SPLIT: Recessional hymns during Lent?


Is there a rule regarding no recessional hymns during Lent? Our parish has always refrained from recessional hymns during Lent, and people have always been good about processing out quietly. But, this evening, at the end of our 6:30pm Mass before middle school faith formation, the youth choir sang a recessional hymn. Some people (including myself) were a little concerned, so later, I asked our youth minister about it.

She said that they had been singing recessional hymns every Wednesday night during Lent, and that she had worked at other parishes in other dioceses, and that our was the first church she had attended where there were no recessional hymns during Lent.

So, is this a rule, or just a tradition or custom observed by some churches? Thanks.




There is no prescription either way on the books, because the recessional hymn is not a part of the Mass. There is no recessional antiphon or recessional proper written in the Missal, and there is not even a provision for anything to be done at this point which is completely outside the liturgy. It is simply a long-standing custom that liturgies end with a hymn just as they began.

The instructions for Lent require that musical instruments not be played except to support the singing of the assembly. Even this instruction is not particularly applicable to the time when the Mass has already been concluded, since the GIRM regulates only the Mass itself. So it is entirely within our rights to sing a recessional hymn, to process out in silence, or even to present an organ "postlude".


I think it is always quite salient to have no recession piece during Lent.


As someone has said, there is nothing regulating recessionals, whether in Lent or at any other times.

In my parish not having a recessional hymn only encourages the people to start chatting earlier. "Recess in silence??" They can't even do that on Holy Thursday when people are in Adoration.


In our parish, during lent, in place of a recessional, the Priest (and Deacon) will venerate the Altar, then they and the Altar servers will kneel at the foot of the Altar, at this point the entire congregation will kneel as well, and remain kneeling until after the Priest (and Deacon) stand and recess out with the servers. During Lent the Altar servers also do not process or recess with the Crucifix and candles. I find this format during Lent very refreshing and solemn. The only exception to this is our diocesan Chrism Mass, (my parish is the Cathedral of the diocese).


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