When a lay person sings the Exsultet

There are parts of the Exsultet reserved for the Deacon or Priest. As I understand it, that part begins with “My dearest friends, standing with me in this holy light,” and ends after “The Lord be with you. And also with you.”

Am I correct in assuming that the lay cantor would do the responsorial portion that would then begin with “Lift up your hearts?” That’s how the directions appear, but it just seems weird.

Anybody know for sure? Thanks!


I don’t have it in front of me right now, but I believe that’s where I’ve picked it up again. After the section done by the priest, that is.

I know it seems awkward, but that’s where the directions state to continue.

Happy Lent!!

Yes, you are reading it correctly. I just checked to be certain.

The layperson does not say “The Lord be with you” but DOES say “Lift up your hearts”

Yes you are correct. I must admit though that we do a bit of a work around. I sing the “My dearest friends …” part and just change the word “minister” to “believer”. Then the priest sings “The Lord be with you” and I lead the congregation in singing “and also with you”. He sings “Lift up your hearts” and I lead the congregation singing " We have lifted them up …" Then I pick up at “It is truly right …” It seems to work out okay and I think it is a good balance between the letter of the law and providing the fullest amount of the prayer. My pastor at the time wore two hearing aids and was unable to sing it himself and we had no deacon.


In our parish the celebrant sings the bit reserved to the deacon or priest and the cantor then sings the rest. It works smoothly, and I see nothing forbidding it.

Thanks, Father David! I was hoping you would answer.

And thanks to everyone else also. Happy Easter to everyone.


You’re welcome. It’s simply a matter of reading the Sacramentary and doing exactly what it says there (of course, you probably don’t have one on your desk or you wouldn’t be asking;)–happy to make mine available via the web).

I admit that I read through it a few times to be certain before I hit the “submit” button because it does seem a bit odd to pick up with “lift up your hearts.”

A bit off topic (I apologize), but is it permissible for two cantors to sing the Exultet? When I was in college I and another music student sang the Exsultet. We took turns singing the phrases (skipping the priest/deacon parts) and then sang about the last two pages in parallel fourths or fifths (harmony). His voice and mine blended beautifully, and we were both well-trained as singers and cantors. But that parish was known for breaking the rules constantly.

So, is having two cantors, or the entire choir sing the Exsultet permissable?


Here’s what the Sacramentary says “If necessary, the Easter Proclamation may be sung by one who is not a deacon.”

Perhaps someone at that parish likewise did not have a copy of the Sacramentary…

I team sing it with another cantor and I do the “my dearest friends” part as well, skipping the parts we are not supposed to sing, and alternating the rest. It always turns out very well but I am still a bit nervous doing it. I did not see the passage in the sacramentary until now.

I also sing the “Light of Christ” at the beginning when the Paschal candle is brought in and the “This is the wood of the cross” on Good Friday.

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