Introit and entrance hymn?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,307
    This discussion was created from comments split from: Sung Introits.

    I split this off into a separate thread because it turned into a discussion of something different from the OP's question.
  • Jani
    Posts: 386
    I wanted to ask this very question myself with a slightly different angle. I'm thinking this is one way to s-l-o-w-l-y incorporate chant into our Mass. Is it appropriate to sing the introit and still have a hymn?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,281
    Is it appropriate to sing the introit and still have a hymn?


    This is sometimes referred to 'round these parts as "stuffing." Opinion varies, but many people would tell you it's fine. (I would be one of them.)

    Also, if it's BEFORE the hymn and procession, it's just a choral prelude. So even extreme scrupulosity could hardly say a word against it.
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    Do a search. The liturgy secretariat for the USCCB responded that this practice is wholly licit in response to an officially submitted question.

    Also - it is NOT a prelude. At our church, the cantor goes up. Welcomes everyone and announces the entrance hymn. The people stand. THEN the Introit is sung. It is the Introit. The hymn that follows merely accompanies the long procession that includes incense, choir, servers, deacon, and priest. Sort of like at huge chrism masses, a hymn or introit may be infused with instrumental interludes, etc. etc.

    Finally, extreme scrupulosity has no place in the celebration of the liturgy. Say the black, do the red? ABSOLUTELY. Legitimate adaptations to local circumstances? Equally valid.
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 461
    Do a search. The liturgy secretariat for the USCCB responded that this practice is wholly licit in response to an officially submitted question.

    It's not clear to me that the liturgy secretariat of the USCCB has the ability to official interpret the rubrics.

    Here's the relevant section of the GIRM:
    47. When the people are gathered, and as the Priest enters with the Deacon and ministers, the Entrance Chant begins. Its purpose is to open the celebration, foster the unity of those who have been gathered, introduce their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical time or festivity, and accompany the procession of the Priest and ministers.

    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 Graduale Romanum, as set to music there or in another setting; (2) the antiphon and Psalm of the Graduale 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.

    If there is no singing at the Entrance, the antiphon given in the Missal is recited either by the faithful, or by some of them, or by a reader; otherwise, it is recited by the Priest himself, who may even adapt it as an introductory explanation (cf. no. 31).
    Music sung before the entrance of the ministers is a prelude, not an introit.

    The rubrics for the EF are different. The new rubrics (introit accompanies entrance) are a settlement of a debate between those who regarded the introit as something sung during the prayers at the foot of the altar following the organ processional (as the early 20th century rubrics had specified after the rite had developed) and the restoration of the introit to being a proper processional chant as urged by the liturgical movement (as was made an option in the 20th century). Both methods options remain licit in the EF.
  • Jani
    Posts: 386
    So....since it takes about 10 seconds total for our procession, it would be okay to sing the introit immediately before the procession? We don't do the whole welcome thing (I wonder how many parishes do), but we do have a lovely set of bells on the wall of which the priest tugs the cord to signal the beginning of Mass. Of course at that point the guitar player says "please turn to hymn number blah blah in your Missal, hymn number blah blah" which, along with being totally unnecessary, it totally destroys the ambiance, but whatever.

    Sorry about my comments here crossing with others that have my answers!
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Jahaza, I think we've captured this hill many times before. The either/or scenario of GIRM processional #1 options specifically refer solely to the GR. Therefore, at worst the SEP/SCG et al become more apt alius cantus aptus plural. PGA's solution for the Introit is elegant, but were we to apply it here, I have no doubts that a sizable number of folks would, even if silently, resent it as yet another invention of the music ministry/choirs to fatten (not stuff) the Mass time with performance. Theoretically, PGA's method is commendable for not exceeding the amount of music appropriate to the length of the Introit procession, but as many have commented before, the preludial usage also serves as one heck of a call to contemplative worship. You want yappers to stop talking prior in the pews, start chanting. The Communio is a whole 'nuther matter, well suited for stuffing!
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 461
    melofluent, I'm not entirely sure I understand your comment.

    I'm not deprecating in the least singing the SEP/SCG as entrance music. I'm just saying that if you sing them before the entrance music they're a prelude and not an introit/other form of entrance music.

    I was responding to PGA comment: Also - it is NOT a prelude

    If it is sung before the entrance of the ministers it is a prelude not introit/entrance music, even if it takes the musical form of an introit.

