The dialogues and acclamations are the church’s first preference for what is sung at Mass (see last week and “Sing to the Lord,” 115). But how do you choose everything else?
You probably already know to go to the Lectionary for the readings of the day and the assigned responsorial psalm. But there is another resource that we don’t always think of using. That’s the Roman Missal.You probably already know to go to the Lectionary for the readings of the day and the assigned responsorial psalm. But there is another resource that we don’t always think of using. That’s the Roman Missal. Click To Tweet
Every day of the liturgical year has specific prayers assigned for that particular liturgical observance. These are in the Roman Missal starting with each day of the Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter seasons. Next follow Ordinary Time, solemnities, saints, and rites. Last are prayers for general occasions. In addition to the priest’s prayers, each day includes assigned antiphons for the entrance and Communion songs. These are short scriptural verses that give another lens for encountering Christ’s paschal mystery for that day.
These antiphons are typically paired with a verse or two from the psalms, and some will say that is the only way they should be used. However, the entrance and Communion processions are important moments for the assembly to unite their voices in song, and the antiphons provide a rich context for the day. If your repertoire does not yet include antiphon settings, you can still use them as guides for choosing songs your assembly already knows that match or complement the antiphon text.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”