Lucien Deiss on Entrance Procession
  • The following is a direct quote from a forum that I found an interesting viewpoint, whether or not I agree with it. Which I do not, but find explains some things to me.

    "The late Lucien Deiss, in his excellent book, Visions of Liturgy and Music for a New Century, says that regulating the length of the Entrance Song strictly according to the time it takes for the priest to reach the altar "reveals a strictly clerical view of the liturgy". He goes on to point out that this song is the act of the whole community, of which the priest is a part. "To remain liturgically authentic, we must affirm that the entrance song performs a ministerial frunction. It must, therefore, last as long as necessary for it to perform that function, that is, all the time it takes for the community to gather spiritually as one and acclaim Christ... whatever time it takes to create a celebrating community.""
  • SkirpRSkirpR
    Posts: 854
    As I may have mentioned before, I do find a certain wisdom to that - if from no other place than that's what I grew up with. And I think there really is a place for a "Gathering" song or hymn. Before Mass. Father can even be standing in the back of the church. He can even walk up to the edge of the sanctuary since it is a "community, of which the priest is a part."

    Then after all 8 verses (or whatever length Fr. Deiss had in mind) is complete, he can begin the procession or go into the sanctuary as we sing the Introit.

    I don't see Opening/Gathering hymn/song and the Introit as being mutually exclusive, but I would always place the Introit second at the true start of Mass, accompanying a liturgial action - not as some prelude. Compared with leaving out the Opening/Gathering hymn/song altogether, I think after a few weeks, people might not even remember the difference. (Of course, many parishes are crazy places!)
  • The Entrance Song, Offertory Song and Communion Song are only to be sung to cover the action. And this is based upon the true fact that the Mass is a strictly clerical event, celebrated by a man who, much as a sister or nun, has given up a normal life, if there is such a thing, and vowed to serve God in a clerical role.

    The Mass is only to be celebrated if there is someone there other than the priest, so the Mass is not something that he says alone (although later in the document it says if there is no one there, the priest is still to say Mass) but something that he says for the people.

    Music is not expected to "create a celebrating community". If creating a celebrating community is what is important, why bother having a priest? The total disregard that the Mass is about Christ being present in the Host not about creating a celebrating community.
  • SkirpRSkirpR
    Posts: 854
    I'm with you on the "creating a celebrating community" business. It is certainly not necessary. But I see no problem in the congregation singing a song together *before* Mass starts if that is the custom or preference. I see no reason to remove it completely, provided it's in its proper context.
  • The Entrance Song, Offertory Song and Communion Song are only to be sung to cover the action.


    For the entrance, the GIRM would appear to disagree with your statement. See this excerpt from STL, which quotes the GIRM.

    140. These rites are designed “to ensure that the faithful who come together as one establish communion and dispose themselves to listen properly to God’s word and to celebrate the Eucharist worthily.”108 So that the people might come together as one, it is appropriate that they always sing at least one piece as a congregation in the introductory rites—Entrance song or chant, Kyrie, or Gloria—apart from the sung dialogues of the Liturgy.

    The Entrance Chant or Song
    142. After the entire liturgical assembly has been gathered, an Entrance chant or song is sung as the procession with the priest, deacon, and ministers enters the church. “The purpose of this chant is to open the celebration, foster the unity of those who have been gathered, introduce their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical season or festivity, and accompany the procession of the priest and ministers.”109

    143. Care must be taken in the treatment of the texts of psalms, hymns, and songs in the Liturgy. Verses and stanzas should not be omitted arbitrarily in ways that risk distorting their content. While not all musical pieces require that all verses or stanzas be sung, verses should be omitted only if the text to be sung forms a coherent whole.

    108 - GIRM, no. 46.
    109 - GIRM, no. 47.


    Of course, I've seen many times in this community the assertion that order is important in the GIRM, as that lends greater support to the Graduale. In this case, that interpretation would mean that the least important role of the entrance song/chant is to accompany the procession of the priest and ministers. Hmmm...
  • Thank you for posting this commentary. It answers a question that has been nagging at me for quite a long time. It seems though my parish has bought into this argument hook, line and sinker. Our entrance hymn goes on into what seems to be eternity. It's painful enough that it's the OCP drek, but, it's excruciating to have to sing all of the verses of it, since the procession is not very long.
  • I fear that the most recent GIRM and STTL are extremely weak. They both, and this is only a guess, suffer from being written at a time when young priests are challenging the liturgical abuses and they waffle unmerciully in the wind.

