Catholic hymnals used in English-speaking countries

This is a listing of commonly used Roman Catholic hymn-books used in English speaking countries.    It complements the earlier explanation of the official Roman Catholic liturgical-music books.

It is far from a complete survey: the situation in some countries is unknown, and new books are always being published - and some old books are being re-discovered.

But it gives a sense of the range and style of hymnals which are available in the 21st century or were used in the 20th century - and thus might be considered by anyone looking to select a hymnal today.

The list is ordered by country, since national guidelines typically influence allowed and culturally-appropriate materials.    However some hymnals published in the USA are distributed in England and vice versa.   And many smaller countries purchase books from elsewhere rather than publishing their own.  In these cases, hymnals are listed under their country of origin.

England and Wales

The three commonly-used and still in-print hymnals are:
  • Hymns Old and New - a collection published by Kevin Mayhew Ltd, it has moved through a variety of editions including Liturgical, with Catholic supplement, Catholic and Anglican. However it has not had a new edition published to include the ICEL-2010 Mass settings.
  • Laudate - published by Decani Music.  First published in 1999.   A revised edition, including the ICEL-2010 Mass settings, was published in April 2012.
  • Celebration Hymnal for Everyone - published by McCrimmon Publishing Company Ltd (McCrimmons).   First published in 1994.   A revised edition, including the ICEL-2010 Mass settings, was published in 2012.

Other 20th century hymnals, perhaps not so widely used include:
  • The New Catholic Hymnal - produced by Faber Publications 1971  this book is still in print even though it includes no material written in the last 45 years.
  • The Catholic Hymn Book   Commissioned by Brompton Oratory and published by Gracewing Publications in 1996.   This book includes over 300 classic hymns, and has separate melody and harmony editions. 
  • Sing to the Lord - published by McCrimmon Mayhew in 1970, this collection has a strongly liturgical focus, suggesting a hymn for each day in the three-year Sunday cycle - many of which appear to have been written for this exact purpose.   It's not clearly how widely it was ever used, but it shows the clear liturgical and scriptural intent at the start of the folk/contemporary Catholic music area.
  • 20th Century Folk Hymnal volumes 1-4 - published by Mayhew McCrimmon in 197x?, this set of collections has a number of folk-style Mass settings but overall is far less liturgical and does not attempt to explicitly cover the church year. Despite that, it achieved widespread popularity.
  • 21st Century Folk Hymnal - a revival of the 20th Century Folk hymnal concept, this has a few simple Mass settings but is not comprehensive enough to be the only resource which a church community would need for the liturgical year.

Hymnals from the very early days of vernacular liturgy in England:
  • St Martins Publications released a number of booklets for use at Low Mass in and around 1965, including hymns by non-Catholic composers.
  • The Mass Together - A compilation of Mass hymns by Fr. Clifford Howell SJ. - which was released prior to Vatican II completion.
  • The Parish Hymn Book, edited by John Rush and published by L J Cary Ltd in  was release in 1968.
  • Praise the Lord - first edition was published in 1966, edited by Wilfred Trotman, and aiming to conflate the Westminster Hymnal and the Anglican Hymns Ancient and Modern (ref).
  • Praise the Lord, 1972 edition edited by John Ainslie, Stephen Dean and Paul Inwood - had a widely different range of hymns.

Some even older English Roman Catholic hymnals, which are of historical importance, include:
  • The Westminster Hymnal - A revised edition of this book, edited by Sir Richard Terry, was published in 1912.   At the time, it was declared to be "the only collection of hymns authorised by the hierarchy of England and Wales for use in churches and oratories".   Terry started working on a revised edition, and following his death in 1938 this was completed by Rev. W. S. Bainbridge and released in 1940.   Further editions, with various editors, including Msgnr Ronald Knox, were published in 1952, 1958, and 1960.
    • Crown of Jesus Music, parts 1-III.  Edited by Henri Hemy, this was a musical companion to the Crown of Jesus - complete manual of Catholic devotion ... " was published in 1864.   It was the first Catholic hymnal aimed at nationwide circulation (ref).
    • The Parochial Hymn Book published in 1883 by Burnes and Oates Ltd


    Hymn books in current use:
    • Various hymn-books from England, eg Hymns Old and New
    • Sing the Mass - 2012 - published just the selected settings of the ICEL-2010 Mass translation.

