Looking for the new Exsultet? Look no further

Someone dropped me a Facebook message, asking if I’d found a version that you can download.

You can find everything at this website. There’s a pdf of the music, as well.

For your listening pleasure, here:

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If you need it, here’s the chant for the candle at the beginning of the Vigil:

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And last, but not least: the exposition of the cross for Good Friday:

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By the way: never in a million years would I ever sound like that.  Nope.  Nada.  Not a chance.  Fuggedaboutit.


  1. I used this site to prepare to chant the Christmas Proclamation. It was very helpful to have the PDF to mark-up as I practiced (I chanted from the ritual book itself) and the exemplar is cleanly and clearly chanted. Many thanks to NPM for creating and posting these resources!

  2. Reg Said- Melbourne Australia says:

    This site has helped immeasurably in practising the Exsultet. I received a surprise request from our Parish Priest asking if I could try this version instead of what we’ve been doing for the past 10 or so years. Without this reference it would have been a lot more difficult to pick up quickly. Thanks again.

  3. Deacon Norb says:

    Dcn Greg posted:

    “By the way: never in a million years would I ever sound like that. Nope. Nada. Not a chance. Fuggedaboutit !”

    I have been rather surprised about how few Deacons actually chant the Exsultet in their parishes on Holy Saturday night. I have always believed that since this is a uniquely diaconal liturgical task (much like proclaiming the Gospel), the rule of thumb should be that the deacon always has the right of first refusal.

    Part of this — no doubt — is that fact that the idea of a solo chant that lasts from 5-8 minutes scares the “bee-jeebers” out of a lot of us.

    In my case, I cannot read music but I have a good ear and a decent voice. I simply had our local organ director record me the vocal notes and I practiced it almost a thousand times — singing it at least twenty times in the past 30+ years. Newer technology — as evident in this posting — is a profound improvement over cassette tapes!

    With the change in script this year, and the fact that we have a new deacon in our parish who is a trained musician, I thought it time to pass the baton. He has the ceremonial rotation on Holy Saturday.

  4. “…that the deacon always has the right of first refusal” strikes me as a rather odd perspective for one in diaconal service.

  5. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    According to the rubrics, it is the deacon who should offer the Easter proclamation. But others are permitted to do it if there is no deacon or he is not capable of doing it.

    I believe it’s the same with the gospel. Under most circumstances, the deacon is to be be the one proclaiming the gospel; only if there is no deacon available should it be proclaimed by a priest.

  6. Deacon Steve says:

    When we had a deacon who could sing, he sang the Exsultet at the vigil (he also sang the Exodus reading). When he died, the two of us left at the parish (now one since my brother deacon retired and moved to No. Cal.) could not sing so we have the cantor sing it. She does a beautiful job, and I believe it is better for her to sing it well, than me to sing it horribly and drive the parishioners out of the church building. It is not lack of desire on my part but a serious lack of ability. I will chant “The Light of Christ” as I process in with the Paschal Candle and the double alleluia at the dismissal. They aren’t pretty but they are short.

  7. Deacon Norb says:

    Today, the weirdness of this rubrical situation is a lot less confrontational than it was as recently as ten years ago.

    Once the US Bishops published the “GIRM — General Instructions for the Roman Missal” things settled down a great deal

    Now, most everyone is on the same page as to what are the liturgical responsibilities of Deacons versus Priests versus Bishops.

    AND, as Deacon Greg has noted elsewhere, only if a Deacon is not present should his liturgical responsibilities be assumed by the celebrating priest.

  8. As a wise-old deacon (who has a good singing voice but a bad ear for melody) once told me, he wasn’t too worried about singing the melody of the Exsultet correctly — after all, how many people really know what it is supposed to sound like?

  9. My point/concern is with the word “refusal.” I find it unsettling that anyone in Orders would “refuse” to do something, which is certainly not to say that such refusals don’t occur.
    “Decline for lack of ability” is, perhaps, a far more palatable and accurate way of putting it.
    In the absence of a deacon, his liturgical roles should be assumed by a(ny) concelebrating priest.

  10. Is using the new Exsultet optional? I was just told that my parish isn’t going to use it this year because there are “too many other changes.” (sigh)

  11. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Good question. A priest in my parish told me I should just do the old version, and no one would be the wiser. Most people wouldn’t care.

    That certainly would have made my life a lot easier. ;-) But I figure: I gotta learn it sooner or later, so I might as well do it and be done with it.

    Dcn. G.