    While not all musical pieces require that all verses or stanzas be sung, verses should be omitted only if the text to be sung forms a coherent whole."

    as an example. Omit verse only if the text forms a coherent whole?

    The GIRM states that one person music be present for a priest to say Mass yet in the next paragraph states the it is important for the priest to offer Mass every day even if no one else is present.

    Singing anything at length (unless there is a specific reason for a procession of length) at the beginning of Mass can overshadow the singing of the brief Kyrie and then the lengthy Gloria, the great hymn of the church. It makes no sense to sing verse after verse of a generic hymn to "bring people together" just before they come together to sing the great hymn of the church.

    It's like stopping before the Lamb of God and offering everyone a sip of water before they come forward to receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,833
    Interesting that the GIRM 140 quote includes the Kyrie and Gloria, implying that either of those OR the "entrance song"--(I assume a hymn)--serves the functions they list.

    Also interesting is this: Pius X's definition of sacred music was '[that which] glorifies God and elevates the minds and hearts of the people to God.'

    "Sacred music" does not seem to include hymns under Pius X's other definitions.

    So: the GIRM does not seem to mandate all "8 verses" of a hymn; rather, it calls for SOME congregational singing of at least ONE of the entrance rite's elements.
  • Yes - another example of the waffling. For centuries the Introit was sung, then the Kyrie, then the Gloria on Sundays and feasts. It, along with the Confiteor, were standard.

    So today people are expected to sing a song or introit or kyrie or gloria or combinations of the above. Any wonder why they don't sing?

    Last year's OCP Missal failed to include the proper text of the ordinary of the Mass, replacing them with sung variations of the text, leaving people at spoken Mass without the words to say. "Well, Catholics already know it." is an answer that shows disregard for converts, possible converts and Catholics who may not be at Mass all the time.

    Making so many things optional has not improved the active participation of the people, rather it has discouraged it.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,043
    Thanks for posting Fr. Deiss' view on the subject: I think his remark about time has a certain wisdom, but perhaps it could have expressed a better integration. Not only should the entrance chant be extended to a suitable length beyond the minimum; the entrance procession should also be extended beyond a utilitarian minimum. The procession is an opportunity for the congregation to break out of the functional mindset of everyday life and enter into the liturgy's sense of sacred time, action, and purpose. It is good for the priest to venerate the altar and the crucifix with incense; when these are done, the chant should be extended appropriately. The norms in Ordo Cantus Missae (see page 9 of the linked PDF) provide that the Introit verses (including the Gloria Patri) may be increased as necessary to conform to the actual duration of the procession.
  • Paragraph 140 is Sing to the Lord—the quote is from the GIRM, the rest is commentary. STL is only binding where it quotes binding documents—like the GIRM. I have encountered from some clergy the desire to especially minimize the opening hymn/chant/song for those services where a sprinkling rite is done along with a gloria so that the gathering rite does not overshadow the Liturgy of the Word or the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In my current parish, we often omit the gathering song all-together in that situation, and the Mass begins at the baptismal font (by the main entrance in our building).

    While not all musical pieces require that all verses or stanzas be sung, verses should be omitted only if the text to be sung forms a coherent whole.


    I read that sentence differently than you did, Noel. As I read it, we should only omit verses if the end result is still a coherent text. There are some Protestant congregations that I've subbed at when I was younger that would always do verses 1, 2 and the last (or something along those lines) with no regard to what text was being omitted.

    I fear that the most recent GIRM and STTL are extremely weak.


    It's my experience that the current GIRM is not that dramatically different from the original NO GIRM. The most recent version seemed to mostly clarify and to close gaps where abuses have crept in. I'll have to take a look at an older edition when I get a chance to see if these 2 paragraphs have been changed over the years. I think I've got a side-by-side edition somewhere around here.

    It makes no sense to sing verse after verse of a generic hymn to "bring people together" just before they come together to sing the great hymn of the church.


    You're right—it doesn't for a "generic hymn". If the hymn is indeed "generic", there would be no loss to the "coherent whole" to omit stanzas.
  • The procession is an opportunity for the congregation to break out of the functional mindset of everyday life and enter into the liturgy's sense of sacred time, action, and purpose.


