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Entrance Chant

by Paul Turner

As Mass begins, everyone stands to sing a song. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal calls this the entrance chant (47). 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 season or festivity, and accompany the procession of the priest and ministers.”

The celebration of the Mass relies on the participation of the assembly. So, when the first song is announced, this means you! Pick up the songbook and sing! Sadly, some people do not. If you choose not to sing the entrance chant, you fail to open the celebration, you frustrate the unity of those assembled, you postpone thinking about the mystery we have gathered to celebrate and you dissociate yourself from the procession. Surely, no one intends to do all this, but that is the effect. To those who are singing, non-singers feel like dead weight. Even if you sing poorly, weakly, too loudly or too softly, pick up the hymn and sing! You will praise God and serve the faith of those around you.

Each Sunday of the year comes with its own suggested text for the entrance chant. But another psalm or liturgical song may be used. The church calls this music a “chant,” but it means any spiritual song or hymn. All may sing together, the cantor or choir may alternate with the people, or the choir may occasionally sing it alone.

If there is no entrance song, the suggested text is recited by the assembly, the lector or even the priest himself, who may comment on it briefly to open the celebration (48). ML

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Copyright © 2003, Resource Publications, Inc. 160 E. Virginia St. #290, San Jose, CA 95112, (408) 286-8505. This article may not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher.  For permission e-mail info@rpinet.com.
Paul Turner, pastor of St. Munchin Parish in Cameron, MO, holds a doctorate in sacramental theology from Sant' Anselmo University in Rome.

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