Wednesday, January 16, 2013


First in a series

That first hymn we sing - is it...
A) An opening hymn
B) A gathering hymn
C) An entrance hymn

If you answered "C", you are correct.  Traditionally known as the "Introit" (which is still the proper chant that begins the Mass), the "Cantus Introitus" translates as the "Entrance song", or more literally, the "Entrance chant".  It accompanies the procession of the celebrant (not "presider", that term may be a future topic) and the ministers.  In addition, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the edition that accompanies the current form of the Mass, calls it the "Entrance chant".  Think of this passage from Psalm 43 (Vulgate: Psalm 42) which reads in Latin: "Introibo ad altare Dei".  This translates to "I will enter unto the altar of God".  Some may remember this as part of the "Prayers at the foot of the altar" in the 1962 Roman Missal.

At one time, many were using choice "A", the "Opening hymn".  This could be partially correct, as it does open the Mass, but it doesn't have that effect that the "Entrance hymn" would have.

The choice farthest from the truth (and unfortunately a very popular term in many mainstream parishes and their "musicians") is "B", the "gathering hymn".  There is just no such thing.  First of all, realize the shift of focus here.  While the "Entrance hymn" refers to the entrance of the priest and ministers, the "gathering hymn" shifts the focus on the person in the pew.  In addition, if you're gathering while this hymn is being sung, you're most likely late for Mass.