Antiphons VERSUS Hymns

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I appreciate your help in understanding the concept of using the entrance and communion antiphons at Sunday liturgy.  I was told that one does either a musical setting of the entrance/communion antiphon or other psalm OR a hymn–no need to do both for Mass.

If the entrance antiphon is sung, I understand the psalm verses need to be extended so the assembly can participate.

During various seasons of the liturgical year, our parish has done the communion antiphon of the day (while ministers are receiving communion) AND a communion song (while the congregation receives), i.e., 2 different music settings and 2 different groups. 

Appreciate learning more. Thank you.


A: The GIRM envisions a single piece of music at the entrance and at communion. In some communities, communion takes so long that a second piece of music seems to help. What you describe is something else: the communion antiphon while ministers receive and a communion song while the congregation receives. But the point of starting communion music at the communion of the priest seems intended to unify the reception of communion of the entire assembly, priest included, not to denote a hierarchy by a separation of music.

Best practice would be a single piece of music at communion that begins when the priest receives and concludes when the communion of the faithful has ended.