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Scott P. Richert

Reader Question: Omitting the Gloria From Mass

By December 10, 2009

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On the Reader Questions form, "Lori1960" asks:

Other than periods of reconciliation and wearing purple, why do we omit the Gloria during Advent and Lent and change the Gospel Acclamation so we don't say Alleluia during Lent?

In a sense, the reader has answered her own question. We omit the Gloria during Advent and Lent because both are penitential periods, and that is why the priest's vestments are purple, too (except on Laetare Sunday in Lent and Gaudete Sunday in Advent). In addition, since Lent is a stricter penitential period than Advent, we omit the Alleluia, which is a term of great joy since it has traditionally been seen as the chief term of praise of the choirs of angels gathered around God's throne.

All of these changes are designed to focus on minds on the nature of the season. Our worship helps us to recall that Advent and Lent are times of preparation—not only for the greatest feasts of the liturgical year, Christmas and Easter, but for the end of our lives and the Second Coming of Christ.

If you have a question that you would like to be featured as part of our Reader Questions series, you can use our submission form. If you would like the question answered privately, please send me an e-mail. 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.

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