QUAERITUR: Entrance Antiphon not used at Sunday Mass

From a reader:

Our Church never says the Entrance Antiphon for Sunday Mass. It seems such a beautiful prayer, we usually sing the Entrance Song. Any thoughts on this?

It seems to me that the Introit chant/text is actually part of Mass.  Hymns substitute for the Introit (Entrance Antiphon).

It seems to me that the whole of the Mass formulary ought to be used.  That includes the Introit.

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14 Responses to QUAERITUR: Entrance Antiphon not used at Sunday Mass

  1. albinus1 says:

    In a former life, at a different university from the one where I am now, about 20 years ago, I started going to daily Mass at the University’s Newman Center. At every Mass the congregation recited the Entrance antiphon together. It floored me — I’d never heard it done before! And I found it really striking, impressive, and meaningful. They also recited the Offertory and Communion antiphons. Perhaps it works more easily at a smaller Mass in a smaller space, as these daily, weekday Masses were; but still, it works.

  2. Alice says:

    According to the GIRM, the Entrance Antiphon is omitted if a hymn is sung. Since Catholics have been singing hymns at the beginning of Mass as long as anyone can remember, this means that at a sung Mass it is omitted. I wish that weren’t the case, but we lay music directors don’t get to argue with the GIRM.

  3. pberginjr says:

    So you omit the hymn and sing the proper chant (introit), which is option 1 in the GIRM not option 4 (hymns)

  4. Martial Artist says:

    @Alice,

    I assume that your reference is to the 2011 GIRM accompanying the corrected English translation of the Roman Missal.

    The 2011 GIRM reads as follows with respect to The Entrance [bold emphases added]:

    48. This chant is sung alternately by the choir and the people or similarly by a cantor and the people, or entirely by the people, or by the choir alone. In the Dioceses of the United States of America, there are four options for the Entrance Chant: (1) the antiphon from the Missal or the antiphon with its Psalm from the Gradual Romanum, as set to music there or in another setting; (2) the antiphon and Psalm of the Graduate Simplex for the liturgical time; (3) a chant from another collection of Psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including Psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) another liturgical chant that is suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year, similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.

    The above is a distinct and not inconsequential change from the earlier (2003) edition of the GIRM, in that it replaces “liturgical song” with the specific phrase “liturgical chant.” Do you know whether or not the “hymns” that are being used have been approved by either the USCCB or the Diocesan Bishop? On the answer to that will hinge whether or not it comports with the requirements of Option 4.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer
    ______________________
    You can find the above quoted text, plus a helpful discussion on Chant Cafe, especially in this article from July 8, 2009

  5. Alice, “Catholics have been singing hymns at the beginning of Mass as long as anyone can remember” overlooks the historical fact that Catholics were singing the antiphons long before hymns, and I suspect for a longer period of Church history. Also, the antiphons ARE >sungantiphons< can't be sung instead of the hymns.

    I do wish, though, that the Church would provide an official English translation of the Offertory antiphons. I was hoping the (excellent!) new translation of the Missal might be an opportunity to provide them…

  6. Alice, “Catholics have been singing hymns at the beginning of Mass as long as anyone can remember” overlooks the historical fact that Catholics were singing the antiphons long before hymns, and I suspect for a longer period of Church history. Also, the antiphons ARE sung, and so there’s not reason why they can’t be sung at “a sung Mass” instead of the hymns.

    I do wish, though, that the Church would provide an official English translation of the Offertory antiphons. I was hoping the (excellent!) new translation of the Missal might be an opportunity to provide them…

  7. RichR says:

    Introits are becoming more popular again.

    Our men’s schola just does them when we are asked to sing at a parish, and it works out fine. We ring a bell from the choir loft to signal people to stand and we start singing. The Introit usually covers a full procession if you do the Verse, Gloria Patri, then repeat the Verse. The congregation is given a small worship aid we make for the specific day that has all the translations in it so they can follow, and for Ordinary chants the neumes are there for the congregation to sing along with. People usually do.

  8. jesusthroughmary says:

    Alice says:
    29 November 2011 at 5:07 pm
    “According to the GIRM, the Entrance Antiphon is omitted if a hymn is sung. Since Catholics have been singing hymns at the beginning of Mass as long as anyone can remember, this means that at a sung Mass it is omitted. I wish that weren’t the case, but we lay music directors don’t get to argue with the GIRM.”

    1. 1970 is not “as long as anyone can remember”. I asked my mother, and she remembers 1963.
    2. The entrance antiphons are meant to be sung; they are all set to chant in the 1974 Graduale Romanum (yes, the Graduale was rewritten for the Novus Ordo in the 1970s).
    3. See the other comments above regarding what the GIRM ACTUALLY says about the options for the beginning of Mass.
    4. Before Vatican II, hymns were only sung in place of the propers at Low Mass; the Introit was required at every Sung Mass. This was because the propers are integral to the Mass, whereas hymns are not, so when the Mass was sung, the whole Mass was sung, and that included the propers. When none of the Mass was sung, then hymns could be sung by the people during Mass as a devotional practice. But they were never considered to be part of the Mass. In other words, you could have a low Mass without hymns, but you couldn’t have a sung Mass without sung propers.

  9. Mr. P says:

    The Church has music for us to use, we should humbly submit to Holy Mother Church

  10. Henrietta says:

    As a Church organist (who chooses music for her local parish). I always try to match to choose a hymn with words/themes that are similar to the Entrance Antiphon. I do the same with the Communion Antiphon. This is how I was taught to do when I studied Music and Liturgy as part of my undergraduate Arts degree.

  11. darcy-wi says:

    Any choir can start using the propers in English now (no cost to download): http://musicasacra.com/sep/ and http://musicasacra.com/books/simplechoralgradual.pdf. It’s a blessing to be able to sing the official music of the Church. In places that are attached to hymns, it is usually possible to sing both a hymn and the proper chant for entrance, offertory, and communion.

  12. Genna says:

    The answer may be to have a devotional hymn before the priest’s entrance and then move on to the proper chant as he processes. It would achieve two things: concentrate minds on the Mass to come and shut down the chatterers.

  13. JonPatrick says:

    At the EF High Mass I usually attend there is an entrance hymn as the priest and servers process in, then the Introit is sung by the choir during the prayers at the foot of the altar. Not sure how you would do something similar at the OF since there is no Judica Me and the Confiteor is done along with the people, but it seems there is a precedent for having both the entrance hymn and the Introit.

  14. benedetta says:

    Before relocating to a different region I attended Mass on Sundays where the Introit was chanted from the choir, followed by a hymn sung together by the congregation during the processional. The chanted Introit was quite beautiful, and altogether helped in the process of placing one’s self in the presence of the Lord and to prepare with one’s neighbors in the congregation for the action of worship.