Why we sing the Introit at Sung Mass

At the solemn start of the Sung Mass in the extraordinary form, an ‘ouverture’ is sung by the choir, namely the Introit (Introitus). Just like at the opera, the’ ouverture’ or ‘opening’ brings forward the theme what the liturgy of the Mass will be about. In a short and powerful manner it is made clear to the faithful what the liturgical feast is about.

To illustrate this, allow us to give you some fragments of introits of some major feasts:

  • On the evening before Christmas: “Hodie scietis, etc.” – “This day you shall know that the Lord will come and save us.: and in the morning you shall see His glory.”
  • On Christmas Midnight Mass: “Filius meus es tu, etc.” – “Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee.”
  • On the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus (Jan 1): “In nominee Jesu etc.” – “His name shall be called the angel of great counsel.”
  • On the feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross (May 3): “Nos autem gloriari etc.” – “But it behooves us to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • On the feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga (June 21): “Minuisti eum etc” – “Thou hast made him a little less than the angels.”

(Source: De Mis, Van Beukering F., 1939)

Semper Excelsius is a website for the defense of the Catholic faith through instruction and informative articles. Its focus is on explaining the rich history and traditions of the holy Roman Catholic Church, while defending her teachings against false assumptions and doctrinal errors.

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