Once again there are no questions in the Liturgical Question Box and so we continue our discussion of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Last week we began our discussion of the Gloria. The roots of the Gloria are found at the very beginning of the life of Christ when, as the scriptures say, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glòria in excèlsis Deo et in terra pax homìnibus bonae voluntàtis.’” (Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased.) The origins of this great hymn of praise remind us again of how in the Holy Mass we truly do join with this great multitude of the heavenly host in their song.
The Institutio says of the Gloria that it is “intoned by the priest” or if it is necessary, it can be intoned by a cantor. “It is sung either by everyone together, or by the people alternately with the choir, or by the choir alone.” The Institutio also points out that this hymn can never be replaced by another song.
After the Gloria the priest invites the people to pray. After this invitation there should be a short moment of silence so that all “may be conscious of the fact that they are in God’s presence and may formulate their petitions mentally.” Then the priest sings or says the collect. This opening prayer is called a collect because, as the Latin word suggests, this prayer collects all the prayers that we have offered in silence and offers them, through the ministry of the priest to God the Father.
After all respond with the Amen, everyone sits for the Liturgy of the Word, which will be our topic next week.