Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Liturgical Footnote #6
By Fr. J.C. Garrett

After the more somber tone of the Penitential Rite in which we recall our sinfulness and ask God’s mercy and forgiveness, the whole mode of the Mass changes rather dramatically as all present burst out in the Gloria. “The Gloria is a very ancient and venerable hymn in which the Church, gathered together in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb” (GIRM #53). This is a triumphant hymn of great joy for the redemption we have received. In the Gloria, using snatches from Scripture, we praise Jesus who, like the scapegoat in the Old Testament, has taken on the burden of sin of the enter world and has set us free.

As a hymn, it is preferred that the Gloria be sung; and always with joy! The text of the Gloria may never be replaced with some other text (GIRM #53). If the Gloria is not sung, it is to be recited by the priest and congregation together. It is always to be sung or said on solemnities and feasts, and on all Sundays outside the seasons of Advent and Lent. “Because of the triumphalist joy of the Gloria, it is omitted completely when the whole Mass is of a penitential or simple character, in Advent and Lent and on ordinary weekdays” (Fr. Francis Randolph, Know Him in the Breaking of the Bread: A Guide to the Mass, Ignatius Press, p. 59).

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