Entrence jokes, no procession: confused


I got this in an email from a friend, and I haven’t been able to find an answer:

“Lately our Pastor has been replacing the entrance procession with a personal greeting, often including interaction from the congregation. I’ve never seen this done before–is it legit? Is there a reason for this that I don’t know about? It just seems odd to see the deacon and celebrant “starting out” in the sanctuary when Mass [on a saturday evening vigil or any mass on Sunday] begins.”


It is not uncommon for priests to enter straight from the sacristy sometimes. As for the jokes and other bits, it seems totally out of place, but meh.


Nowhere is jokes mentioned in the GIRM.

The Entrance

  1. After the people have gathered, the Entrance chant begins as the priest enters with the deacon and ministers. The purpose of this chant is to open the celebration, foster the unity of those who have been gathered, introduce their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical season or festivity, and accompany the procession of the priest and ministers.
  1. The singing at this time is done either alternately by the choir and the people or in a similar way by the cantor and the people, or entirely by the people, or by the choir alone. In the dioceses of the United States of America there are four options for the Entrance Chant: (1) the antiphon from The Roman Missal or the Psalm from the Roman Gradual as set to music there or in another musical setting; (2) the seasonal antiphon and Psalm of the Simple Gradual; (3) a song from another collection of psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the diocesan Bishop, including psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) a suitable liturgical song similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the diocesan Bishop.[55]

If there is no singing at the entrance, the antiphon in the Missal is recited either by the faithful, or by some of them, or by a lector; otherwise, it is recited by the priest himself, who may even adapt it as an introductory explanation (cf. no. 31).

Greeting of the Altar and of the People Gathered Together

  1. When they reach the sanctuary, the priest, the deacon, and the ministers reverence the altar with a profound bow.

As an expression of veneration, moreover, the priest and deacon then kiss the altar itself; as the occasion suggests, the priest also incenses the cross and the altar.

  1. When the Entrance chant is concluded, the priest stands at the chair and, together with the whole gathering, makes the Sign of the Cross. Then he signifies the presence of the Lord to the community gathered there by means of the Greeting. By this Greeting and the people’s response, the mystery of the Church gathered together is made manifest.

After the greeting of the people, the priest, the deacon, or a lay minister may very briefly introduce the faithful to the Mass of the day.

Nowhere do you see jokes mentioned. Your friend in all charity should remind the pastor that it is the Holy Sacrifice of Mass…not a concert or open-mic night. Reverence is to be given because we are recreating the Sacrifice at Calvary in an unbloody manner.


And nowhere are jokes mentioned in the email. :shrug:

Maybe the OP needs to go back to his friend and ask what really happened.


I’ve actually seen these take place myself as well… In these interactions, there are at times, jokes being made, with laughter, talking back and forth from pastor and someone in congregation, etc.

Usually, servers, the deacon, and the celebrant all entered the sanctuary not together, usually the celebrant beginning in the back of the sanctuary speaking/joking/making announcements from the back and as he makes his way up the center aisle. If he’s not done with what he is saying, usually the servers and deacon get to their respective seats near the altar and sit or stand there, until he is done speaking.

Once finished, he usually goes up to the chair next to the altar, says, “let’s pause for a moment before we celebrate the Eucharist together,” sits down for 10 or so seconds, before standing and opening the hymnal as the cantor(s) sing the chosen processional hymn for the day. However as omitted above, there is no processional.

I think both the friend who emailed me and myself were wondering if
A) such an entrance was licit,


B) if a processional hymn is allowed to be sung when there is no procession into the sanctuary since the ministers and assistants are all at the altar already.

I hope all of this helps clarify things.


I considered this too… But this is usually with churches built where the sacristy is ‘behind’ the altar. Our church has a more 20th century design, with the sacristy situated on the other end of the church-no matter what, the priest would have to walk from the sacristy down the main aisle to the sanctuary.