    I'm unsure if you are deprecating the use of introit/entrance chant as prelude or if you are saying that's OK and that singing two pieces during the entrance is difficult as an "invention of the music ministry/choirs to fatten (not stuff) the Mass time with performance"
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    Well, it is not a prelude. To me, once the people have stood up, and the opening announcements are complete, it is not a prelude. It is the introit. With a hymn added. But were it a prelude, it would be done as folks are getting to their seats, before they've been admonished to silence their cell phones and told how they can follow the liturgy of the day and before they are standing.

    And as for the arguments about the USCCB secretariat lacking authority ... yadda, yadda, yadda. Ok, I don't have hours to argue about technical legalities with people who fashion themselves amateur canon lawyers.

    Do you think the liturgy secretariat of the NATIONAL CONFERENCE might have more knowledge than you? Than your pastor? Than me? Than probably any individual bishop? Yeah, I do too. Good enough for me.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,281
    It's not clear to me that the liturgy secretariat of the USCCB has the ability to official interpret the rubrics.

    I rather think it's part of his official duties, and that his interpretation (even if it you disagree with it) is de facto correct.

    Umpire 1: Some are balls and some are strikes. I call 'em as I see 'em.
    Umpire 2: Some are balls and some are strikes. I call 'em what they are.
    Umpire 3: Some are balls and some are strikes. But they ain't nuthin' 'til I call 'em.

    (Umpire 3 is how authority in the Church works, BTW).

    If you sing the Introit, and then Process to a hymn, you are singing a prelude that happens to be the Introit of the day.

    If you sing a hymn first and then process to an introit, you are really singing the introit, and also engaging in a pre-Mass sing-along.

    If you process to to a hymn, and then have everyone stand around while you then sing the introit, you are more likely to incur the wrath of your congregation than that of the liturgical police. Practicality, rather than licitness, will likely be your stumbling block.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,424
    At our Sunday EF Missa Cantata, we sing a vernacular hymn as the Entrance Procession, then Father proceeds immediately with the Asperges, after which he removes the cope and vests in chasuble and maniple. When he approaches the altar after vesting, that is our signal to begin the Introit.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,281
    At our Sunday EF Missa Cantata, we sing a vernacular hymn as the Entrance Procession, then Father proceeds immediately with the Asperges, after which he removes the cope and vests in chasuble and maniple. When he approaches the altar after vesting, that is our signal to begin the Introit.


    Which makes sense in that context, since the Asperges happens before Mass.
    So you are engaging in "a pre-Mass sing-along."

    (Which I think is great, BTW.)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,948
    (Umpire 3 is how authority in the Church works, BTW).


    No. No no no no no no no.

    That's only when it's being done badly.

    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Theo
    Posts: 50
    At my church, the choir used to sign the introit every week. We cut back on plainchant last year for some unexplained reason. The introit is sung after the cantor welcomes the congregation and announces the opening hymn and the name of the celebrant. The introit is sung at a side chapel. The entrance procession begins after the introit is over.
  • Julie, that's what we do at the principal Mass, too. The other sung mass (no Asperges) begins with the Introit.

    For non-Sundays, we often still have an entrance hymn before the Introit, though not always.
    Thanked by 1JulieColl
  • Theo
    Posts: 50
    At some churches, the cantor speaks the introit before welcoming the congregation and announcing the entrance hymn, or speaks it in between those two things.
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 461
    I rather think it's part of his official duties, and that his interpretation (even if it you disagree with it) is de facto correct.

    I don't think it's part of his official duties to interpret liturgical law (as opposed to providing expert guidance on liturgical law.) There are rules for who authentically interprets (which is to act as umpire 3) the law of the Church:

    Can. 16 §1. The legislator authentically interprets laws as does the one to whom the same legislator has entrusted the power of authentically interpreting.

    §2. An authentic interpretation put forth in the form of law has the same force as the law itself and must be promulgated. If it only declares the words of the law which are certain in themselves, it is retroactive; if it restricts or extends the law, or if it explains a doubtful law, it is not retroactive.

    §3. An interpretation in the form of a judicial sentence or of an administrative act in a particular matter, however, does not have the force of law and only binds the persons for whom and affects the matters for which it was given.

    As far as I know, neither the USCCB or the Bishops' Committee for Liturgy has been given the power of authentically interpreting the liturgical law (generally speaking). Individual bishops have certain powers to interpret liturgical law, but they are not absolute. The legislative acts of the USCCB are generally only binding laws with the recognitio of the Holy See.

    I'm not arguing that singing an intorit as a prelude and then a hymn at the entrance is illicit, though.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,307
    It's premature to talk about "who authentically interprets the law". The Secretariat probably made no such claim anyway. By the way, fans, "authentic interpretation" is church-law lingo for "authoritative and binding interpretation". Somebody who cares, please give us a quote.



