My sister bought a garden hose. It came with instructions. “Why on earth do you need instructions?” she asked. “Because somebody out there will stick one end in their nose and then sue the company because there were not instructions on how to properly use it,” I replied.
So it is with the instructions on how the priest in the ministers are to get into the sanctuary. There are instructions. “When the people are gathered,” so the priests shouldn’t start if all of you are out having a smoke, “the priest, deacon, and ministers enter and the entrance chant begins.”
Now, notice it says, “Entrance chant.” Chant is the preferred POST VATICAN II music. One thing to keep in mind also when reading rubrics in general is that things are listed in an order for a reason. What is listed first is preferred followed by options. So we have instructions on WHO should sing the opening chant in the preferred order:
1. Sung alternately by the choir (so a choir is preferred) and the people.
2. By cantor and the people
3. By the choir alone. (Interesting, no? I think many would be shocked by this.)
Then there is a listing of WHAT STYLE of music may be sung:
1. The antiphon from the Missal (perhaps with psalm response) as set to music there (read: chant) OR in another setting.
2. The same as above but one for the liturgical season rather than that particular day.
3. A chant from another collection of psalms that have been approved by the bishops.
4. Another liturgical chant suited to the day, month, season, that has been approved by the bishop.
Not listed is “Or just pick a song you like out of the missalette.” Although we may certainly pick an appropriate song out of the missalette (it has been approved by our bishops) it certainly is not what Vatican II expressed as being the pinnacle of liturgical expression although it is probably what most Americans experience. But we like what we like.