40 Lenten Lessons on the Mass.

Lesson 16: Alleluia

Following the Responsorial Psalm or the Second Reading, as the case may be, the people stand and sing “the Alleluia or another chant laid down by the rubrics, as the liturgical time requires.”

I’ll never forget when a thousand voices and musicians sang Handel’s Alleluia Chorus from the Messiah at St. Josemaria’s Canonization in 2002. Talk about magnificent and inspiring praise!

Simply put, we are to sing the Alleluia before the Gospel except in Lent, when another acclamation is used. On weekdays, if not sung, the Alleluia may be omitted.

I find it fascinating that Jesus would have sung the Alleluia (it’s a Hebrew word, after all) in the Synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath when he was a youngster. It literally means “Praise Yahweh.”

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, English Edition, 2012 states:

The Acclamation before the Gospel:

62. After the reading that immediately precedes the Gospel, the Alleluia or another chant laid down by the rubrics is sung, as the liturgical time requires. An acclamation of this kind constitutes a rite or act in itself, by which the gathering of the faithful welcomes and greets the Lord who is about to speak to them in the Gospel and profess their faith by means of the chant. It is sung by everybody, standing, and is led by the choir or a cantor, being repeated as the case requires. The verse, on the other hand, is sung either by the choir or by a cantor.

a) The Alleluia is sung in every time of year other than Lent. The verses are taken from the Lectionary or the Graduale.

b) During Lent, instead of the Alleluia, the Verse before the Gospel as given in the Lectionary is sung. It is also possible to sing another Psalm or Tract, as found in the Graduale.

63. When there is only one reading before the Gospel:
a) during a time of year when the Alleluia is prescribed, either an Alleluia Psalm or the Responsorial Psalm followed by the Alleluia with its verse may be used;

b) during a time of year when the Alleluia is not foreseen, either the Psalm and the Verse before the Gospel or the Psalm alone may be used;

c) the Alleluia or the Verse before the Gospel, if not sung, may be omitted.

Back to: 40 LENTEN SEASON of the Mass