  • Our opening hymn covers the entrance of the altar party, the sprinkling of the altar, the sprinkling of the altar party, and the sprinkling of the people, with the sacred ministers then waiting at the west entrance. We don't use any of the Asperges chant or prayers. Then the introit starts (sung by the schola), and the sacred ministers go up the main aisle to the altar and cense the altar. Then they go to the sedilia and wait for the introit to end (not long).

    But we're Anglo-Catholic...not all of that may be OK according to GIRM. It flows well for us.
  • Ignoto
    Posts: 126
    Do a search. The liturgy secretariat for the USCCB responded that this practice is wholly licit in response to an officially submitted question.

    PGA, do you have a link to that? Thanks.
  • At my parish I have begun singing the Introit a capella with one or two voices *immediately* before the bells ring (they ring exactly as Mass is to begin). After the bells, the processional hymn begins.

    The important part is to pick a good hymn, sharing thematic and hopefully scriptural elements with the Introit. That way, at least I hope, the hymn will serve as a trope to the Introit, reinforcing or driving home its main ideas in a vernacular way. Otherwise, I think it risks being swallowed by the hymn.

    As much as I understand that it is not ideal, and that the Introit is itself the text given for the Entrance, I find the Prelude Hymn/Introit solution (which I worshipped with for about two years) very awkward, as it interrupts private prayer before Mass.

    To my mind, a soft organ prelude secures a meditative soundspace, a solo text sung unaccompanied and unobtrusively gently invites one into contemplating the text of the Mass, and then the congregation rises to meet the celebrant and at that point moves from private devotions to public, sung liturgy. It builds to the Mass stepwise, growing, rather than moving from silence or meditative music, to standing and singing a loud hymn, then waiting, perhaps kneeling again, and then standing and listening to soft music while the thing actually gets going, which seems (at least to a vulgar taste) a little anticlimactic. Just my opinion :-)

    And anyway, it's not as if the Introit ceases to be the Introit just because it is not sung over the procession. It is still the text presented for our consideration on that day. If it does not cover the procession, at least it colors it, and it provides a context for the hymn, helping to eliminate the arbitrary vacuum from which too many liturgies seem to come.
    Thanked by 3Jani Gavin CHGiffen
  • bkenney27bkenney27
    Posts: 444
    For Advent, I have asked the Director of Liturgy to have the presider incense the altar, et al, during the procession. We will sing the congregational hymn until they are at the foot of the altar and then the choir will chant the Introit from the Graduale Romanum during the incensation. The congregation will have worship aids with the English translation.
    Thanked by 1Salieri
  • Just sing the introit! no hymn. Then there is a different energy and you may discover a fresh solemnity in the Mass. It's much more prayerful . The verses are powerful too. Whatever collection you use, be sure everyone can understand the text. Let the chant reveal its secret. The introits lack nothing but the courage and fortitude to perform them.

    Thanked by 2CHGiffen dad29
  • Ralph,

    None of us here doubts the power and meaning of the Introit! That's why we are at pains to introduce it! But forcing people out of their customs very quickly can often backfire.

    There's a local parish at which the RotR was flourishing, or so it seemed, until the pastor left. They had reintroduced ad orientem, devotions to the Blessed Sacrament, chant ordinaries and propers, quit the abusive overuse of EMOHC's, &c.

    Once the pastor left, however, they simply reverted to the old normal, even before the new pastor arrived. The EMOHC's came back, the orientation was gone, the music program reverted. And it's not even like the pastor had tried to introduce Latin, so they could certainly understand every word. I think the OP's suggestion is a perfectly "organic" way to push the liturgy in a more integrated direction, particularly as he made mention of a "guitar player!" Still a long way to go, I think, before they'll be happy with a chant-only entrance.
  • as he made mention of a "guitar player!" Still a long way to go
    I am not sure what this means. Guitars are not obstacles to a solemn liturgy with propers, songs or hymns.

    Thanked by 2melofluent ParleyDee
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,307
    Jani's mention of the guitar player wasn't about the instrument; Jani was just giving the opinion that announcing the hymn number is unnecessary.

