Gospel acclamation

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: A quick question. The retired priests who live at our chancery were discussing at lunch… what should be done if the verse that accompanies the alleluia (or Lenten gospel acclamation) is not sung?

 In other words, what options do we have?

 As I understand it, on Sundays, both the Alleluia and the accompanying verse must be sung.(Which raises the question: If not sung, then what happens? Spoken? Skipped?) 

On weekdays, the alleluia (and verse) MAY be omitted if not sung. That implies that they MAY be spoken.Does that “MAY” apply to both the alleluia and the verse as a unit?In other words, MAY one sing the alleluia but speak the verse? Or sing the alleluia and skip the verse?


A: GIRM 62a presumes that the gospel acclamation is sung on Sundays. It makes no provision for speaking or omitting it. But we all know that that occasionally happens. I guess one could argue that “sing” includes reciting, so if not actually sung, reciting would fulfill the wishes of 62a more than omitting would.

GIRM 63c says that on days when there is only one reading before the gospel (i.e., weekdays), the acclamation may be omitted.

These two paragraphs treat the acclamation and the verse as one, even though the passages counterpose the “alleluia” with the “verse before the Gospel” as the alternatives that pertain to outside and inside Lent. In the Ordo lectionum missæ, paragraph 223 includes for weekdays in Lent both the verse before the gospel and the options for the acclamation (of which there are 8 in Latin). So I think that when the GIRM refers to this acclamation, it assumes that it includes both acclamation and verse. 

Since it is optional on weekdays, it is a soft spot in the liturgy. If you omit it, then could you still sing the acclamation without the verse? I suppose so, but that doesn’t seem to be what the GIRM had in mind. Singing the acclamation and speaking the verse is a fully practical and faithful option, especially on weekdays.