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Browsing Fr. Joel Hastings

Liturgy questions - Antiphons and the great Amen

Does the priest alone, or everyone, say the Entrance and Communion Antiphon at daily Mass?

         A good question that points to multiple options that are possible, mindful that there are varying circumstances that can lead to one or another of the
options being chosen.

         The Entrance and Communion Antiphons are meant as sung acclamations that accompany action within the Mass. For the Entrance Antiphon, it is meant to be sung as the priest and any other ministers move in procession from the doors of the church to the altar and to their proper places in the sanctuary. The Communion Antiphon, meanwhile, is to accompany the distribution of Holy Communion. (Currently, at our parish’s Sunday Masses, we employ the use of the Communion Antiphon according to its most proper application; on the other hand, we acceptably replace the Entrance Antiphon with a hymn.)

       Among the options for the use of these antiphons (which is always required in some form, even if that means being replaced by a fitting hymn), one option that remains possible is simply for the priest to recite it himself once he arrives at the altar or immediately before beginning the distribution of Holy Communion. In some parishes (where all the daily Mass attendees have a resource/missalette available to them), the people may rightly join in reciting the antiphons.

     Given our custom here, I would prefer, at this time, to recite the antiphons alone at their proper time, inviting the congregation to listen and reflect upon their words.

I notice that at some parishes the congregation stands during the great Amen. Why is this and what is the proper way?

    There is a direct answer to when we should stand after the Eucharist Prayer within the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. In paragraph 43, it is clearly spoken that the people should kneel “beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer…” (emphasis added). While these words are abundantly clear that we do not stand until after the Amen is sung or said, I have heard through the years that the reason some priests have the people stand for the Amen is that because they (these priests) want to emphasize that this moment is the assent of the people to the offering the Eucharistic Prayer, and they think the people ought to stand at that moment (rather than kneel). However, such is not what is asked of us by the Church and her ritual for Mass – (and honestly, the assent of the faithful to what Christ is offering to the Father on our behalf is more rightly given through a hidden and humble disposition of faith – as this is a moment requiring the utmost attentiveness to reverence – like all moments after the consecration through the end of the Prayer after Communion). Thus, it is proper to kneel until after the Amen.


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