    Personally, I'd like to dispense with such announcements, but the faithful attending Mass appear to get some benefit from them, especially when the pews are equipped with both a missal booklet and a hymnal.
  • Ralph,

    You're right; I let my common experience of guitars think for me. I assumed too much, and perhaps I also assumed too much about how much is really possible for the OP in his parish. I certainly agree with your vision as the ideal.
  • Ralph, while I agree with you, it is going to depend on the people in the parish and their acceptance of chant versus hymns. As DOM, I've decided to chant the introit after the priest rings the bell, but while the procession in still in the back of the church. Once the introit is sung, I begin the processional hymn. Our aisle is very short so it takes all of 5 seconds to get to the altar, but I always sing at least two verses of the processional hymn. It has worked well in a parish that is vehemently opposed to chant. After almost two years of this approach, the people are finally getting the idea that the chanted introit is saying something wonderful and it prepares them for the start of mass, without totally deleting a hymn.
  • Music teacher:

    If it's preparing them for Mass, then the hymn starts the Mass, not the introit. I tried something similar to what you describe more than 2 decades ago. My intention was, eventually, to drop the hymn and leave the introit intact. No such luck.

  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,307
    Psst: try it again.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • NihilNominis
    Posts: 290
    Years later, new parish.

    Normal Sunday Mass (smoke-free), Introit immediately precedes procession.

    Solemnities with incense, Congregation now accustomed to Introit is okay with this shifted from before the hymn to afterwards during incensation.

    Final step: always use incense, always do the correct order.

    It can transition!
  • We do Introit + hymn at both of our Sunday choir Masses. We do the introit first, which covers the procession from the sacristy hallway up the side ambulatory to the back, and partway down the main aisle toward the sanctuary (depending on length of text). Then, a short organ interlude/introduction to the hymn, and the hymn. At one mass we have a chant schola chanting the Graduale introit. At the SATB choir mass, we use SATB settings I've composed of the Roman Missal entrance antiphons (similar in difficulty to the Healy Willan introits). Yes, I know - singing the Missal antiphons. Oh the horror! :)

    Ideally, I like to avoid:

    Having a solo voice chant any antiphons. I don't like having one voice piped over the sound system, for aesthetic reasons.

    Having too much music for the actual processing. Admittedly, this can be difficult when we don't do incense, especially when the antiphon is quite long. Regulating the speed of the entrance procession can be difficult. I think it's best to avoid the tokenism of having either hymn or antiphon accompany no motion (e.g. chanting the introit after the priest is already at the chair). BUT I would rather deal with those imperfections, and endeavor to improve how we handle them, for the sake of the increased richness of having processional introits every week.

    In advent and lent we nix the hymn and just have the introit, which makes for a nice seasonal difference.

    I would add - I prefer to start with the introit, because of the relative volume of the introit vs. a full congregational hymn with organ. Coming out of quiet prelude music, the introit can be powerful. Following after a big hymn with organ, an introit can seem redundant or anemic. Now, if there is lots of time and the organist can improvise a gradual decrescendo/stylistic shift from hymn to chant, this effect can be mitigated.
    Thanked by 1MarkB
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 949
    I gather that when people say 'the introit' the are generally thinking just of the antiphon and not of the way of using laid down in OCM or the GR (and GS) Praenotanda. That goes :-
    Antiphon, verse, Antiphon, (verse, Antiphon ....), Gloria Patri .., Antiphon. And the instruction is to make it as long or short as neccessary to accompany the procession.
    I note that the covering documents describe OCM as 'public law'. (I have seen no instruction clarifying whether the incensation is part of the procession, as I assume)
    The recommended method serves quite well at Westminster Cathedral, both in Latin at the main sung Mass, and in English with cantor and congregation (with a simplified antiphon).
    Thanked by 1Paul F. Ford
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 692
    Coming out of quiet prelude music, the introit can be powerful. Following after a big hymn with organ, an introit can seem redundant or anemic.

    I see what you're saying and remember just this impression at the National Shrine in Washington. However, I would say that the transition to priest after choir or schola sings is even more important. It's not so much how the hymn+introit or introit+hymn works by itself (or how it transitions from the prelude), but how it leads to what follows.

    After the big hymn, the chanted introit is just what is needed to bring the congregation to the calm necessary to begin mass. I've always thought that the lone voice of the priest speaking or chanting "In the name of the Father . . . " (or worse, some improvised greeting or getting his microphone ready) was a jolting transition after the last strains of the grand hymn echoed through the building. The chant of the introit is a better segue to the chant of the priest, in my opinion.
    Thanked by 1Settefrati93
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,554
    Well, yes. Hymn -> Introit -> Greeting is a natural decrescendo, with the inflection being the recited sign of the cross, building up again to the Gloria....

    Meantime, the DoM at my (membership) parish has eliminated printing the text of the Introit and Communion in the worship flyer AND eliminated the singing of same, whether English or Latin (OF Masses.) At the same time, there will be 15-20 EF Masses celebrated on Friday evenings and some Sunday evenings through next June.

    That corresponds to the elimination of the Chant choir (before it uttered a public peep) at my (territorial) parish, except there will be no EF Masses, period.