Introit as Processional in the EF
  • In our weekly EF Mass, the priest and servers process from the back of the church (NOT from the sacristy) to the sanctuary. I am trying to figure out whether we can start singing the Introit once they start processing. Or we don't start till the priest reaches the sanctuary? From most of the EF Mass that I've been (or seen on the internet), the organist play some music during the procession and the Introit starts after the priest enters the sanctuary. But we don't have an organist. Please advice:
    The following from Catholic Encyclopedia (when you search Introit) seems to indicate the former view, but it is assuming that the priest is processing directly from the sacristy to the altar:
    At high (or sung) Mass till quite lately the rule had obtained that the choir did not begin the Introit till the celebrant began the first prayers at the foot of the altar. Now the new Vatican "Gradual" (1908) has restored the old principle, that it is to be sung while the procession moves from the sacristy to the altar. ("De redivivus servanda in cant miss" in the introduction.) It should therefore be begun as soon as the head of the procession appears in the church.
    And this is from Liber Usualis (1961)
    If the priest and ministers have some way to go in the church before reaching
    the altar, there is no reason why several Verses of the Introit Psalm should not
    be sung after the Antiphon and Verse. In that case the Antiphon may be repeated
    after every Verse or two Verses. When the priest reaches the altar, the Psalm
    is if necessary interrupted at the end of a Verse, Gloria Patri is sung, and finally
    the Antiphon.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Psallite says "35. If no sprinkling rite has preceded Mass, begin the Introit as soon as the celebrant (with any assistants) begins his journey from the sacristy to the altar. The Introit is properly a processional chant, and should not be delayed until the procession has already reached its destination, which, as Euclid would say, is absurd." And 39. "If the celebrant is a long time in reaching the altar, the Introit may be extended by the addition of further verses from the same Psalm. In this case the antiphon should be repeated after every verse, or after every two verses. When the celebrant arrives at the altar, the verse Gloria Patri is sung, and the antiphon is repeated for the last time."

    I'm no EF expert, but it seems that the inclusion/exclusion of Asperges makes a real difference here. If it is excluded, it seems that a procession from the back would be treated the same as a procession from the sacristry. At the Colloquium, they would process from the Sacristry to the back and then to the front, during which time there was organ, and then the Introit would begin once they reach the foot of the altar.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Jeffrey, are you saying that no. 35 above was not followed at the Colloquium? And that this had something to do with the Asperges? I don't remember if we sang the Asperges or not, but at a weekday Mass, the sprinkling rite would not normally be included, right? Prof. Mahrt has given such a wonderful talk about the processional chants and how they differ fromt he meditative chants, so a few of us were wondering why the Introit didn't accompany the procession.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    No, the Asperges is only for the principle Mass on Sunday. I'm not sure why we didn't sing during the procession at the Colloq EF but maybe someone else can answer. It is a good question, and I would like to learn more. Of course the move from the foot of the altar to the altar is the real procession in question here in any case.
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,021
    I think the are processions, and then there are Processions. More "solemn" processions could take a number of forms, even beginning outdoors. They were often accompanied by chant or hymnody, which was not required to be in Latin. These would end before entering the Sanctuary with a versicle/response and a collect. Then the Introit would accompany the entrance into the Sanctuary. An organ voluntary would be a substitute for this.

    I think it also depends on the timing of each part - both of the sacred ministers and of the musicians. There can be enough variables in the actions in the Sanctuary that it really helps for the schola master to sit in on any rehearsals of the sacred ministers, especially with either a stopwatch, or the Graduale open in front of you. It even became a reason for us to graduate from the Rossini Propers to the Graduale at the Assumption Missa Solemnis.

    The old model was probably more of the priest being in charge of the Sanctuary, and the musician being in charge of the choir loft. But in those days there were much more frequent High Masses. Today good "traditional" liturgy takes both communication and preparation.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Maybe someday someone will make the case to me for why it is a good thing that in the EF the Asperges precedes the Introit.