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The Beginning of Mass: The Introductory Rites

posted May 21, 2016, 12:18 PM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated May 21, 2016, 12:18 PM ]
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal explains “The rites that precede the Liturgy of the Word, namely, the Entrance, the Greeting, the Penitential Act, the Kyrie, the Gloria in excelsis (Glory to God in the highest) and Collect, have the character of a beginning, an introduction, and a preparation. Their purpose is to ensure that the faithful, who come together as one, establish communion and dispose themselves properly to listen to the Word of God and to celebrate the Eucharist worthily…” It clarifies why we sing an Entrance hymn: “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 time or festivity, and accompany the procession of the Priest and ministers.”

Theologian Paul F. Ford writes in the liturgical music journal GIA Quarterly “the basic ministerial task [of music] at the beginning of Mass is getting people over the threshold from their daily lives into the presence of the caring, listening God.” Even though we’re there physically, music can help us become present emotionally and spiritually. So by the end of the introductory rites, try asking yourself these questions:
  • Have you established communion with one another? 
  • Did participating in the entrance hymn foster your unity with others? 
  • Did the hymn get you thinking about this weeks liturgical festivity? 
  • Did singing the Gloria help you become aware of being in God’s presence?