Singing the Entrance Antiphons for Advent. The holy season of Advent begins next week! A most wonderful part of Advent is the great sense of anticipation that the season brings. The Church provides us with a beautiful rhythm of the liturgical year that, when fully integrated into our lives, influences every aspect of who we are as Catholic people.
With different times of the year there are different aspects of the liturgy that reflect the season. For example, during Advent and Lent the Gloria is omitted from the Mass and during Lent we do not sing or say the word “Alleluia.” These practices reflect the more meditative, repentant spirit of waiting and spiritual preparation that characterizes these times of year.
Beginning next weekend, the first Sunday of Advent, the choir and cantors will be singing the entrance antiphon, also called the introit or in the Dominican tradition, the officium. Daily Mass goers will be familiar with this practice. The introit will be sung for each of the Sundays during Advent. These chants are scriptural texts taken largely from the psalms. This is a continuation of the ancient practice of singing the psalms as the priestly procession approaches the altar. These beautiful texts are given to us by the Church and are specific to each particular Sunday. They aid in building the anticipation that leads us forward to Bethlehem and helps us to prepare for the great mystery of the Incarnation.