When should we stand before the Gospel reading?


#1

Just before the priest reads the Gospel, he stands up, walks to pick up the Gospel book, and carries it over to the ambo. Also, the choir/cantor begins to sing “Alleluia.” These things usually happen almost simultaneously and everyone stands up. However, once in a while these things don’t happen at the same time. For example, I’ve seen cases where the choir begins to sing but the priest stays seated for may be 15 seconds. I’ve also seen the priest get up before the choir sings, or may be the Alleluia isn’t sung at all. I’ve also seen this cause a mini-confusion among the congregation. Some people stand earlier than the others and then they look self-conscious because not everyone is standing yet. It’s not a big deal, but I’m curious.

So, when exactly should we stand for the Gospel reading?


#2

You stand for the Alleluia. If it’s not said or sung (it’s often omitted if not sung) stand when Fr. does.


#3

Sometimes the priest will stand early to put incense in the thurible, and in that case, wait for the music to start.


#4

[quote="Cavaille-Coll, post:3, topic:308521"]
Sometimes the priest will stand early to put incense in the thurible, and in that case, wait for the music to start.

[/quote]

Yes indeed. Stand at the start of the music for the Alleluia. We're standing to greet Christ present in his Gospel by singing Alleluia, not because the priest or bishop stands (and, in fact, it's awkward to wait for a bishop to stand at cathedral liturgies because he remains seated to put the incense in the thurible before he stands).

From the General Instruction, 2000:
ACCLAMATION BEFORE THE GOSPEL

62 After the reading which immediately precedes the Gospel, the Alleluia or another song indicated by the rubrics is sung, according to the liturgical season. An acclamation of this kind constitutes in itself a rite or act, by which the assembly of the faithful praises and welcomes and greets the Lord who is about to speak to them in the Gospel and professes its faith in liturgical song. The Alleluia is sung by all standing, led by either the choir or a cantor, and if appropriate, it may be repeated. The verse itself is sung either by the choir or by the cantor.

And, as a rule, remain standing until the Book of the Gospels is put away. At cathedral liturgies, the bishop may reverence the Book with a kiss and may use it to bless the congregation, for which one should remain standing. So, if you see the Book of the Gospels put away, then it's OK to be seated.


#5

[quote="hannajomar, post:1, topic:308521"]

So, when exactly should we stand for the Gospel reading?

[/quote]

It is proper to stand for both the Alleluia and the Gospel.

How does this work in practice and why do things sometimes seem confusing?

Well, there is typically a period of silent reflection following the reading or Psalm prior to the Gospel (depending on whether there are one or two readings) and someone (it ought to be the priest) has to figure out how long that period is. What is probably going on is that the priest, deacon (if the deacon is going to read the Gospel), altar servers (if they will carry candles to the ambo), MC, and musicians are all trying to catch each others' eyes to make sure everyone is ready and will be in sync.

When the priest stands then everyone else should stand.

But sometimes, for whatever reason, someone gets things out of order. Or an individual priest may want the musicians to start the Alleluia before he stands. :shrug:


#6

[quote="SMHW, post:5, topic:308521"]
But sometimes, for whatever reason, someone gets things out of order. Or an individual priest may want the musicians to start the Alleluia before he stands. :shrug:

[/quote]

Are you saying that the cue for the Alleluia should be when the priest stands? The GIRM doesn't make that point that I know of.


#7

No, I’m not saying it ***should ***be the cue.

I’m just saying that for practical reasons it often is the cue and people tend to expect that is what will happen. Someone has to decide when we’ve done enough reflecting and it is time for the Alleluia. In my opinion the priest is the logical person to do so and standing is an easy way to indicate this to musicians, deacons, altar servers, congregation…

And people notice if something happens differently.


#8

In my Parish, we stand as soon as we hear the first notes of the Alleluia on either the piano or organ.


#9

[quote="SMHW, post:7, topic:308521"]
No, I'm not saying it **should **be the cue.

I'm just saying that for practical reasons it often is the cue and people tend to expect that is what will happen. Someone has to decide when we've done enough reflecting and it is time for the Alleluia. In my opinion the priest is the logical person to do so and standing is an easy way to indicate this to musicians, deacons, altar servers, congregation...

And people notice if something happens differently.

[/quote]

I concur that if the musicians are not sufficiently trained, then the priest should cue them to start the Alleluia which would then cue the congregation. At funerals and weddings where there are a lot of unchurched people (or regular Catholics sufficiently distracted), the priests verbally cue the congregation: "Please stand. Please sit. Please kneel." And in such cases, the cue to stand is the verbal, "Please stand," at which point the Alleluia starts.

For Sunday liturgies, we make sure to train the musicians to wait an appropriate time and then start the Alleluia. There may be a few times that you'd have to give them feedback "wait longer," or "not so long," but they pick up quickly... timing is a gift that musicians should have. :)


#10

Well presumably the usual priests and usual musicians talk to each other on occasion and have worked out such things as who does what when.

It’s been my experience that the priests want to be the ones to determine how long a pause for prayer there is prior to the Alleluia. It seems it is your experience that the priests expect the musicians to make that determination. Perhaps the OP was at a parish where one one of your priests was visiting a parish that had to use one of my musicians and the parishioners were thinking they needed to take charge. :smiley:


#11

Or… Oy vey… the awkwardness when both are waiting for the other to make the first move! :eek:


#12

In any training I've received it was the celebrant who cued everyone else.

In my parish the choir has no training -- hey, it's a small parish and people are just glad that someone stepped up to the plate. They don't take suggestions as anything but criticism and if they are doing something totally wrong and you point it out the usual comment is "I'm sure God doesn't mind." That's why I've had to keep to myself the annoyance I feel every time they launch into the Agnus Dei to fill the silence during the Sign of Peace, forcing Fr. to hustle back to the altar (from offering the Sign of Peace to the servers and ministers) to start the Fraction Rite.


#13

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