Q: If one were to do a “song after communion” do you feel one could make a case to sing a hymn that might focus on the theme of the Gospel or the season? STL states that the song “should focus on the mystery of the Holy Communion in which it participates…” In the line previous to this one, STL says “a psalm or other canticle of praise or a hymn may be sung.” I just wonder how liberally one can infer what Holy Communion means. Does it literally mean focus on the Eucharist or perhaps can Holy Communion refer to the entire liturgy—which would include the readings and antiphons of the day? For example, if during the Lenten season, would it be inappropriate to sing Lord who throughout these forty days at the “song after communion.” In this example, the hymn is appropriate to the liturgical season and perhaps connects to the readings, but it may not specifically focus the Eucharist. Would it make sense ritually?? Or should it be connected to the Eucharist? Thanks!
A: For the time after communion, GIRM 88 and 164, as well as Order of Mass 138 permit a psalm or canticle of praise, or a hymn. So you’ve got quite some leeway. The communion antiphon itself often has a link to the gospel, and quite rarely refers to communion. I think that a song that connects to the gospel is especially appropriate during the receiving of communion because it helps link the two parts of the mass and reminds the community that their communion is empowering them to live the gospel proclaimed.
But you could sing a hymn after communion because that’s what the rubric permits.