Catholic Worship Book II celebrates two years of providing music for liturgy in Australia

23 July 2018
At the launch were (from left): Very Rev Peter Williams, Archbishop Denis Hart, Bishop Pat O'Regan and Bishop Peter Elliott. Photo: Casamentos, Melbourne.


Two years on since the release of the liturgical worship book titled Catholic Worship Book II (CWB II), the National Liturgical Music Board (NLMB) continues to provide resources for Australian Catholics from the richness of the Catholic tradition and contemporary compositions.

NLMB, an advisory board under the Bishops Commission for Liturgy, first launched the resources Catholic Worship Book in 1985, following publications like The Living Parish Hymn Book, published in the mid-60s, and The Australian Hymnal, published in the 1940s.

Almost 30 years later, an updated second edition for the CWB II was launched officially launched in Melbourne on 8 April 2016.

The second book contained a broad range of liturgical music, including the chants for the revised Order of Mass (2010), new and revised Mass settings and service music, accompaniment for the Sunday Eucharist, and the various rites of the Church and Morning and Evening Prayer – suited to accompany the changes that had taken place.

In conjunction with the second anniversary of CWB II, The eRecord spoke with NLMB Board Member and St Mary’s Cathedral choir Director of Music Jacinta Jakovcevic to bring awareness about the importance of this resource provided to the parishes, and schools across the country. 

“I think each hymnal published in any region or country reflects the needs of that community and the various challenges it is facing – and looking through and studying through the CWB II that is produced by the Catholic Church of Australia, possibly teaches us a little about where we stand in Australia in terms of liturgical music at this point in time,” she said.

“This publication is also quite different that the other Australian Catholic hymnal publications, as it contains parts of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, which pertain to music for a Mass – so that all our musicians and congregations all across the country can be familiar with these ‘norms’ be equipped with this knowledge.”

Ms Jakovcevic explained that the CWB II is not only equipped with music for the liturgical season, but also has a section devoted to morning and evening prayers as well as a section of Sacraments and rites, including music for RCIA.

She commented that the readers will also find a helpful section in the book labelled The Sung Order of the Mass which contains the chants of the Mass so that people can become familiar with the responses to the Mass and be comfortable with singing them readily.

When asked on the importance of incorporating music in liturgy, Ms Jakovcevic said the Sacrosanctum Concilium (Vatican II) states that ‘music can express prayer more persuasively; it can help in producing unanimity, it can add increased solemnity to the sacred rites’.

“Indeed, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal states that ‘Great importance should therefore be attached to the use of singing in the celebration of the Mass’,” she said.

Ms Jakovcevic encouraged all parishes and schools to obtain a copy of the book as it will enable them to be in touch with their “timeless Catholic heritage as well as be able to sing the modern classics now part of the communal repertoire – This will reflect the truly eclectic mix of music which seems to evident across our national landscape”.

Digital copies of the book are in the works, but you can obtain a physical copy of the CWB II at:

By Amanda Murthy and with thanks to the Archdiocese of Perth.


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