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Music During Lent

You may have noticed the absence of an organ prelude and postlude beginning Ash Wednesday and through the third Sunday of Lent. This is because the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), in paragraph 313, states, “In Lent the playing of the organ and musical instruments is allowed only in order to support the singing. Exceptions, however, are Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), Solemnities, and Feasts.” This instruction dates back to Pope Pius X in 1903, and has been in active force since that time. If you visit another parish, and experience instrumental preludes and postludes during Lent (excepting Laetare Sunday), most likely the musician is unaware of this instruction, or its spiritual value. Also, it is our tradition at St. Joseph to give up the procession and recession hymns during Lent, except Laetare (Rose) Sunday. On Laetare Sunday, we take a small break, and return to normalcy, something of a relief from Lent. By giving up organ preludes and postludes, procession and recession hymns during Lent, we appreciate them more upon their return at the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday!

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