Oldie PODCAzT 17: For those who must sing the Exsultet in Latin, TLM or NO

If any of you out there must sing the Exsultet in Latin, there is a PODCAzT available with a recording of me doing it, in the Novus Ordo version, a couple years ago and explaining some things about it.

UPDATE: I made a rapid recording of the Exsultet with the 1962 Missale Romanum.  No frills! And I am a little stuffed up, … but it should help anyone who needs to practice it.



For forty days we have done penance. We participated at the anniversary of Holy Mass and the Priesthood on Holy Thursday with the mandatum and the procession to the altar of repose, Christ in agony in Gethsemane. On Good Friday, the day with no Mass, after our humble prostration before the Crucified Lord we stood for the singing of the Passion. Now we are in a dark church. The fire was kindled and the “Light of Christ” was thrice announced. The faithful have little candles sparked to life from the single flame of the Paschal candle, the “Christ candle”, now lighted as the symbol of His resurrection.

The candle is incensed and then the deacon sings:

    Exult now O ye angelic throngs of the heavens:
    Exult O ye divine mysteries:
    and let the saving trumpet resound for the victory of so great a King.
    Let the earthly realm also be joyful, made radiant by such flashings like lightning:
    and, made bright with the splendor of the eternal King,
    let it perceive that it has dismissed the entire world’s gloom.
    Let Mother Church rejoice as well,
    adorned with the blazes of so great a light:
    and let this royal hall ring with the great voices of the peoples.
    Wherefore, most beloved brothers and sisters,
    you here present to such a wondrous brightness of this holy light,
    I beseech you, together with me
    invoke the mercy of Almighty God.
    Let Him who deigned to gather me in among the number of the Levites,
    by no merits of mine,
    while pouring forth the glory of His own light
    enable me to bring to fullness the praise of this waxen candle.

    Deacon: The Lord be with you!
    Response: And with your spirit!
    D: Raise your hearts on high!
    R: We now have them present to the Lord!
    D: Let us then give thanks to the Lord our God!
    R: This is worthy and just!

    Truly it is worthy and just
    to resound forth with the whole of the heart,
    disposition of mind,
    and by the ministry of the voice,
    the invisible God the Father Almighty,
    and His Only-begotten Son
    our Lord Jesus Christ,
    Who, on our behalf, resolved Adam’s debt to the Eternal Father
    and cleansed with dutiful bloodshed the bond of the ancient crime.
    For these are the Paschal holy days,
    in which that true Lamb is slain,
    by Whose Blood the doorposts of the faithful are consecrated.
    This is the night
    in which first of all You caused our forefathers,
    the children of Israel brought forth from Egypt,
    to pass dry shod through the Red Sea.
    This is the night
    which purged the darkness of sins by the illumination of the pillar.
    This is the night
    which today restores to grace and unites in sanctity throughout the world Christ’s believers,
    separated from the vices of the world and the darkness of sins.
    This is the night
    in which, once the chains of death were undone,
    Christ the victor arose from the nether realm.
    For it would have profited us nothing to have been born,
    unless it had been fitting for us to be redeemed.
    O wondrous condescension of Your dutiful concern for us!
    O inestimable affection of sacrificial love:
    You delivered up Your Son that You might redeem the slave!
    O truly needful sin of Adam,
    that was blotted out by the death of Christ!
    O happy fault,
    that merited to have such and so great a Redeemer!
    O truly blessed night,
    that alone deserved to know the time and hour
    in which Christ rose again from the nether world!
    This is the night about which it was written:
    And night shall be made as bright as day:
    and night is as my brightness for me.
    Therefore the sanctification of this night puts to flight all wickedness, cleanses sins,
    and restores innocence to the fallen and gladness to the sorrowful.
    It drives away hatreds, procures concord, and makes dominions bend.
    Therefore, in this night of grace,
    accept, O Holy Father, the evening sacrifice of this praise,
    which Holy Church renders to You
    in the solemn offering of this waxen candle
    by the hands of Your ministers from the work of bees.
    We are knowing now the proclamations of this column,
    which glowing fire kindles in honor of God.
    Which fire, although it is divided into parts,
    is knowing no loss from its light being lent out.
    For it is nourished by the melting streams of wax,
    which the mother of bees produced for the substance of this precious torch.
    O truly blessed night,
    in which heavenly things are joined to those of earth,
    the divine to the human!
    Therefore, we beseech You, O Lord,
    that this waxen candle, consecrated in honor of Your name,
    may continue unfailing to dispel the darkness of this night.
    And once it is accepted as a placating sacrifice,
    may it be mingled with the heavenly lights.
    Let the morning star meet with its flame:
    that very star, I say, which knows no setting:
    Who, having returned from the nether realm,
    broke serene like the dawn upon the human race,
    and now lives and reigns forever and ever.




