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Mass

roman catholic sung text

Mass, term for the celebration of Holy Communion in the Roman Catholic Church and in Anglo-Catholic churches. Roman Catholics believe that the bread (host) and the wine become Christ's body and blood, which are offered as a sacrifice to God. The text consists of the “ordinary,” spoken or sung at every celebration, and the “proper,” sections which change according to the day or occasion—for example, the requiem mass has its own proper. In High Mass, celebrated with priest, deacon, and choir, the text is sung to plainsong with choral responses. Medieval choral settings of the mass were the first great masterpieces of Western music, remaining a major musical form into the 20th century. Low Mass, said by a single priest, is the basic Roman Catholic service. In 1965 the Vatican sanctioned the use of vernacular languages in place of Latin.

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