  12. Ah. At my parish there’s a lot of people doing things because it’s what they feel like doing (substituting songs for the Responsorial Psalm, draining the holy water during Lent, leaving out the readings on Christmas Eve because they make the Mass too long…etc, etc). So it can be helpful for me to know if things are truly optional..like, if you said that using the new Exsultet is optional rather than required, I might be less irritated at the Vigil. ;)

  13. Diakonos DC says:

    I was picked up from the metro yesterday. My wife asked me how long had I been waiting, I answered about two exultets. An exultet as a unit of time — hmm homily material?!!!!

  14. Deacon Norb says:


    “(substituting songs for the Responsorial Psalm. . .”

    I do not claim to be a “rubricist”

    –a local priest-comedian once told me that the difference between a terrorist and a rubricist is that one can argue and win against a terrorist–

    BUT replacing an assigned Psalm at a Mass (or a Liturgy of the Word/Communion Service) with a song that is based upon the same Psalm text from the Bible is not that unusual. It is, however, far more common in “non-week-end” masses such as weddings/ funerals/ grade-school masses/ etc.

    My suggestion is the next time that happens in your parish, check the TEXT of the song used against the TEXT of the Psalm that was assigned That may be the explanation.

  15. Fiergenholt says:

    “Two Exultets” ?

    I am guessing that the deacons in our parish use seven minutes or so to chant either the old or the new one.

    Considering that the last time I was in Washington, fourteen minutes was about average for the suburban spurs (Red northward to CUA and beyond: Blue southward to DCA and beyond) but it was substantially shorter — more like five minutes — in those stations serviced by multiple lines.

    Diakonos DC ! Get down on your knees and give thanks to the Risen Lord daily for such a blessing as the DC Metro!

  16. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Actually the joke is:

    What’s the difference between a terrorist and a liturgist?

    You can negotiate with a terrorist.

    Dcn. G.

  17. haha, no, not even close to the same Psalm text. Not a Psalm at all, in most instances. They refuse to do the Psalm of the week, anyway. Generally they choose one Psalm and repeat it for 6-8 weeks at a time.

  18. Despite many years of continued efforts to draw attention and help reveal that a cantor should not sing the entire exultet and should omit that which has been designated to be sung by a deacon or priest only, (as the written instructions noted on every printed score used for the last twenty years ” has implied”) I am again disappointed to find that even with the new liturgy the choir will continue to have a cantor sing even that which I understand has been and continues to be reserved for an ordained minister. There has not even been a need for me to reiterate; the cantor acknowledging my historical objection and noting the pastor has said it does not really matter as neither he or the participating deacon wish to sing. Please suggest the simplest and best conversion tool or resource we might employ to take advantage of this evangelical opportunity.

  19. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    The newest translation notes:

    “The Easter Proclamation may be made, in the absence of a Deacon, by the Priest himself or by another concelebrating Priest. If, however, because of necessity, a lay cantor sings the Proclamation, the words ‘Therefore, dearest friends…’ up to the end of the invitation are omitted, along with the greeting ‘The Lord be with you.’”

    If nobody cares, not even your pastor, there’s not much you can do other than show them the instruction. I imagine the priest might feel differently if a lay minister were poaching on HIS turf.

  20. Deacon Norb says:

    I’ve “been there, done that, wore the T-shirt.”

    In my first parish, my argument with the Music Director was so adamant that the pastor had to intervene and then he appealed to the diocese for an answer and clarification. From that point on, I was chanting the Exsultet — my bishop at that time was a big fan of the diaconate.

    In the second parish where I was assigned, I lost the argument so I simply refused to be “on ceremony” on Holy Saturday. When I was rotated out on schedule, the new deacon could not sing anyway so it was not a big deal to him.

    In my third assignment, no argument or issue, I was the regular chanter of the Exsultet. When the script and music changed, however, I decided I was not going to worry about it anymore. We have a rookie deacon in our parish who has a lot more talent in music than I do. Since he is also directs our RCIA, that worked out very well indeed — he would have a prominent liturgical role in his class’ “graduation.” I slipped into the Good Friday assignment and everything works.

  21. Deacon-Ryan says:

    Thanks, Deacon Greg, for this resource — it’s being passed around my seminary brethren right now as we prepare to go on for Holy Week!

  22. David Krizka says:

    So much animosity Follow the GIRM and all questions will be answered And if you are singing His Holy Praises Domit well with Humility or delegate

  23. I know I’m blind, but where is the pdf on this page?

  24. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Go to the link (I think it says “This website” in green) … that will take you to a separate page. Scroll down to “Easter proclamation” and you’ll find it and a recording.


  1. [...] we near the Easter Vigil, and deacons around the globe are clearing their throats and practicing the new Exsultet, here’s an interesting tidbit from New Liturgical Movement: Recently one of our priests sent [...]

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