In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  Entrance and Communion Antiphons during Easter Time all conclude with the word “Alleluia.” If a priest were to offer a “Mass for Various Needs and Occasions” during Easter Time (for example, “For the Priest Himself: On the Anniversary of His Ordination,” which often occurs during Easter Time), should the “Alleluia” be added to the antiphons, even though it does not appear, even parenthetically, in the Missal?

Thanks, as always, for your expertise and ministry.


A:  I’m going to say, “No,” as surprising as that may seem.

What you propose seems to be the simplest, most consistent, and appropriate solution. But, as you note, the missal makes no provision for it.

Important evidence comes from the Graduale Romanum. Remember that these antiphons are intended to be sung, and chants exist for most of them. It’s one thing to add “alleluia” to a spoken text. It’s quite something else to add “alleluia” to a sung chant, especially when no notes are provided.

In its collection of chants for Masses for Various Needs and Occasions, the Graduale at times gives a completely separate antiphon for communion during Easter Time. These are not in the missal. For example, for the fifth Mass, “For a Synod or a Council,” the missal carries an uncited communion antiphon, “Where true charity is dwelling,” whereas the Graduale offers two different antiphons, one from Ps 119:4-5, ad the other, marked “In Easter Time,” from John 14:26, the communion antiphon for the Sixth Sunday of Easter. That one, as expected, concludes with two alleluias.

In the sixth Mass, the one For Priests, the missal’s antiphon (John 17:17-18) is similarly not repeated in the Graduale. Instead it offers Psalm 43:4, which used to begin the prayers at the foot of the altar, and, during Easter Time, an antiphon from John 17:12, 13, and 15. That’s the antiphon for the Seventh Sunday of Easter, and it concludes with two alleluias.

The particular Mass in question, the seventh one “For the Priest Himself,” has no chants in the Graduale. Because communion chants may be replaced with other texts, it would make sense to take the one from the Mass For Priests, choosing the Easter Time antiphon at that time of year.

The Graduale Simplex similarly has no chants for this occasion. However, it provides music on the anniversary of the Pope or the Bishop, suggesting antiphons, and referring the user to its collection of common tones where it has eight different settings of the word “alleluia”, each only 5 or 6 notes long, one of which may be attached to the chant with the tone that matches. That’s more what you had in mind—a simple way of adding an alleluia.

But there’s no provision for it. During Easter Time, I think either you use the antiphon as it appears in the missal without an alleluia, or you exchange it for an antiphon that has one.