    Exactly!
  • Keep GIRM 37 in mind:

    37. Finally, concerning the other formulas,:

    a. Some constitute an independent rite or act, such as the Gloria, the responsorial Psalm, the Alleluia and verse before the Gospel, the Sanctus, the Memorial Acclamation, and the cantus post communionem;

    b. Others accompany another rite, such as the chants at the Entrance, at the Offertory, at the fraction (Agnus Dei), and at Communion.


    Thus, the entrance chant is not a stand-alone event. At some point, if it keeps going after the entrance of the ministers, it becomes a stand-alone event or at least overwhelms the rite it is meant simply to accompany.
  • Great point, Ioannes!
  • You are absolutely right about the verses, thanks for getting the cobwebs out of my mind on that one and the rest as well!
  • We’ve addressed the essence of this issue before (see here .)

    I agree with Marc Cerisier, Ioannes Andreades, and Richard Chonak. I have many points to take up with Noel Jones.

    Noel said:
    The Entrance Song, Offertory Song and Communion Song are only to be sung to cover the action. And this is based upon the true fact that the Mass is a strictly clerical event, . . .


    Noel’s first statement is true only if one understands the total action of the entrance rite. The total action of the entrance rite includes to opening the celebration, fostering the unity of those who have been gathered, introducing their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical season or festivity, and accompanying the procession of the priest and ministers, the veneration of the altar, and, when these are done, the incensation of the crucifix and altar. GIRM 50[28 1970]:
    When the Entrance chant is concluded, the priest stands at the chair and, together with the whole gathering, makes the Sign of the Cross. Then he signifies the presence of the Lord to the community gathered there by means of the Greeting. By this Greeting and the people’s response, the mystery of the Church gathered together is made manifest. After the greeting of the people, the priest, the deacon, or a lay minister may very briefly introduce the faithful to the Mass of the day.


    Noel’s second statement is erroneous even when applied to the EF, whose missal mentions the assembly/congregation/people some thirty times. On its own just the general introduction to the OF missal mentions the assembly/congregation/people over 500 times! The Order of Mass mentions them almost eighty times! And these are differences not just in degree but in kind.

    Noel said:
    the Mass is about Christ being present in the Host not about creating a celebrating community.
    Even the Council of Trent contradicts him: "Institutum est ut sumatur" (Denzinger, 878. "The Eucharist was instituted to be eaten.")

    Marc is correct when he challenges Noel’s assertion:
    I fear that the most recent GIRM and STTL are extremely weak. They both, and this is only a guess, suffer from being written at a time when young priests are challenging the liturgical abuses and they waffle unmercifully [sic] in the wind.
    Noel guesses wrong: The text of the GIRM 25 (1970)/47 (2000) has not changed over the past forty years and three editions.

    About Noel’s assertion
    Singing anything at length (unless there is a specific reason for a procession of length) at the beginning of Mass can overshadow the singing of the brief Kyrie and then the lengthy Gloria, the great hymn of the church. It makes no sense to sing verse after verse of a generic hymn to "bring people together" just before they come together to sing the great hymn of the church.
    I say: Singing is not the point. The point is praying and getting ready to pray. The high point of the introductory rite is the opening prayer. The Roman Rite survived nicely for a millennium without the Gloria at Mass. [cue the sound of rending garments]
  • If almost anyone one else on the list had contradicted me, I'd accept their corrections, hopefully gracefully. But when Paul Ford does, I've got to kneel and ask forgiveness.

    We've got some real authorities on this list and their willingness to post makes this list most valuable. My own postings are the product of a Catholic gradeschool education with Sisters, no Catholic high in town, so most of what I know is based upon what I think i learned way back then coupled with access to church documents here in the list, but none of that has any credence, nor should it have, when people like Ford, Mahrt and others post.

    Thanks!

    I sit corrected because the rending made my pants unacceptable for public display.
  • Well said, Noel. Kudos.
    But, now I'm left positing how to rid my brain of the mental image you described in conclusion! TMI, dude! ;-)
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,833
    Seems that if we combine what Ioannes and Paul Ford said, we STILL have a less-than-imperative for singing "all the verses" of any given entrance hymn. Rather, the hymn (and/or Introit) should accompany the procession, reverence/incensing of the altar, period.

