Introit – Entrance Antiphon
Liturgical Function: Prayer which accompanies the procession from Sacristy to the Altar of Sacrifice.
The Entrance Antiphon introduces the Mass by proclaiming the proper prayer of the day. It is important to note that this is not a “Gathering Song,” for the congregation has already gathered. A hymn is a substitution for these prescribed texts, and often distracts us from the liturgical action taking place. In this case, we are called to enter our souls, minds, and hearts into the celebration of the Mass.
Sunday, April 3rd, 2011 : “Laetare Sunday” the 4th Sunday of Lent (A)
The liturgical color is Rose to show joy amidst the penitential time.
The Introit is Laetare Ierusalem: “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her. Sing out in exulatation…” As for many of the Introits throughout the year, the first word of the antiphon names the Sunday. If we drop this and choose a hymn, not only do musicians have to spend time planning that which has already been planned for us, but also we are replacing the very texts the Church is asking us to pray!
Music for the Introit
Too difficult? This is what the Church is asking us to sing at Mass. This is the goal. Let us then take steps to achieve this goal. Here are some other alternatives using close variants of the proper texts:
Psalm tone American Gradual Anglican Use Gradual Metrical settings
Rubrics from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal
47. After the people have gathered, the Entrance chant begins as the priest enters with the deacon and ministers. The purpose of this chant 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.
48. The singing at this time is done either alternately by the choir and the people or in a similar way by the cantor and the people, or entirely by the people, or by the choir alone.
In the dioceses of the United States of America there are four options for the Entrance Chant:
(1) the antiphon from the Roman Missal or the Psalm from the Roman Gradual as set to music there or in another musical setting;
(2) the seasonal antiphon and Psalm of the Simple Gradual;
(3) a song 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) a suitable liturgical song similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.
If there is no singing at the entrance, the antiphon in the Missal is recited either by the faithful, or by some of them, or by a lector; otherwise, it is recited by the priest himself, who may even adapt it as an introductory explanation (cf. above, no. 31).