    Historical hymn books include:


    The Book of Tunes and Hymns, published in 1913 was the Scottish equivalent of the Westminster Hymnal.

    The St Andrew Hymnal was published by the Scottish Bishops in 1964 and authorised for use in their dioceses.

    United States of America

    The selection of hymnals used in Catholic churches in the USA is perhaps the widest in the English-speaking world.  There are many options and none of them are officially mandated as "the" hymnal for use in Catholic churches in America.   Because of this diversity, the list below focuses only on currently in-print books, and does not attempt to cover historical ones, no matter how significant.

    Misalette / booklet services

    A feature of Catholic music publications in the USA is the misalette service. These are collections of readings (sometimes with Propers), and suggested hymns.   They are published regularly - perhaps two, three or four times per year - based on the liturgical calendar, and are intended to be used for the season and then thrown away.

    The benefit of this system is that it allows publishers to easily include newly-published or re-discovered materials without having to wait years for parishes to afford the next edition of a hymnal. The disadvantage is that they can be seen to cheapen music production and encourage throwing scripture away.

    Major / long-established publishers

    GIA Publications   

    • Gather:  Comprehensive hymnal with 70% piano/guitar-based and 30% organ-based hymns. The current edition has some materials from the previous one, and a collection of more recent titles from more recent composers and various publishers
      Includes short songs from Taizé and Iona and English-Spanish bilingual pieces. Has lectionary psalms set to Guimont psalm tones, and some psalm settings from various composers.
    • Worship Comprehensive, substantial compilation of organ-based (approx 80%) and piano/guitar-based music (20%), including some bilingual (English-Spanish) music and also world music. Has lectionary psalms set to Gelineau and Guimont tones, and a few psalm settings from other composers.
    • Lead Me Guide Me Includes African American church music for Catholic worship and a mix of common Catholic repertoire, using music notation that reflects performance practices in African American church communities. Has lectionary psalms written by contemporary African American composers.
    • Oramos Cantando / We Pray in Song A totally bi-lingual hymnal and service-music book for bilingual (Latino/Anglo) communities in the USA. Includes music for the Liturgy of the Hours, RCIA, all sacraments, exposition and benediction as well as the Order of Mass; Some psalm settings using Gelineau, Guimont, or Conception Abbey tones. Standards hymns from the "Celebration-style" repertoire by Haugen, Joncas, Haas et al, and hymns in many other styles. Includes plainsong, classic hymns hymnody, contemporary scriptural songs, Taizé chants, and world music from Asia and Africa. 
    • Ritual Song:  A hymnal in between the contemporary focus of Gather and the more traditional focus of Worship.

    WLP (World Library Publications)

    • One in Faith, a hard-back hymnal and service music book, which has an edition that includes readings also.
    • We Celebrate:  a soft-cover hymnal published every three years, and designed to co-ordinate with the annual We Celebrate missalette.


    • Glory & Praise - aims to provide a common English-language repertoire for cross-generation communities
    • Journeysongs- has both traditional and contemporary music
    • Flor y Canto - bilingual (Spanish /English) hymnal
    • Spirit & Song contemporary music hymnal
    • Thánh Ca Dân Chúa - includes the Order of the Mass in Vietnamese, as well as Vietnamese and English-language hymns

    Liturgical Press

    • The Collegeville Hymnal - published in 1990, focusing on traditional hymn but using inclusive language (unless poetic issues made it impossible)
    • Sacred Song Hymnal - a three-year hymnal with service music published after 2010.    Range of materials, focus on the Collegeville Composers group and Psalite - aim is to include —classic, contemporary, chant, and traditional.   Is complemented by a misalette programme.

    American Catholic Press

    First published in 1965: The Johannine Hymnal, and now (several revisions / editions later) called the American Catholic Hymn Book.   Includes tunes from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds.  Depsite the name it is simply "an" American hymnal, not "the" American hymnal.

