Sacred Music at Old St. Mary’s

Supporting Sacred Music at the Oratory

Our sacred music program is undertaking an exciting initiative to enrich our offerings and ensure their longevity, The Anerio Institute. For more information, or to make a tax-deductible contribution to the Institute in support of or Sacred Music program, please visit

Choirs & Ensembles

The Choir of the Cincinnati Oratory is the primary liturgical ensemble of Old St. Mary’s. Comprised of just over 20 members, including professional section leaders and auditioned volunteers capable of working at a very high level, the Choir provides music for the 9:30am Latin Mass from October through June, and for all Holy Day and Feast Day Masses, singing a wide range of repertoire spanning the centuries from Gregorian Chant, through the polyphony of the Late Medieval and Renaissance period, to the sacred music of the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras, and including the music even of living composers.

The Oratory Singers, comprised primarily of the professional members of the Choir of the Cincinnati Oratory, is a smaller chamber choir that provides music for the Musical Oratory of Advent, Tenebrae, and other special events throughout the year, in addition to singing certain selections independent of the principal choir for Sunday and Feast Day Masses.

The Laudate Pueri Children’s Schola Cantorum, directed by Miss Sophia Decker, is the children’s program of the Cincinnati Oratory’s music program. Currently comprised of around 25 young trebles ranging in age from 7-13, but aiming to grow to a full strength of between 70 and 80 young men and women, the Schola rehearses weekly during the school year, forming students in the fundamentals of excellent vocal technique and ensemble singing, as well as notation, theory, and sight-singing, in a supportive, loving, and faith-filled environment. The Schola provides music at liturgies and special events throughout the choir season at Old St. Mary’s and at Sacred Heart, including the Musical Oratory of Advent.

The OSM Parish Orchestra is composed of professional and capable volunteer musicians who accompany the choir’s singing periodically for major feasts, including Christmas and Easter, especially on masterworks of the liturgical repertoire from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Sunday Liturgies

9:30 a.m. Latin Mass

At this Mass, one can experience the Church’s rich heritage of Latin sacred music, sung in its appropriate context of sung Latin liturgy.  The Choir of the Cincinnati Oratory chants the Proper of the Mass from the Graduale Romanum, usually to the full tones, with the congregation often joining or alternating with them to the sing the responses and Ordinary of the Mass using one of the chant settings of the Kyriale Romanum, singing several seasonal ordinaries throughout the liturgical year.

On various Sundays and on special feasts of the Church year, the Ordinary is sung to a setting by a major composer of the renaissance, baroque, or romantic periods, sometimes enriched by the parish orchestra.  Sundays and feasts also include motets sung by the Choir of the Cincinnati Oratory and robust congregational hymnody.

Organ music at the prelude, improvisations during the Mass, and a postlude are provided weekly, except during Advent and Lent.

11:30 a.m. German Mass

At this Mass, one can experience music entirely in German.  Old Saint Mary’s has maintained the tradition, albeit in a modern adaptation, of the Deutsche Singmesse, or German Sung Mass.

Hymns from the German Catholic hymnal, Gotteslob (2013), are sung by the congregation at the procession, Kyrie, Gloria, Gospel, Offertory, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Communion, and at the conclusion of the liturgy.

Organ music at the prelude, improvisations during the Mass, and the postlude are provided weekly, except during Advent and Lent.

1pm English Mass

At this Mass, one can experience sung Mass in the vernacular, including vernacular renditions of the Proper of the Mass, a sung congregational Ordinary, congregational hymnody, and music for a few voices and organ from the Church’s rich treasury of sacred music. This Mass is deliberately sensitive to the time requirements imposed by its late hour and OSM’s parking agreements with neighboring institutions, but nonetheless strives to provide a beautiful and prayerful experience of worship that will dispose you to meet our Lord fruitfully.

Organ music at the prelude, improvisations during the Mass, and the postlude are provided weekly, except during Advent and Lent.

3:30 p.m. Sunday Vespers

The culmination of Sunday prayer is with the Church’s daily evening prayer, called Vespers.  Each Sunday (mid-October through the last Sunday in May), the members of The Cincinnati Oratory, along with all those who wish to attend, chant second Vespers of Sunday according to the Liber Usualis.

This service of evening prayer is sung entirely in Latin.  There are Latin-English editions of the chants at each of the entrances of the church for the faithful to follow along.

Sunday Vespers is a wonderful way to “keep holy the Sabbath,” as the Lord commands. Occasionally, on special occasions, Vespers will be enriched with heightened musical offerings, provided by the Oratory Singers.

Weekday Liturgies / Feast Days

On feast days of particular importance, selected by the Pastor, organ music will be provided at the 7:15am weekday Latin Mass. While not increasing the length of the liturgy, it adds to the solemnity on these important days.

At the 12:10 weekday English Mass, a very simple sung Mass with a cantor and organ music, again not increasing the length of the Mass, will be provided on feast days selected by the Pastor.

These are often announced in the bulletin and newsletter, occurring about once a week, but less frequently during penitential seasons.

We hope you will join us and sing heartily!

For questions or more information, please contact:

Sean M. Connolly
Director of Sacred Music / Organist
(513) 721-2988, ext. 128