Catholic Bishops Conference of Japan Releases Guidelines for Catholic Hymnal Composition

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan released its guidelines for Catholic hymn composition during the Bishops Conference of Japan from July 8 to 10.

The document is entitled "Sing New Songs, the Guideline on Composition of New Songs and Approvals."

The guidelines cover new hymns, which are the songs and lyrics for mass to support a congregation's spirituality. It also gives approval policies and procedures for encouraging more songs to be created for use on Sundays, holidays, weekday masses and official services as churches and abbeys.

The Conference began revising "The 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal" issued March 2002 by the Roman Curia. In May 2014, the "Roman Missal General Rules Revised Edition," which embodied the application for the church in Japan was approved by the Roman Curia. From November 2015, churches have used the previous missal program with newly approved general provisions of the mass and expect the approval for the new missal program.

The Japan Committee for the Liturgy made the guideline to encourage new hymns to be created for use in Mass and other purposes.

The guideline emphasises the importance of the new songs for liturgy and states, "it is highly desirable that Catholics create new songs continuously in order to increase faith and convey joy." The guideline indicates the procedures for the approval of the lyrics according to the range of use to "express Catholic faith and enrich the faith of the believers." It also includes the approval and publishing of hymns, the copyright of lyrics and melody, and releasing the songs through the websites.

Bishop Sirahama, chairman of the Japan Committee for the Liturgy, asked for the understanding and cooperation of churches with regard to the release of the guidelines.

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