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IN FOCUS continued


Responsorial Psalm: “Te responsorial psalm, also called the gradual, has great liturgical and pastoral significance because it is an ‘integral part of the liturgy of the word.’… As a rule the responsorial psalm should be sung. Tere are two established ways of singing the psalm after the first reading: responsorially and directly. In responsorial singing, which, as far as possible, is to be given preference, the psalmist, or cantor of the psalm, sings the psalm verse [i.e., antiphon] and the whole congregation joins in by singing the response. In direct singing of the psalm [i.e., the Gradual] there is no intervening response by the


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community; either the psalmist, or cantor of the psalm, sings the psalm alone as the community listens or else all sing it together. . . . Te singing of the psalms, or even of the response alone, is a great help toward understanding and meditating on the psalm’s spiritual meaning. To foster the congregation’s singing, every means available in each individual culture is to be employed. . . . Te responsorial psalm is sung or recited by the psalmist or cantor at the ambo [ILM 19-22].”


Perhaps the most important thing to notice is that the term “responsorial” as used here as part of the title of the psalm refers to the method in which the psalm is sung (i.e., with alternation between


a psalmist/cantor singing the verses and the congregation singing a refrain/ antiphon as a response) and not to the purpose of the responsorial psalm (i.e., to proclaim an appointed scripture, which may or may not “respond” to any of the other scriptural proclamations).


In contrast, the psalms that make up the majority of the texts assigned to accompany the opening procession of the ministers (antiphona ad Introitum or Entrance chant), the procession bringing the gifts (antiphona ad Offertorium or Offertory chant) and the procession of the congregation to receive holy communion


©2019 Libby Vasey


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