Alleluia/Gospel Acclamation The Hebrew “Halleluyah” (rendered in Latin and Greek as “Alleluia”) means “Praise YHWH” (the Hebrew letters for the divine name, never pronounced aloud in Judaism out of a profound respect for its holiness) or “Praise the Lord.”In the Old Testament this joyful cry appears at the beginning or end of certain psalms that are thought to have been intended for use in the Temple liturgy.
The only occurrence of the alleluia in the New Testament appears in the Book of Revelation (19:1-9) where it forms part of the victory hymn sung by the redeemed in heaven. The introduction of the alleluia into the liturgy of the west posed an initial problem as to the occasion of its use. According to St. Augustine (354-430) it was sung every Sunday, but in fifthcentury Rome, where it was perhaps introduced under eastern influence, it was sung only on Easter. Roman practice eventually extended its use to the whole Paschal season and then throughout the liturgical year except during Lent. The acclamation was linked to the Gospel (yet its verse was not necessarily taken from the Gospel) and often accompanied a procession with the Gospel book.
This practice has now been restored, with the verse for Sundays often being taken from the Gospels. During the week texts from the Book of Psalms and other Scriptural writings are also found. At an early period soloists were accustomed to ornament the final syllable of the alleluia with the jubilus, a long musical extension described by St. Augustine as “joy without words.” In the early Middle Ages words were set to these vocalizations, and this in turn gave rise in Germanic countries to the composition of numerous sequences, i.e. somewhat independent musical compositions, often having rhymed texts, which immediately followed the alleluia. Over five thousand of these compositions existed in the Middle Ages. Their melodies were quite simple, thereby encouraging popular singing. The number of such pieces used in the liturgy was greatly reduced in the sixteenth century. Today the Sequence is obligatory on Easter and Pentecost; it may be used on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord and the optional Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.
Because of its Paschal connotations the alleluia was not used during the season of Lent when it was replaced by a psalm chant known as the tract, i.e., a solo chant sung all the way through without any repetition. Still omitted during Lent, the alleluia is usually replaced by an equivalent acclamation of praise. The alleluia or its equivalent is followed by a verse, often taken from the following Gospel reading. The acclamation is repeated after this verse. It has often been said that the alleluia is the victory song of a Paschal people. In the words at times attributed to St. Augustine, “We are an Easter people, and alleluia is our song.” Used as the Gospel Acclamation, the Alleluia accompanies the Gospel procession during which the whole liturgical assembly praised Christ who comes to proclaim the good news of salvation. The acclamation is to be sung; when not sung, it is to be omitted. The people stand to express their readiness for the Gospel reading. Weekly Meditation on next week’s Collect from the Third Sunday of Lent May this sacrifice, O Lord, we pray, cleanse us of our faults and sanctify your faithful in body and mind for the celebration of the paschal festivities.
This highly penitential prayer asks God to lift up those who are “bowed down by our conscience,” and who spend this season in fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. The Gelasian Sacramentary (eighth or ninth century) assigned this prayer to Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent. It was restored to the missal after the Second Vatican Council and moved to this day. The collect for the first scrutiny prays that the elect may worthily and wisely come to confess God’s praise. This very prayer is found in the Gelasian Sacramentary for the first scrutiny on the same Sunday.
Congratulations to all those who were confirmed this past Wednesday, March 1!! May God bless you on this amazing new journey! Many thanks to: Bishop Waltersheid for presiding over the evening. Parents and CCD teachers who prepared our candidates.
DON’T FORGET! 4 MORE WEEKS OF FISH FRY! EVERY FRIDAY UNTIL GOOD FRIDAY GARDEN ROOM 4-7PM