The Catholic Institute of Sacred Music at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, CA invites you to the first event of its inaugural public lecture and concert series.

“The Beauty of the Sung Mass”
A Lecture By Dr. William Mahrt (Stanford)
About the Lecture

Learn to uncover the the integral link between word, meaning, and beauty in Catholic sacred music within its proper liturgical context. Join us as Dr. Mahrt, an expert in Gregorian chant, classical sacred polyphony, and the Church’s teachings on sacred music, explores the expression of the mysteries of the faith through the various types of music prescribed by the Church for singing the Mass. Discover how the beauty of the Church’s treasury of sacred music can help you deepen your prayer and spiritual life!

The Beauty of the Sung Mass

The fundamental beauty of the Mass is the action of Christ offering a sacrifice to the Father, in which the people are essential participants. The music of the Mass creates a sense of transcendent order and purpose, and in a dynamic motion, focuses upon the action of Christ. The various elements of chant and polyphony, of celebrant, choir, and people each makes a unique contribution to this Christocentric beauty.

The lecture will focus on the beauty of the action of Christ in the Mass and the people’s participation in his sacrifice. Sung examples will illustrate the various ways in which music creates a dynamic motion supporting this action. The roles of celebrant, choir, and congregation will be described as each making a unique contribution to this Christocentric beauty.

Sunday, Feb. 26th
4:00–5:00 p.m. PST (7:00-8:00 p.m. EST)
Sancta Maria Hall at St. Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park, CA
320 Middlefield Rd., Menlo Park, CA

Tickets and streaming access available at

The in-person event will be followed by a reception. Ample guest parking is available on-site.
Live-streaming and archived viewing of the event are also available.
An RSVP (see below) is appreciated, but not required.
This free event is open to the public.

About the Speaker

William Mahrt is Associate Professor and Director of Early Music Singers in the music department at Stanford University, President of the Church Music Association of America, and editor of Sacred Music, the oldest continuously published journal of music in North America.

Dr. Mahrt grew up in Washington state; after attending Gonzaga University and the University of Washington, he completed a doctorate at Stanford University in 1969. He taught at Case Western Reserve University and the Eastman School of Music, and then returned to Stanford in 1972, where he continues to teach early music. Since 1964 he has directed the choir of St. Ann Chapel in Palo Alto, which sings Mass and Vespers in Gregorian chant on all the Sundays of the year, with masses in the polyphonic music of Renaissance masters for the holy days.

His research interests include theory and performance of Medieval and Renaissance music, troubadours, Machaut, Dufay, Lasso, Dante, English Cathedrals, Gregorian chant, and Renaissance polyphony. He has published articles on the relation of music and liturgy, and music and poetry. He frequently leads workshops in the singing of Gregorian chant and the sacred music of the Renaissance.

In 2022, St. Patrick’s Seminary established the William P. Mahrt chair in sacred music to honor Dr. Mahrt’s lifetime of commitment to scholarship, beauty, and the Catholic faith.

About the Series

The Public Lecture & Concert Series of the Catholic Institute of Sacred Music welcomes the general public to St. Patrick’s Seminary to hear from preeminent scholars about topics which have a profound impact on the Church and humanity, inviting them especially to consider the Church’s wisdom on matters related to the worship of God, the spiritual life, beauty, and works of art. The recitals in this series feature world-class artists performing the transformative music of the Church’s treasury of sacred music, presented in a concert format accompanied by a brief lecture and rich program notes.

We invite you to join us for these important and inspiring events.

About the Catholic Institute of Sacred Music

Founded in 2022, the mission of the Catholic Institute of Sacred Music is to draw souls to Jesus Christ through the beauty of sacred music and the liturgy.

The Institute offers a substantial program of accredited, graduate-level coursework designed to help church musicians and clergy better to know and love the Church’s treasury of sacred music and her teachings on sacred music. Our goal is to equip students with the theological, philosophical, and historical knowledge, as well as the practical skills (singing, playing, conducting, composing, organizing, fundraising) necessary to build excellent sacred music programs in parishes and schools. We aim to help others revitalize the faith of Catholics and instill vitality in parish and school life through a vibrant sacred music program.

We are committed to a faithful and generous service of the Church. We cultivate fidelity, resiliency, a healthy sense of creativity, and selflessness within our student body and faculty as characteristics of our service as we labor together in the vineyard of the Lord to bring in a rich harvest.

About St. Patrick’s Seminary

For the past 125 years, St. Patrick’s Seminary has successfully prepared men to become Roman Catholic priests in conformity to Christ. Its expansive park-like grounds, historic chapel, modern classrooms, and extensive library provide an ideal environment for prayer, meditation, and study, within close proximity to major urban centers that provide rich field education opportunities. The integrated process of human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation at St. Patrick’s Seminary revolves around our core values of spiritual fatherhood, fidelity, holiness, wisdom, evangelization, resiliency, and compassion.