These next few paragraphs are important. How many parish music directors have read them, let alone have an awareness of them?
20. As a rule the responsorial psalm should be sung. There are two established ways of singing the psalm after the first reading: responsorially and directly. In responsorial singing, which, as far as possible, is to be given preference, the psalmist, or cantor of the psalm, sings the psalm verse and the whole congregation joins in by singing the response. In direct singing of the psalm there is no intervening response by the community; either the psalmist, or cantor of the psalm, sings the psalm alone as the community listens or else all sing it together.
21. The singing of the psalm, or even of the response alone, is a great help toward understanding and meditating on the psalm’s spiritual meaning.
To foster the congregation’s singing, every means available in each individual culture is to be employed. In particular, use is to be made of all the relevant options provided in the Order of Readings for Mass [GILM 89-90] regarding responses corresponding to the different liturgical seasons.
22. When not sung, the psalm after the reading is to be recited in a manner conducive to meditation on the word of God.
The responsorial psalm is sung or recited by the psalmist or cantor at the ambo.
And we know location is important. I served one parish where the implementation of this was handled very badly. I had to tread very carefully; they even brought up the issue at my interview. One cantor objected to “prancing” across the altar for the psalm. I would have told her to journey across the storage space behind the altar and appear on the other side to get the psalm done from the sweet spot.
What do you think?