About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in PODCAzT, PRAYERCAzT: What Does The (Latin) Prayer Really Sound L, SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. bryan says:

    Hearing this chanted at the Vigil always brings a flood of tears to my eyes…don’t know why. And not ashamed to admit it.

  2. Dan J. Howell says:

    I have to agree with you Bryan because it moves me so deeply that it is so hard to explain to someone.

  3. Father Totton says:

    Any chance of a modeled chant of the Epistle and Gospel for the Mass (EF) of Easter Day? How about a PDF of the text with notation that can be followed for a novice about to sing his first Mass?

  4. Paul says:

    I’ve only heard the Exultet chanted once — in Latin — and it was absolutely astonishing. Of course, nobody bothered to tell the congregation to stand when Father et al. processed in (it was snowing outside and there was not a general congregational procession), and so the congregation sat, for the most part VERY confused, during the entire thing. The deacon (an old and very kind Italian permanent deacon) told me afterwards that he had asked the pastor almost on a lark if he could chant it; the pastor, the deacon, and an active parishioner were talking, and the parishioner had said “Deacon Felix, you should chant the exultet in Latin!” Felix said, “Ah I would, but I do not know if Father would let me.” The pastor turned and said “Well, why not? Sure, let’s do it,” much to Deacon Felix’s delight. The story just goes to show that sometimes all a priest needs is someone to ask for something impressive to happen.

  5. Mary Jane says:

    How I love those bees! They had to be big enough to be seen, but wow, I’d hate to run into one of those in the woods. If only they’d bring them back to the N.O. Exultet.

    The more I’ve worked with people on this chant, whether in English or Latin, the more I love its text and its Gallican melody.

  6. torontonian says:

    That illustration is from a very Italian interesting manuscript, from Bari, I think. It’s an “Exultet Roll.” If you look closely, you’ll see that the text at the bottom looks upside-down. Actually, the illustration is the upside-down part. It’s set up so that, as the cantor reads and unrolls the paper over the front of the podium or whatever, the pictures are gradually revealed to the congregation facing him.

  7. gengulphus says:

    The illustration is extremely interesting. Whilst the process of extracting honey – depicted on the left – has undergone some refinement, the bee-keeper and his assistant on the right are ‘taking a swarm’ in a way which differs little from current practice. An interesting detail is the smoker which the assistant is holding in his hand – rather in the form of a thurible.

  8. Mary Jane: The bees are in the Novus Ordo form of Exsultet also. Look at the Latin version in my translation above.

    “For it is nourished by the melting streams of wax, which the mother of bees produced for the substance of this precious torch.”

  9. Daniel says:

    How about those chants for the epistle and Gospel for Easter Day? Our priest here could use them. Thanks!

  10. Soli Deo Gloria says:

    O happy fault…
    O truly blessed night…
    O truly blessed night…

    Does anyone know the author? Please pardon my ignorance but I am simply curious about elegant writing styles and if this is from the Novus Ordo perhaps someone out there could shed light on why the 3 phrases above echoes Act II Scene II line 147 and Act V Scene 3 line 174 in Romeo and Juliet.
    Thank you and Happy Easter to all.

  11. Richard T says:

    I’m too ignorant to tell which version it is, but there is a splendid Latin chant here:


    (Not that I’m criticising your version, Rev. Father, but the Polish one has a more Eastern intonation, which I prefer in chant)

  12. RichR says:

    The best Exultet recording I’ve heard is by Jeff Ostrowski. It’s on his Dignus Est Agnus CD. Here is a sample of it:


    Here is a link to the album, itself:


    I make nothing off of this. I just love his work.

  13. RichR says:

    BTW, my previous post shouldn’t be taken in the context of FrZ’s recording. I didn’t have time to listen to his podcaZt, so I can’t compare.

    Thank you, Fr. Z, for taking the time to record it. I don’t know of any online recording of the entire Exultet.

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