Liturgical Texts

As odd as it may seem, the texts we use for Mass and other liturgical celebrations are copyrighted. This is because they have been translated from their original Latin to the vernacular by entities overseen by the bishops of a diocese. In order to use, sell, or distribute music that uses these texts, one must ask these entities for permission, mainly ICEL, the CCD, and the USCCB.

Obtaining Permission

Although getting permission is not all that difficult, it can get complicated. That is why SLC works to assist you in obtaining these permissions.

Here are some important things to know:

  • The permission we obtain allows you to sell your music ONLY via our SLM website. This is the agreement we’ve made with the USCCB. To sell through other means (other website, etc.), you must obtain these permissions on your own.
  • The process of receiving permission takes anywhere from 2 – 6 weeks depending on the time of year and how much music these entities are trying to get through. SLC cannot sell your music until permissions are received.
  • Part of what these entities are looking for is that the music has used the text verbatim. With some exceptions, every capitalization, punctuation mark, etc. needs to be 100% accurate. If it is not, they will ask you to correct the errors and to resend your music causing unnecessary delays.
  • You must include an accurate Copyright Notice.

Who owns these texts?

ICEL – The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) exists to prepare English translations of each of the Latin liturgical books and any individual liturgical texts in accord with the directives of the Holy See. Therefore, they own all copyrights to the English translation of texts found in the Lectionary, the Roman Missal, and other liturgical texts (for a complete list, click HERE). 

CCD – The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) owns the copyright on the New American Bible (NAB and the NABRE), and therefore all uses of the NAB translation including its use in the Lectionary.

USCCB – Along with permissions from ICEL or the CCD, one must also get permission from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops since they oversee both of the above entities. It is also important to note that the USCCB now owns copyrights to the The Abbey Psalms & Canticles (formerly the Revised Grail Psalter – GIA).

Psalm Text Resources

The Lectionary – Any current lectionary will work, but the online calendar has been recommended to SL by the CCD since it is the most up-to-date.