GILM 17: Ritual With the Gospel, Especially Singing

The proclamation of the Gospel reading is the highpoint of the Liturgy of the Word. One reason why a familiarity of liturgy documents beyond the GIRM and the Missal rubrics is important is because of a gem of choreography like the gospel procession described here. Even if a parish does this, or especially if a priest or liturgist brings this notion to a new parish, it’s important to take the GILM as a starting point for your consideration:

17. Of all the rites connected with the liturgy of the word, the reverence due to the Gospel reading must receive special attention. [32] Where there is an Evangeliary or Book of Gospels that has been carried in by the deacon or reader during the entry procession, [33] it is most fitting that the deacon or a priest, when there is no deacon, take the book from the altar [34] and carry it to the ambo. He is preceded by servers with candles and incense or other symbols of reverence that may be customary. As the faithful stand and acclaim the Lord, they show honor to the Book of Gospels. The deacon who is to read the Gospel, bowing in front of the one presiding, asks and receives the blessing. When no deacon is present, the priest, bowing before the altar, prays inaudibly, Almighty God, cleanse my heart… [35]

Those first three notes reference the GIRM. In my parish, we always have a Gospel Book procession at a Sunday Mass. Lacking servers, we omit those symbols of reverence listed, except on high feasts. But the preacher does take his time with retrieving the book, showing it to the assembly, and moving at a measured pace to the ambo.

Ritual at the ambo:

At the ambo the one who proclaims the Gospel greets the people, who are standing, and announces the reading as he makes the sign of the cross on forehead, mouth, and breast. If incense is used, he next incenses the book, then reads the Gospel. When finished, he kisses the book, saying the appointed words inaudibly.

Parishes with music ministry might want to consider this:

Even if the Gospel itself is not sung, it is appropriate for the greeting The Lord be with you, and A reading from the holy Gospel according to …. and at the end The Gospel of the Lord to be sung, in order that the congregation may also sing its acclamations. This is a way both of bringing out the importance of the Gospel reading and of stirring up the faith of those who hear it.

Consider the use of important acclamations during the Eucharistic Prayer, the highpoint of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Wouldn’t one think that the brief acclamations at the Gospel are worth a discernment? My own reflection is that this should probably be a point of implementation for me to bring to the parish. There is a long history of singing the alleluia in my parish after the proclamation and before the homily. That would seem in keeping with the usual text, “Praise to you …”–the alleluia is just the Latin for it, after all. But the text before the Gospel is just as important.

Any of your parishes singing these acclamations at the Gospel? If so, share how, if you would. 

Endnotes here.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in General Introduction to the Lectionary, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to GILM 17: Ritual With the Gospel, Especially Singing

  1. John Donaghy says:

    Sorry to quibble, but Alleluia is Hebrew, I think.

  2. Todd says:

    It’s like Kyrie Eleison, also Latin, but borrowed from another language.

  3. FrMichael says:

    “Any of your parishes singing these acclamations at the Gospel? If so, share how, if you would.”

    Answer is no. However, after visiting another parish this past Sunday that did effectively chant these acclamations, I’m looking forward to presenting the concept to the liturgy committee next meeting.

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