    The Neumann Press
    The St. Gregory Hymnal

    Dominican Nuns of Summit
    The Summit Choirbook (1983)

    Traditionalist publishers

    A number of more traditional groups have also published English-language hymns which they use and promote with great enthusiasm, although it's not clear what how widely they are used. Some of these are based on more traditional hymns, while others focus on settings of the Mass propers. They include:

    Ignatius Press - The Adoremus Hymnal (1997)

    Corpus Christi Watershed / JPII Institute

    St. Boniface Church - St. Michael Hymnal
    First released within the original parish in 1998, fourth edition released in 2011.

    Illuminare Publications
    • Lumen Christi Hymnal (2014)
    • Lumen Christi Simple Gradual (2014)

    Canada - English speaking dioceses

    The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops publishes the Catholic Book of Worship.  So far there have been three editions (1972,1980,1994), and a fourth is planned for 2018.

    This appears to be the closest that any English-speaking country comes to have an official denominational hymn book - but it is clearly not the only hymnal used in Canada.


    The original Catholic Worship Book (1985) was prepared by an Editorial Committee of the Liturgical Commission of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, edited by William A Jordan. and published in London by Collins Liturgical Publications and Darlinghurst, N.S.W. : E.J. Dwyer. It was approved by the Australian Episcopal Liturgical Commission - presumably for use throughout the country.

    A new edition, Catholic Worship Book II, approved by the Australian Catholic bishops conference and published by Morning Star Publishing in late 2015.   It aims to provide resources for Australian Catholics from both Catholic tradition and the wealth of material composed followed the Vatican II decision to authorise reformed liturgies in vernacular languages, focusing on promoting Australian writers and composers.

    Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney was involved with some ecumenical efforts:
    • Australian Hymn Book (1977)
    • Together in Song: Australian Hymn Book II (1999)

    Living Parish Hymn Book. Complied by Fr Anthony Newman, the first (pew) edition was printed in 1961.  Later editions, including an accompaniment edition in 1964, followed. They included some changes in content as Vatican II implementation started. It was published by Liturgical Press (Australia) Ltd.

    The New Living Parish Hymn Book - edited by priest-musician Fr John De Luca and published by E. J. Dwyer (Australia) was released in 1986, with an accompaniment edition in 1987.

    The Hymnal of St. Pius X, a collection of masses and hymns for the use of parishes and schools in the Catholic Church, was also edited by Rev. Percy Jones, and published by Allan & Co Pty Ltd of Melbourne in 1952. The accompaniment edition is available for to view and download on the National Library of Australia website.

    The Australian Hymnal was a collection of plainsong Masses and motets and of English hymns for the Catholic Church in Australia, ​ Edited by priest, musician and teacher Rev Percy Jones (1914-1992) and published in Melbourne by The Advocate Press in 1940.

    New Zealand

    Sing praise : words and music for liturgical worship   Described as
    "A liturgical music book ... of service to parishes, schools and religious communities throughout New Zealand"
    this book was commissioned by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops' Conference, edited by Fr Charles Cooper and published in hardback in 1981.  It included musical settings of the Mass, Psalms, the liturgy of the hours and various hymns (including some contemporary composers, eg Estelle White).
    It was published by Price Milburn Music, with ISBN 0868710237 and 9780868710235. However it did not achieve widespread use - perhaps because the hardback format meant the price was relatively high, and the Catholic population in the country was relatively small.

    Today, many New Zealand parishes use collections from overseas, particularly from Australian sources - or a combination of materials from various sources.


    A Catholic Hymn Book was published by the St Paul Regional Pastoral Institute based in Ede, Osum State, in 1976.  While not officially mandated for use, this book is widely used by parishes in Nigeria and Nigerian communities living in other countries.


    A number of dioceses have their own diocesan hymnals - no links for these have been found.

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    1. Worth adding to the Australian section: "The Hymnal of St. Pius X", edited by Rev. Percy Jones, and published by Allan & Co Pty Ltd in 1952. It is available for viewing (not downloading) in its entirety at the National Library of Australia website: While before my time, it must have been a fairly significant publication because many of Percy Jones' arrangements in it were reused in subsequent hymnals over the decades.

      1. Thanks Chris, I've added that. Interestingly I was able to download a copy from the NLA website, using the button in the left-hand panel.


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