Letter to Priest... about the Kyrie

I want to send this letter to my parish priest… but i wanted to ask yall how it looks and if you could suggest anything i could change.

To: Reverend N. N.
Concerning: Minor Liturgical Abuse

Dear Father,
It has come to my attention that during the Holy Mass offered in your parish, after the “I confess” or “Yo confieso” the Kyrie(Lord have mercy/Señor ten piedad) is not said. Clearly the rubrics state that after the I confess the “Kyrie” MUST be said.

I really hope you fix this minor error, and don’t let this be a liturgical abuse that persists in your parish.

Respectfully yours in Christ,


I might put it somewhat like this

To: Reverend N. N.
Concerning: Liturgical texts at Mass

Dear Father,
I’ve noticed that during the Holy Mass offered in the parish, after the “I confess” or “Yo confieso” the Kyrie (Lord have mercy/Señor ten piedad) is not said. I love hearing the Kyrie at Mass because of the range of meaning that this simple phrase contains. To me it expresses God’s love and mercy and our inability to articulate it except for this simple phrase committing all to his providence. I looked it up and apparently “The Order of the Mass” in the Sacramentary says that after the “I confess”, the Kyrie should be said. I really hope you will re-introduce this wonderful part of the Mass in the parish

Respectfully yours in Christ,

Well, it’s wordy…but I feel something less wordy with this kind of tone might be more conciliatory.

Your letter (the original post) makes it sound like you are not a parishioner, and may not have even attended Mass there. The priest is highly unlikely to pay much attention to a letter like that. Personally, I think this sort of thing would best be handled by addressing it to the priest in person. It would be even better if you were active in the parish- like if you were a reader, or you taught religious education or something like that.

The Confiteor and Kyrie may be conflated in one of the approved options of the Penetential Rite.

Could this have been what you experienced?

If the Kyrie was actually skipped, it might have been a simple error on the Priest’s part.

Mistakes were made, even in the palmy days before Vatican II. There was even an extensive section in the Missale Romanum called “De defectibus.”

THANK anyone that replied… but i guess i should clear things up.

The parish i speak of in the letter is indeed the one i attend every sunday for more than a year. We ALWAYS use the I confess and the Kyrie is ALWAYS skipped. it goes straight to the Gloria.

and thank you AJV i think i will take your advice and word it like that.

Why a letter? Have you tried to address this face to face?

“The Kyrie is always begun, unless it has already been included as part of the Act of Penitence.” – GIRM 2002

I think to be fair in this response I would need to hear or be told exactly what the priest says. Can you recite verbatim exactly what is said by the priest and congregation? That might clear things up.:slight_smile:

you have way too much time on your hands

Personally, I agree with what other posters have suggested above. Have you spoken to the priest face to face? If you’re talking about your own pastor, I would certainly go that route before sending a letter. A letter, and especially one worded as formally as you have tried to word yours, sounds very cold and might cause him to feel defensive.

Of course, even before you talk to him, it would be best if you had some kind of personal relationship with your pastor. Does he know who you are? Are you active in any of the activities sponsored by the parish? Have you ever had a friendly conversation with him about any topic not related to liturgy/sacraments/doctrine/whatever? It’s not going to be much better if you approach him the very first time, introduce yourself, make some light chit chat about the football game for a few seconds, and then launch into a critique of the way he offers the Mass.

I’m exaggerating slightly, of course, but what you don’t want to do is put him on the defensive by making him feel he’s under liturgical surveillance by the parish crank.

NB: I am **NOT **suggesting you are a crank either, or that your concern is an irrelevant one! I just think it would be better to handle the question face to face and in the most personable way possible. Otherwise, you’re too easy to dismiss, if he is in fact inclined to dismiss concerns such as this one.

Perhaps you might even tell him that you have been trying to read up on the liturgy, and in your studies you noticed that the GIRM said that the Kyrie is always to be recited after the Confiteor, but that it isn’t done that way in your parish and were wondering why.