    Parenthetically, I was told (and find, generally) that the last verse of most older hymns is an invocation of the Trinity--a Gloria Patri, so to speak--which is why some music directors like to use it regardless of how many other verses may have been sung.
  • [deleted by Paul Ford]
  • [deleted by Paul Ford]
  • [am having trouble with inexplicable and inextricable italics in what I am trying to post]
  • The forthcoming music guidelines for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, designed to implement and supplement Sing to the Lord, are likely to read:
    Implementation of 142. The question “When should the entrance song end” is answered by the GIRM:

    123. The priest goes up to the altar and venerates it with a kiss. Then, as the occasion suggests, he incenses the cross and the altar, walking around the latter.

    124. After doing these things, the priest goes to the chair. Once the Entrance chant is concluded, the priest and faithful, all standing, make the Sign of the Cross. The priest says, In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti (In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit). The people answer, Amen.

    Note that the GIRM does not say, “When the priest stands at the chair, the entrance chant is concluded.” The entrance song ends when the priest has a sense that the celebration has been opened, the unity of those who have been gathered has been fostered, and the mystery of the liturgical season or festivity has been introduced to people’s thoughts (GIRM 47). He indicates that sense to the cantor and the cantor brings the song on an end.

    Supplement to 143. Those who select music for processions during Mass (e.g., the entrance, gifts, and communion) need to take care that the length of the song matches the length of the procession. Certain kinds of hymns and songs have a theological shape and must keep their shape to keep their meaning. For example, a hymn or song to the Trinity often has a verse describing the Father, a verse for the Son, and a verse for the Holy Spirit, with a fourth verse as a doxology to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit together. This kind of song must be sung in its entirety or not used for a short procession. As the GIRM reminds us:

    37. Finally, concerning the other formulas,

    a. Some constitute an independent rite or act, such as the Gloria, the responsorial Psalm, the Alleluia and verse before the Gospel, the Sanctus, the Memorial Acclamation, and the cantus post communionem;

    b. Others accompany another rite, such as the chants at the Entrance, at the Offertory, at the fraction (Agnus Dei), and at Communion.
  • Here's what I have been trying to post, without all the italics. I can't see what I am doing wrong.
  • With all due respect, I do not think that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is necessarily the bastion of liturgical orthodoxy (at least for right now). That is why I would not really take what they say as something that should be followed. All one has to do is look at what the Archdiocese has done with its closing Masses for its Religious Education congresses.

    Furthermore, Sing to the Lord is not quite as binding as some might think. As someone else noted, when it does quote an authoritative document from the Holy See, it is binding, but, the USCCB piece, itself, failed to get the necessary 2/3 recognitio vote from the USCCB in order for it to be sent to Rome for recognitio.
  • With all due respect, you cannot judge the archdiocese's liturgical orthodoxy by the religious education congress and its liturgies. The people on the archdiocesan music commission and the liturgical commission wrote these guidelines; the guidelines are in the process of being approved by Archbishop Gomez. Would you give them more credence then?

    As to your other point:

    Highlights from the November 2007 USCCB Plenary Assembly

    The Committee on the Liturgy presented four action items to the plenary assembly of the USCCB. The first was Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship, a series of guidelines on music in the Liturgy. After the extensive modification process, amendments were voted upon, and the document received a vote of 88% of the Conference of Bishops. After editing, the text was posted on the Committee’s website. Subsequently, it is the intention of the Committee to publish the text.


    Newsletter, USCCB Secretariat for Divine Worship, November-December 2007 (Volume XLIII), page 47
    http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/innews/nov-dec2007.pdf
  • SkirpRSkirpR
    Posts: 854
    So, I'm just trying to figure out the problem that people are having with the idea of doing all of the verses an entrance hymn? Is it that people feel it should be the Introit instead? Is it some objection to the basic concept of bringing the people together before celebrating the Mass? I mean, if you're going to do a hymn instead of the Introit, why should it end early? I'm no fan of "Gather Us In," but I have to chuckle when it ends before the very end right after the words, "give us the courage to enter the song." I mean, let's not overly prolong the hymns, but why should a congregation singing a more tradition Trinitarian hymn sing one general first verse, then a second verse to the Father, then a third to the Son, and stop before the verse to the Spirit just because the procession happens to be over. Maybe the priest could incense the altar or start the procession later - or just stand at the chair and sing along or pray privately at the foot of the altar (even if it's not the EF). Why is it such a bad thing to do all the verses and present the entire text - if it be appropriate?
  • I'm with you, Richard.
  • Maybe the priest could incense the altar or start the procession later - or just stand at the chair and sing along or pray privately at the foot of the altar (even if it's not the EF).