Socializing with people before Mass, perfectly fine. Cutting out part of the Mass, now that’s where we have a problem.

Architecture should not be an excuse for liturgical abuse. So the Newman Center at my university is being renovated, and we’ve relocated Sunday Mass to the union ballroom. Except one Sunday, the ballroom was taken (reserved before we asked for every Sunday until construction’s complete) and we had Mass in an auditorium. We still followed the rubrics exactly. The only difference about the Mass was the environment. And if we can still have a solemn procession in an auditorium, I think you can handle one in an actual church.

That said, though, seriously, check with your friend. I agree with some of the people in this thread that your email doesn’t match up with what you say happened.


How not? While the email speaks of a “personal greeting” and “interaction” with the congregation, I elaborated on what this usually entails to give some greater context. I know of what the guy is speaking of… I was just wondering IF that was allowed-jokes, dialogue, a processional hymn without a procession, etc. These are the specifics of what IS happening. I only gave you all that to explain what was going on.

Walking down the aisle alone, greeting the congregation, asking questions, making a joke, eliciting laughter and response- that’s all “greetings and interactions” just like the email said. :confused:


The OP did not mention any jokes. The word “jokes” was used in a response by another poster. Reread the OP.


The word “jokes” is in the title of the thread, hence the OP used it.


OK, but it was not in the E-mail he posted. Did he just add his own interpretation to the E-mail, or did he omit part of it?

The difference being unjust criticism of a priest for telling a joke, which he might not have done, and an unjust presumption, leading others to make rash judgments. Not good.


I (the OP) did mention jokes… both in the title of the thread, and in responses clarifying/elaborating on what was going on during these mini announcement/speech/response moments given ad hoc before mass. I know the person who emailed me, and could describe in greater detail what was happening at the masses mentioned because I was there witnessing it. Jokes occur during these. I have seen them.


I tried to describe in further detail what went on during these moments, as I thought it would be helpful. Apparently, all it’s done is lead to a discussion on jokes and IF the occur or not. They do occur. The question is: is such an entrance allowed, and if so, is the processional hymn still allowed to b sung when there is no procession.


Yes, such an entrance is allowed, and yes, an opening hymn is still allowed to be sung. I sometimes attend Mass at a parish where it is done all the time. The priest enters from the sacristy and an entrance hymn is sung. They recess out the same way. You do not need a procession down the center aisle. They come in from the side.


As I read it the priest does his greetings to parishioners as he goes up the aisle but then when he gets to the chair they have a moment of silence and then Mass starts with the Entrance Chant and the rest of the Opening Rites.

It may not be the ideal, but GIRM 47 says “The purpose of this chant is to open the celebration, foster the unity of those who have been gathered, introduce their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical season or festivity, and accompany the procession of the priest and ministers.” Note what’s listed last.


An earlier draft translation of the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal had:

“119. … When there is an Entrance Procession, the following are also to be prepared: the Book of the Gospels; on Sundays and festive days, the thurible and the boat with incense, if incense is used; the cross to be carried in procession; and candlesticks with lighted candles.” (Copyright © 2003, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.)

It sounded like the Entrance Procession was optional.

The approved translation has:
“119. … When the Entrance takes place with a procession, the following are also to be prepared: a Book of the Gospels; on Sundays and festive days, a thurible and incense boat, if incense is being used; the cross to be carried in procession; and candlesticks with lighted candles.” (From Roman Missal, English translation according to the third typical edition, approved for use in the dioceses of Australia, England and Wales, and Scotland, published by Catholic Truth Society, in 2010, ISBN 9781860827303, page 62).

Here it sounds like the Entrance is compulsory, but the are options about what is carried in it, whether it is a full procession.


Not necessarily. It doesn’t say “The Entrance takes place in the following manner…” It states “When the Entrance takes place with a procession…” I guess it could be assumed that there could be times when an entrance does not take place with a procession.


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