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Today at 8:30am

The Cantor Leads the Responsorial Psalm from the Ambo

Bulletin Rounding Response:
January 2010Why do we do what we do during Mass?

In the process of rounding, some people have asked us to explain why we do some of the things we do during Mass. For example, why does the cantor cross over from the choir area to the ambo to lead the congregation in the responsorial psalm?

When the cantor walks to the ambo for the responsorial psalm, it is a procession. Each of the people who read sections of scripture during the Mass come forward in procession from the congregation to read (proclaim the scriptures) from the ambo. In each instance, this is the Body of Christ processing forward to proclaim the word of God.

Furthermore, the ambo is the podium from which the liturgy of the word is conducted. The choir is part of the congregation, and the ambo is the preferred location from which all scriptures are proclaimed according to the instructions in the Missal (Vatican rules). As you know the responsorial psalm is a scriptural Old Testament proclamation, so that is why we proclaim it from the ambo. Yes the choir happens to be sitting on the opposite side of the ambo, so they cross over.

When we see people processing up, or crossing over, to proclaim God's word, we are filled with anticipation for what we are about to hear proclaimed or beautifully sung in proclamation, and we anticipate our opportunity to sing the response. The words of Sacred Scripture are unlike any other texts we will ever hear, for they not only give us information, they are the vehicle God uses to reveal himself to us, the means by which we come to know the depth of God's love for us and the responsibilities entailed by being Christ's followers, members of his Body. Hence, in the word of God properly proclaimed, God is alive and active in our midst. How exciting is that!