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Scott P. Richert

Reader Question: When and Why Is the Alleluia Omitted From Mass?

By February 1, 2008

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With Lent just around the corner, a reader writes:

During Advent, in our church, we sing "Alleluia." I have been under the impression that "Alleluia" is omitted during Advent and Lent. Can you please explain the rule and if is appropriate to sing it at these periods?

The reader is half-right: The Alleluia is omitted during Lent, though it is sung during Advent. He may be thinking of the fact that, during Advent as well as Lent, the Gloria ("Glory to God in the Highest") is omitted. The reason for both practices is the same: Advent and Lent are penitential periods, and the Church signifies that by removing some of the most joyful hymns from the Mass.

The idea is not to punish us, however, but to increase our joy at Christmas and at Easter, when the Gloria and the Alleluia return. You can learn more about this practice in Why Don't Roman Catholics Sing the Alleluia During Lent?

If you have a question that you would like to have featured in our "Reader Questions" series, send me an e-mail at catholicism.guide@about.com. Be sure to put "QUESTION" in the subject line, and please note whether you'd like me to address it privately or on the Catholicism blog.

FAQs About Lent:

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