere in the USA). I am not in the USA so that does not apply here.
    Thanked by 1VincentPham06
  • Maher is Catholic and has written both music for praise/worship and music intended for use specifically in liturgies, including adoration.

    He's not the taste of most folks around here, and by and large I don't think his stuff is really congregational ("Love Has Come" being a possible exception, because someone wrote an surprisingly solid organ accompaniment for it), but yes, you can use them.

    I run his pieces occasionally with my kids' choir, and they have responded very well. (They sang the Mozart "Ave Verum" and the Communion proper with my adult choir yesterday for Thanksgiving, so we run the gamut.)

    Depending on how often you have this youth Mass, I wouldn't use them unless you have a choir/group to sing the pieces by themselves as meditation. Use familiar congregational hymns if you want singing.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,898
    Is this the "Kyrie Eleison" being suggested? It doesn't have the official text, so it cannot be used as a replacement for the penitential rite.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6teNwbdhTt4

    (Besides, it's almost four minutes long!)

    If you have a group that wants to perform this, it should be before Mass.
    Thanked by 1VincentPham06
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,063
    There's no law that says the only time Catholics can pray together is at Mass. Why not have a Saturday night prayer group in the hall, including P&W music for those who find that sort of thing helpful?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,507
    chonak - in England&Wales there is not an official text, only an examplar: Our missal says
    Invocations naming the gracious works of the Lord may be made, as in the example below :
    3. Pr. You were sent to heal ...

    Maher's might pass -
    Matt Maher Lyrics
    "Kyrie"

    Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison

    Kyrie eleison (Kyrie eleison)
    Kyrie eleison (Kyrie eleison)

    God of reconciliation heal our wounds in darkest times
    Kyrie eleison (Kyrie eleison)

    In the midst of fear and violence make our lives a prayer of peace
    Christe eleison (Christe eleison)

    Father of the broken-hearted guide us to heaven's doors
    Kyrie eleison (Kyrie eleison)

    Kyrie eleison (Kyrie eleison)
    Thanked by 1VincentPham06
  • Do we need another reason to use the Penitential Rite separately from the Kyrie?
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,898
    Thanks to a_f_hawkins for adding that version. It's closer to a legitimate text than the recording I linked above. That audio has some other lyrics.

    About the option to add invocations to the Penitential Rite, the US version of the Roman Missal also shows examples of naming the gracious works of the Lord. Perhaps they are similar to what is offered in the E&W edition. The Appendix actually gives seven sets of such invocations, and they all follow these patterns:

    (1) The invocations are addressed to Christ, not to the Father or the Holy Spirit;
    (2) The invocations are not petitions but statements of faith.

    Maher's version unfortunately doesn't get that, so it doesn't do a good job of being similar to the examples.
    Thanked by 1VincentPham06
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,507
    chonak, yes agreed, invocations, not petitions (and not penitential!).
    Rather different from the mediæval kyrie tropes, of course.
    Thanked by 1VincentPham06
  • Thank you all for your very informative answers! Much appreciated!
  • Depending on how often you have this youth Mass, I wouldn't use them unless you have a choir/group to sing the pieces by themselves as meditation. Use familiar congregational hymns if you want singing.


    Surely that advice depends on what is actually familiar to the congregation in question.

    I've occasionally programmes Holy God we Praise thy Name, which is something that "everyone" knows according to most posters here. But in the congregation I'm currently in, "everyone" certainly doesn't know it. And some of those who do know refuse to sing it.

  • I would like to know since I hope to use some of Maher's songs for a youth Mass, but unsure if they are even approved for liturgical use.
    Thank you all.


    Why?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,898
    Surely that advice depends on what is actually familiar to the congregation in question.

    I think we know from the OP's question that the songs have not been in regular use at the church.
    Thanked by 1Jes