First, realize that though the Gospel Acclamation accompanies a procession (more or less) to the ambo, it is considered a stand-alone rite. In other words, even if the procession is minimized or omitted, the case remains to sing this piece.
62. After the reading that immediately precedes the Gospel, the Alleluia or another chant laid down by the rubrics is sung, as the liturgical time requires. An acclamation of this kind constitutes a rite or act in itself, by which the gathering of the faithful welcomes and greets the Lord who is about to speak to them in the Gospel and profess their faith by means of the chant. It is sung by everybody, standing, and is led by the choir or a cantor, being repeated as the case requires. The verse, on the other hand, is sung either by the choir or by a cantor.
a) The Alleluia is sung in every time of year other than Lent. The verses are taken from the Lectionary or the Graduale.
b) During Lent, instead of the Alleluia, the Verse before the Gospel as given in the Lectionary is sung. It is also possible to sing another Psalm or Tract, as found in the Graduale.
Did you know you can sing the Psalm or Tract from the Graduale? I’m not sure if this option applies to the setting as a whole or just the text. Maybe JT or another cafe chanter can enlighten.
63. When there is only one reading before the Gospel:
a) during a time of year when the Alleluia is prescribed, either an Alleluia Psalm or the Responsorial Psalm followed by the Alleluia with its verse may be used;
b) during a time of year when the Alleluia is not foreseen, either the Psalm and the Verse before the Gospel or the Psalm alone may be used;
c) the Alleluia or the Verse before the Gospel, if not sung, may be omitted.
It’s good to know the distinctions presented here. For the usual daily Mass when there are only two readings, the usual approach is minimalist. At least here in the States.
For 63a, I’m assuming we’re talking about the Easter season. There are times, however, when the psalm assigned in the Lectionary is by genre, a Hallel (or Alleluia) Psalm. My recollection is that outside of Easter, this assignment is somewhat random.
For 63b, the Lenten Gospel Acclamation may be omitted if the Psalm is used.
For 63c, the provision here would seem to permit one of three instances:
- sing the alleluia plus verse
- sing only the alleluia, no verse
- omit both
Many liturgists note the degree of importance attached to the Gospel Acclamation. Thus the directive is often to sing it always, and omit if not sung. The importance of singing this rite is underscored in these sections. Personally, I can’t foresee regular instances of the Gospel Acclamation not being sung, so the point seems moot.
One last note on Sequences:
64. The Sequence which, except on Easter Sunday and on Pentecost Day, is optional, is sung before the Alleluia.
Whew! That’s a lot of legislation for what usually amounts to about a minute of music, max. Any comments?