The Catholic University of America

 Jason McFarland

Final Examination of Rev. Jason J. McFarland

For the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 2:00 p.m., Caldwell Hall Room 125


Rev. Msgr. Kevin W. Irwin


"Cantus ad introitum: The Entrance Song in Roman Catholic Worship"

This study explores the history and theology of the entrance song by means of a contextual method. It considers how the entrance song functions within the Roman Rite, what its purpose is, and what can be expressed theologically by means of the text and melody of an entrance song. Part one of the study explores the development of the entrance song throughout history—in particular the Roman Rite introit—and delineates the theology and ritual function of the entrance song from ecclesiastical documents. Part two begins by proposing several models of the entrance song for present-day use.

The models address two questions: what should Roman Rite Catholics sing at the beginning of Mass, and what influence should the proper chant tradition have upon contemporary entrance song practice? The study concludes with a contextual theological analysis of the entrance song in terms of ritual/theological function, text, and liturgical enactment, focusing upon the entrance song of the Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper Nos autem gloriari, including a detailed analysis of the chant and its liturgical context. Several principles for choosing an entrance song are articulated, concluding with a consideration of what the dissertation as a whole might imply for the discipline of liturgical studies and pastoral practice concerning the entrance song.