    The rule in my parish is that the opening procession doesn't start until the second verse begins, and at the recessional, the priest doesn't leave until 2+ verses have been sung. It helps a lot. If there's a time when we're doing something rather short, we let the presider know to speed it up, and likewise, if it's long, we'll let them know to slow down. Communication helps. Of course, supportive priests who respect the liturgy help too.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    Paul,

    The EWTN video feed of the Nov 2007 Conference might be archived and available online somewhere.
    A specific concern of several bishops, before Sing To The Lord (STTL) went to vote,
    was to know whether or not it would be sent to Rome for the recognitio.
    It was made clear that STTL would NOT be sent for recognitio, then the vote was taken.

    I think that benedictgal is attempting to hilight the decision to keep STTL in the USA,
    and explicitly NOT send it for recognitio, and therefore
    2004-apr-23 Redemptionis Sacramentum # 28
    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20040423_redemptionis-sacramentum_en.html
    (talking about the lack of binding force) does apply.
  • I never knew that bit about the lack of binding force of STTL. However, the GIRM is still quite clear about this issue. I'm uncomfortable with ignoring whatever parts of the GIRM we feel like just because it's not the way we usually do it, at least not without a darn good reason.
  • Thank ou, eft94530, for making that point. There are parts of SttL that have managed to go against the GIRM, such as the allowance of additional tropes for the Agnus Dei (Marty Haugen's comes to mind). The text in the Roman Missal does not say "these or similar words" when it comes to the Agnus Dei. Now, there is nothing wrong with repeating the official text as often as needed. What is wrong is inserting different words to the Agnus Dei and trying to pass it off as a prayer.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    Andrew,

    My above post is only to clarify the status of STTL versus GIRM.

    Yes, the GIRM is what counts.
    It has plenty of clear sentences to promote the desired result.

    Here is the GIRM
    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20030317_ordinamento-messale_en.html

    Unfortunately, for some reason, Marc posted a STTL fragment.
    The posts following are assuming that his blockquote is GIRM.
    Marc had to clarify that his blockquote was NOT GIRM.

    And then the posts wander into discussion and critique of STTL commentary.
    It should be clear by now that STTL
    grabs bits and pieces of GIRM and surrounds and overpowers them with other stuff.

    Read the GIRM.

    Read the GIRM footnotes of the desired paragraphs.

    Worry about the USCCB Cliffs Notes after that.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,833
    Mr. Ford, with all due respect to you, the LA instructions are curious. First we have:

    Once the Entrance chant is concluded, the priest and faithful, all standing, make the Sign of the Cross. (#124)

    THEN we have:

    The entrance song ends when the priest has a sense that the celebration has been opened, the unity of those who have been gathered has been fostered, and the mystery of the liturgical season or festivity has been introduced to people’s thoughts (GIRM 47). He indicates that sense to the cantor and the cantor brings the song on an end. (#124)

    The 'ending of the entrance chant' in the first quote is NOT dependent on 'a signal from the priest' which materializes in the second quote. IOW, the LA liturgy department re-wrote the instructions and ignored the plain meaning of the text of the first snip.

    Things may have changed, but the LA liturgy department was most certainly NOT a reliable source in the early 1990's, and that excerpt you provided doesn't go very far in re-establishing their cred.
  • Mr. Ford, it's not so much that the Los Angeles guidelines are in the process of being approved; rather, they are in the process of being reviewed. There is a big difference. Furthermore, these "guidelines" as the previous poster pointed out, are somewhat nebulous and really don't contribute to anything, other than reconfirming the credibility issues that many of us have with Los Angeles.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    This Discussion looks like a repeat. :-)

    Marc: It's my experience that the current GIRM is not that dramatically different from the original NO GIRM. The most recent version seemed to mostly clarify and to close gaps where abuses have crept in.

    Actually, the opposite.

    GIRM 1975 (fragment about entrance) can be read here ...
    http://musicasacra.com/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=1719#Item_6
    and the following posts of that Discussion reveal the codified disintegration and confusion.