We are skipping a paragraph. I would imagine that, unless you are experiencing difficulties in the area of when Communion music should start and stop, you will find it imminently uninteresting.
And now on to:
Options for you.
When someone is going to be married I have them help me plan their wedding Mass. When it comes to the vows they have two sets from which to choose and four ways to exchange each of those two sets. We have a similar thing with options of communion singing. There are different kinds of music that can be sung and each of those may be sung by different groups of people.
Here are the options of WHAT may be sung in the United States:
- The antiphon from the Missal or from the Graduale Romanum as it is set to music there (meaning chant - and notice that this is the FIRST option meaning that it is preferred though very few people do this) or other musical setting.
- The antiphon with Psalm from the Graduale Simplex. (As of yet, no Eagles Wings)
- Chant from another collection Psalms and antiphons or set for responsory or to metrical form.
- Some other liturgical chant.
That’s it. But the bishops allow for other music - of which most of the time it seems we want to sing about bread and wine and aren’t we great. But I digress.
But WHO is to sing the Communion song?
So, after you choose one from among the options above, then you have to decide how the choice will be done. Notice the order of options once again:
- The choir alone.
- The choir or cantor along with the people.
Muy interesante. Most professional liturgists with whom I am acquainted make the great argument that the song should include all of the people (I also get that from many of those people.) And I get that. It assists people in participating in something holy during the reception of Communion. And if we go back to the paragraph that I skipped, it says that we should all be singing to show our joy and unity of heart with our voices. But if it is a legitimate option not to have everybody singing, that means there is something else for you to do - besides carrying a hymnal up in the Communion line and clutching it tightly under your armpit as you try to receive the Blessed Sacrament. You have something to offer from your anointing as priest at your baptism - something to pray for, something to pray about, and of great importance, prayer of thanksgiving and adoration. Just because you are not singing DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE NOT PARTICIPATING UNLESS YOU CHOOSE NOT TO DO SO.
But wait! There’s more!
It could not be sung at all! If there are no musicians, the antiphon should be recited.
- By the faithful (should they have access to it.)
- by “some” of the faithful
- by the reader
- or by the priest himself.