GIRM 47-48: The Entrance

One of reform2’s favorite sections. It helps when one has read GIRM 40 plus all the relevant texts that address singing by the assembled community. Regardless, here are the passages of the day:

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.

This should be simple enough. Whatever is sung, and by whomever, must accomplish or at least be pointed to these four purposes. Number two seems particularly important.

Two hierarchies are given in this next section. First, who should sing:

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.

and second, what should be sung:

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).

Lots of church musicians here and elsewhere bemoan the so-called option four, but I’d have to characterize many of them as ignorant on that point. Which option four? The purpose of the music? Who sings it? What gets sung?

As to what composers and publishers are producing and what parishes are singing. I frequently use the Missal antiphon when it harmonizes with the Lectionary, and that most often happens in Advent or Lent. Very frequently, parishes utilize option three, a setting of a psalm. Sometimes, it happens to be a setting of the entrance psalm. Did you sing Psalm 25 at entrance today? Even if it was in a contemporary style, congrats: you’re an option one musician today.

As a whole, contemporary liturgical music is superior to preconciliar hymnody in that it is generally more reliant on Scripture for text, if not a basic inspiration for the lyrics. And when it is, don’t be bullied by the naysayers pushing their chant scholae to the front of the cafeteria line.

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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.
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5 Responses to GIRM 47-48: The Entrance

  1. As a whole, contemporary liturgical music is superior to preconciliar hymnody in that it is generally more reliant on Scripture for text, if not a basic inspiration for the lyrics. And when it is, don’t be bullied by the naysayers pushing their chant scholae to the front of the cafeteria line.

    C’mon, Todd, the premise of your first sentence is both a qualified assertion, and not really defensible, now is it? You choose generic hymnody without specificity (as AWR would himself exclaim, “Evidence, please!”, and also conveniently omit mention of the propers of the GR or hymnody set polyphonically as inconsequential. I don’t argue, ever, your defense of scriptural allusion in post V2 literature, but you can’t play only by your rules, as neither can Tucker. It’s a tad disingenuous; sorry, it seems we’re both in funks this weekend.
    But what is more disturbing is that all that in the first sentence is simply a setup for your advice in the last. Friend, when have you heard of anybody actually being bullied by an R2’er FO’ REAL? You can’t be serious if you’re going to cite the fundamentalists over here! The more they scream, the less cred they receive from their own, trust me.
    OTOH, there’s just as much bullying and ballyhoo of a nastier sort coming from the “Pope stole MY Mass” quarter of misanthropic thinkers out there in the parishes and ether.
    I’m almost at RomeoJuliet Time with it all: a pox on all of ‘em.

    • Todd says:

      It’s a generalization, but it’s a trend fairly easily verified. Even the retired Glory & Praise hymnals have a very wide scripture content. We looked at it years ago on this website. Evidence is in the numbers.

      And bullies? Sheesh. Much of the Chant Cafe oeuvre is about bullying: paint the opposition as a caricature, and roll through on proper tanks. I’m just calling out the misbehavior. I’ve done the same to rabid post-conciliarists in my day. Thing is, those folk aren’t blogging. I only call it the way I see it. Everybody has to sing everything all the time? Sorry, but however empty that boat might be, I’m still in favor of sinking it. Tell your buds at the cafe to launch a real discussion some time. Then we might get somewhere.

  2. Todd, I’ll allow you’re just in a foul mood. Mine isn’t much better, for different reasons, tho’ related.
    No, the Cafe oeuvre is not about bullying, unless you wanna call Tucker a bully in public, knowing him as you do privately. You wanna call me a bully? You wanna call Bartlett a bully, You wanna call Fr. Smith a bully? Please, Todd, get real. If your beef is in the comboxes, review your own damn protestations, and then compare Cafe bullies to the likes of Flynn, Grady, Burke, Rauch, and now severely challenged folks like Sean Parker and the chick calling the Missal “manure.”
    Todd, I love you man, But your foul mood prevents you from achieving the very things both of us have sought to accomplish at our joints and among our respective coalitions, a distinct movement towards the liturgy reflecting gospel values AND behavior. The sour grapes attitude is not the Todd Flowerday I respect and treasure.
    Please..
    And your premise? Still bullshit. Is that real enough discussion for you. I know music, Todd, and your memory is fairly selective when you cite stuff just to advance your polemic.
    Peace, out

    • Todd says:

      No, I think there’s an undercurrent of bullying there. That’s different from calling people bullies. I can make distinctions between Jeffrey being a good guy, and his resorting to caricature to overdo his point. So no, I don’t even believe that Adam is a bully. But I do question their behavior, their curiosity, and the depth of preparation with the Roman Rite.

      I spoke of behavior, not of labelling people. It’s an important distinction: loving the person, hating the sin.

      So for people dismayed at the vibe they get or read about the propers, I stand by my point: don’t worry overmuch about it. Let the proper psalms inform your congregation’s musical repertoire, but not be enslaved to it. And if by some chance you used some contemporary setting of Psalm 25 at entrance this weekend, it might not have been in the GR, but you were solidly on the Cafe’s choice one, even if they don’t recognize music they dislike.

  3. Pingback: OCM Introduction 1: Singing at the Entrance « Catholic Sensibility

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