Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Proper Attire and the Marvels of Option Four


Let's say I have a restaurant and I hope for people to be dressed properly so I establish a rule.
To eat here, you can wear: 1) black tie and traditional evening wear, 2) a suit and tie or long party dress, 3) a very nice sport coat and tie or cocktail dress or suitable woolen pants, or 4) some other neat clothing that is suitable to the atmosphere and culture of this restaurant.
A couple shows up. He is wearing torn jeans and flip flops. She is wearing a bikini and sandals. They both claim option 4. The argument ensues. You can imagine the rest.

Now have a look at the description of the entrance rite for Catholic Mass from the General Instruction. Please read carefully.
When the people are gathered, and as the Priest enters with the Deacon and ministers, the Entrance Chant begins.... This chant is sung alternately by the choir and the people or similarly by a cantor and the people, or entirely by the people, or by the choir alone. In the Dioceses of the United States of America, there are four options for the Entrance Chant: (1) the antiphon from the Missal or the antiphon with its Psalm from the Graduale Romanum, as set to music there or in another setting; (2) the antiphon and Psalm of the Graduale Simplex for the liturgical time; (3) a chant from another collection of Psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including Psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) another liturgical chant that is suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year, similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.
Now think of what happened this past week in your parish. Do you recognize any similarities between that and the description above? Oh yes, option 4.