Whatever you do, approach the situation with as much tact as you can and things will certainly go more smoothly.

Hope there’s something in there that might help. God bless.

In my experience, these sorts of requests tend to go over better if they’re asked in the form of a question. A statement such as “I looked it up and apparently “The Order of the Mass” in the Sacramentary says that after the “I confess”, the Kyrie should be said. I really hope you will re-introduce this wonderful part of the Mass in the parish” gives the impression that you’re being authoritative on the subject, that you’re faulting him for being incorrect, and that you’re providing a demand. In many cases, people will respond to this by immediately becoming defensive, and when someone becomes defensive, forcing a change is like winning trench warfare - slow and bloody.

Instead, a question such as “Is there any opportunity to re-introduce such a beautiful part of the Mass to our parish?” still expresses the same concern, albeit in a less forceful way, but avoids being accusatory, avoids the assertion that the priest is wrong (he may reply indicating that he is allowed to omit it and provide some proof of which you are not aware), and avoids putting him immediately on defense.

I think its a good letter.

It may be worth quoting the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal: “52. After the Act of Penitence, the Kyrie is always begun, unless it has already been included
as part of the Act of Penitence. …”.

Sometime the word “abuse” can be a problem, with with “error” being perhaps being better. On the other hand, sometimes “abuse” will get the necessary attention of the priest.

OK. this wasn’t clear from your original post. Thank you for doing so.

You might do well to inquire politely about this privately.

Ok so mass begins…

Priest: In the name of the Father… etc.
The Grace of our lord Jesus Christ be with you… (or a variation therof usually never what is said in the sacramentary) but close enough

Priest: Sisters and Brothers let us reflect on those moments where we have fallen from the grace of God and have not been faithful.

after a short silence

Priest and congregation:
I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do;
and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Priest: May the Almighty God have mercy on us forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life.

Then the choir begins the Gloria.

O and I think I might talk to him face to face… but the reason i wanted to write a letter is that I didn’t want to seem like i was attacking him… although the first letter i wrote seemed a little harsh but i know the priest we have a good relationship… so i didn’t want to feel like i was attacking the way he says mass. Although slightly incorrect but i can tell you A LOT better than some that i have seen around the city

The reason I asked about what was actually happening is that sometimes the choir doesn’t sing the Kyrie, usually this is because the priest recites it in one of two forms (i.e., Lord we have sinned against you, Lord have mercy, etc… or a short acclimation followed by Lord have mercy, etc…)

Based on what you’ve indicated the Kyrie clearly has been skipped. I suppose it’s possible the choir is at fault immediately going to the Gloria, but I would think after a few times the priest would correct it. I would say you’re doing the right thing by asking your priest why it’s being skipped.

Keep us posted on what you find out, I would be interested in knowing why its being skipped.

Why not just ask him “Why is it that we always seem to skip the kyrie? I thought it was supposed to be used all the time?”

I once asked a priest in my parish why he always did the sermon before the Creed, thinking it was some kind of doctrinal statement. (In the new Anglican liturgy the Creed is after, but in the old it was before. This was during the old form.) He replied that it was a mistake he almost always made, but he hadn’t yet figured out an effective way to remind himself not to do it. No theological implications at all, just a brain fart.

See if you can ask for the Kyrie to be said without pointing out that the current way of doing things is incorrect. Maybe just say how much you love the Kyrie and how much it means to you and then ask if it could be done. Don’t say you’ve been looking things up. That also sounds antagonistic.


In our parish there is also one priest who also skips the Kyrie all the time. When I asked him about it, his answer was, “it is not necessary, check the Sacramentary” I checked the Sacramentary and on page 365 it says the Kyrie is then said unless one of the other options are used. ( other than the Confiteor{sp?}). I e-mailed him this information but have never rec eived a response and he continues to skip the Kyrie. I just do not attend his Masses.

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