Alleluia – updated

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I am sharing the Pope’s visit to Iraq with my students. It’s pretty amazing that he went to Ur, because for all of my years at Sion, I’ve taught about Abraham coming from Ur! It doesn’t take much to excite me, right?

So, in looking at the beginning of the Mass in the stadium, the girls were listening to the music, and I was too.  We think we heard “Alleluia.” One of the girls who goes to St. Vincent’s asked why they were singing “Alleluia” during Lent.  What do you think? It was during the incensing of the altar and pausing at the statue of Our Lady.


A: I agree that it sounds like an Alleluia, but my knowledge of mideastern languages is slim.

This much I can tell you: In the liturgical books such as the lectionary and the missal, the alleluia is removed from the liturgy of the Word during Lent and inserted at the end of antiphons during Easter. At other times of year we may sing hymns with or without alleluias.

There’s no law forbidding singing something like “Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones” during Lent, even though it has an alleluia refrain. But it would not be the best practice.

I’m going to give the Iraqis the benefit of the doubt here and say that they chose an opening hymn consonant with their traditions. I also don’t think God will have us spend extra time in purgatory if we sing too many alleluias while on earth.


I would point out that the pope was celebrating an Eastern Catholic Liturgy (Chaldean) and those liturgies have different norms  on the use of “Alleluia” in the  Fasting period before Easter.    In many Eastern Liturgies it is not proscribed during this period.


Thank you. I’ll add your remark to the post.