It’s not a bad word, I’m just not sure if you’re supposed to say or write it at all during Lent. Which is why this question arises. We switch during Lent in the gospel acclammation “Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ…” but a music director is saying it is okay to use it otherwise for things like a Bible enthronement and a service that takes place in the church during a retreat coming up because we only have to refrain from using it in the actual Mass. I understood it as we aren’t supposed to really use it all because we are in the middle of a season of repentance. Can you please tell me which is correct??
If you mean “alleluia” I did a word search on a Bible website, and came up with 12 instances of it in scripture.
Certainly it’s okay to quote scripture at any time.
Im referring to using it in songs
This is what the February 1988 document on Lent & Easter “Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts – Congregation for Divine Worship” has to say on this topic:
- Likewise from the beginning of Lent until the paschal Vigil, “Alleluia” is to be omitted in all celebrations, even on solemnities and feasts. (21)
From the article following it, we can see that “celebrations” includes things other than the Eucharist:
- The chants to be sung in celebrations especially of the Eucharist, and also at devotional exercises should be in harmony with the spirit of the season and the liturgical texts.
It’s removed from the liturgy, primarily Mass and the LOTH during Lent but it isn’t a banned word. You can use it in other settings and, has been previously mentioned, quote it in Scripture.
I would hope a Church retreat during Lent would have a penetential “flavor” anyway but the use of the word Alleluia would be allowed if it wasn’t in the Liturgy portion of the retreat.
FYI - I have do not think it is worth consulting a canon lawyer about, but the use of the word “alleluia” in a reading or song, where it is not an acclaimation is different than singing the Alleluia. For example, there is one hymn that has the line in one verse “Alleluia is our song”. I wouldn’t sweat such a casual use. If however, the word is a proclaimation, like found in Seek Ye First, that is inappropriate for public Church use.
Songs with alleluia in them are probably not the best for use in Lent. They tend to be celebratory. Songs with a penitential tone would be a better choice.
The question of whether or not it is allowed, I am not qualified to answer.
But I have a different question. Even if it is allowed, why would you want to? We are in Lent, it is a great gift, and not using the A-word is not just about rules, it is about real, external psychological preparation that aids our inward preparation.
We should want to be penitential during and outside of Mass, during Lent.
OK, what about private use of Alleluia? Does that count?
I enjoy listening to several Taize CDs in my car on the way to and from work. I doubt there are any Taize CDs that don’t have at least one track with several heartfelt alleluias and I’ve been known to sing these at the top of my lungs at stoplights. Since it’s just me, my car, and God, is this considered inappropriate? I assumed the omission of alleluia was limited to the liturgy and in a public setting (Mass, concerts, study groups, etc.)
Granted, it’s a kind of “Catholic bad taste” to boogie in one’s car to “Alleluia” during Lent, but is there any documentation that prohibits this?
Music ministries rehearse the hymns of the Paschal Triduum quite intensely while it is still Lent, so of course there are exceptions for private use.