Placement of the gradual
  • conbrio
    Posts: 41
    We are trying to introduce more chant into our liturgy, and can't seem to agree on the placement of the gradual. (We are all volunteers and the pastor is not at all involved in liturgical planning when it comes to music, funnily enough.) My understanding is that the responsorial psalm replaced the gradual, and so it then it would follow that if the gradual is sung, it would replace the psalm. Others tell me that the gradual is sung after the second reading, before the gospel. Pardon my ignorance, but there must be a definitive answer to this, and I'm pretty sure you all have that answer!
  • davido
    Posts: 898
    You are correct, responsorial psalm or the gradual. The Alleluia (in Lent the Tract) comes after the 2nd reading or immediately following the psalm/gradual on weekdays
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,780
    Before the OF there were only two readings, the Gradual and Alleluia both inbetween, before the Gospel. So one might say that the position of the Gradual-or-Responsorial-Psalm has moved from after the Epistle to before it.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Liam
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,041
    GIRM #61:

    After the first reading follows the responsorial psalm, which is an integral part of the Liturgy of the Word and which has great liturgical and pastoral importance, since it fosters meditation on the Word of god.

    The responsorial psalm should correspond to each reading and should usually be taken from the Lectionary.

    It is preferable for the responsorial psalm to be sung, at least as far as the people’s response is concerned. Hence the psalmist, or cantor of the psalm, sings the psalm verses at the ambo or another suitable place, while the whole congregation sits and listens, normally taking part by means of the response, except when the psalm is sung straight through, that is, without a response. However, in order that the people may be able to sing the psalm response more easily, texts of some responses and psalms have been chosen for the different times of the year or for the different categories of Saints. these may be used instead of the text corresponding to the reading whenever the psalm is sung. If the psalm cannot be sung, then it should be recited in a way that is particularly suited to fostering meditation on the Word of God.

    In the Dioceses of the United States of America, instead of the psalm assigned in the Lectionary, there may be sung either the responsorial gradual from the Graduale Romanum, or the responsorial psalm or the Alleluia psalm from the Graduale Simplex, as described in these books, or an antiphon and psalm from another collection of psalms and antiphons, including psalms arranged in metrical form, providing that they have been approved by the conference of bishops or the Diocesan bishop. Songs or hymns may not be used in place of the responsorial psalm.

  • conbrio
    Posts: 41
    The suggestion that the gradual is sung before the gospel came from a former monk in my choir, so I see where he was coming from. With only one reading, he would have been correct. Thank you all for the clarification. Very much appreciated.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 429
    Just speculation, but wouldn't the addition of a second reading to the OF Mass have been better served by a second gradual? That would in particular add to the (somewhat dubious/overemphasised) idea that the gradual is closely connected to the reading it follows. To each gospel its alleluia (or tract), to each reading its gradual.
  • bangerman
    Posts: 45
    conbrio, also keep in mind that there are two days in the OF where the normal placement is switched, Palm Sunday and Good Friday. The Tract is sung after the first reading (taking the place of the responsorial psalm) and the Gradual Christus factus est is sung after the second reading before the Gospel. That may be where some of the confusion is coming in.
    Thanked by 1BruceL
  • conbrio
    Posts: 41
    Bangerman, you hit the nail on the head. It was Palm Sunday when this came up, and again while planning for Good Friday. I have so much to learn!