Friday, January 28, 2005

Liturgical Footnote #3
By Fr. J.C. Garrett

The Mass is for everyone. To try to exclude anyone from the Mass would be to deny that the Church is really Catholic. We should never try to form close-knit, closed “worshipping community,” made up of only like-minded people. We also have think beyond just “my parish” for each parish is part of the Universal Church, forming the One Mystical Body of Christ. Even though we come to church each week as a large number of individuals, we need to come together in prayer. One of the most effective ways to do this is with music.

Once the people have gathered, as the priest and other liturgical ministers enter, the gathered community begins the Introit, better known as the Entrance Hymn. The Introit sets the tone for the Mass and states the theme of the celebration. We express our willingness to come together, in love and acceptance of all those around us, for the celebration of Mass. Closed mouths and crossed arms suggest hearts and minds that are close to the love God is offering us and calling us to participate in. In others words – SING! God does not care how well you sing, He just wants us to give all of ourselves to the praise of His Name, just as He gave all of Himself in the sacrifice of Christ for our sins.

Believe it or not, there is a proper Introit for each Mass. In the United States there are four options (generally considered in this order of preference) for the Entrance Chant: (1) the antiphon, taken from the Roman Missal, or the Psalm of the Roman Gradual is set to music (all things being equal, place of pride and preference is given to Gregorian Chant accompanied by the organ); (2) the seasonal antiphon and Psalm from the Simple Gradual; (3) a song from another collection of psalms and antiphons, approved by the Bishops’ Conference or the local bishop; (4) a suitable liturgical song approved by the Bishop’s Conference or the local bishop. If options (3) or (4) is used, the song should reflect the theme for the Mass.

If the Introit is not sung, as is often done during the daily Mass, the antiphon for that day’s Mass is to be recited either by the congregation, the lector, or the priest.

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