Omitting or Adding the Gloria

Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

Q1: When an ordination of a priest takes place on a day that is not a liturgical feast or solemnity, should the Gloria be sung? The Rite of Ordination only states that after the procession, «the liturgy of the word takes place according to the rubrics» (6). According to this, there should be no Gloria if the Mass occurs on a memorial. However, in all of the ordinations that I’ve been to in the past, the Gloria was always sung, whether or not it was called for by the rubrics of the liturgy. Could you please clarify? — H.H., Berkeley, California

Q2: At Sunday Mass with a baptism included, besides omitting the Greeting and Penitential Rite, is the Gloria also omitted? — A.C., Townsville, Australia

A: As both questions are closely related, I will address them together.

No 53 of the General Introduction of the Roman Missal says:

«The Gloria is a very ancient and venerable hymn in which the Church, gathered together in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb. The text of this hymn may not be replaced by any other text. The Gloria is intoned by the priest or, if appropriate, by a cantor or by the choir; but it is sung either by everyone together, or by the people alternately with the choir, or by the choir alone. If not sung, it is to be recited either by all together or by two parts of the congregation responding one to the other.

«It is sung or said on Sundays outside the Seasons of Advent and Lent, on solemnities and feasts, and at special celebrations of a more solemn character.»

Thus, since an ordination is certainly «a special celebration of a more solemn character,» the Gloria can be sung or recited at any ordination in which the ritual Mass of Ordination may be celebrated.

An obligatory memorial would not impede the celebration of the ritual Mass, and so the Gloria could be sung. This would be true even if for a good reason the bishop decided to celebrate the saint of the day rather than the ritual Mass.

The days when the Gloria would be excluded at ordinations, such as Sundays of Lent and Advent, and Nov. 2, are not usually chosen for such a festive celebration.

When baptism is celebrated during Mass, the greeting and penitential rite are omitted, since the rite of receiving the children takes place at the beginning of the celebration. The rubrics also say that the creed is omitted, since «the profession of faith by the entire community before baptism takes its place.»

Since the rite of baptism makes no mention whatsoever of the Gloria, it must be presumed that it is not affected by the celebration of the sacrament and thus follows the usual rules with respect to its being sung or not.

Likewise, the fact that the rubrics of other sacramental rites, such as ordination, mention the singing of the Gloria if foreseen, would also suggest that baptism is not an exception to this general rule.

* * *

Readers may send questions to Please put the word «Liturgy» in the subject field. The text should include your initials, your city and your state, province or country. Father McNamara can only answer a small selection of the great number of questions that arrive.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

Fr. Edward McNamara

Padre Edward McNamara, L.C., è professore di Teologia e direttore spirituale

Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation