Q: In the books of the Gospels for Holy week, during the reading of the Passion for Palm Sunday and Good Friday, there are several points with the notation “at this point all may join in singing an appropriate acclamation.” Every year I cantor something, but have no idea if this is what is meant. Today it came to me that you could tell me what were considered “appropriate acclamations.”
A: I’ve consulted a colleague in Canada for some clarification for you. Missal resources in Canada say that “all may” participate in the Passion by singing acclamations, but this is not a requirement. In fact, neither the Roman Missal nor the Lectionary for Mass published in Canada have ever invited such acclamations. Only supplementary publications have done so.
The 2006 CCCB publication A Companion to the Catholic Book of Worship III, page 65, also indicated that all may sing suitable acclamations during the Passion, and it suggested repeating the gospel acclamation or memorial acclamations addressed to Christ. It also recommended using the same acclamations on Palm Sunday and on Good Friday.
Since the Lectionary and other books published by the Conference do not have the same indicator that an acclamation ‘may be sung’ it is best to confirm the inclusion of an acclamation with the pastor/celebrant.
I remember experiencing this practice in the United States some decades ago, but we similarly have no official books that promote it.
In general, I think it is best for people to experience the proclamation of the Word of God—especially the Passion—without interruption. Acclamations by the people appropriately come before and after the proclamation, so that they may hear God’s Word pure.