I’ve noticed that at some Masses the Cantor is moving to the Ambo to sing the Responsorial
Psalm. I was wondering why you’ve made this change?
I’m glad you asked because this seems like a change that effects only the cantor but in reality it
has a much bigger impact because it demonstrates the two different roles the Cantor plays at liturgy.
For the majority of the Mass the cantor functions as a song leader. Prepared to provide leadership
for the assembly, the cantor prepares, prays and then teaches the hymns chosen to sing at Mass.
During the Liturgy of the Word the cantor takes on a more important role. They too proclaim the
scripture, only in song. The Psalms are part of the Bible, many the creations of King David himself,
and are often referred to as the “Hymnal of the Israelites.” The psalms were designed for singing,
so we use them at Mass in a responsorial format in which the assembly echoes the cantor and the
cantor provides the verses.
During the psalm, we call the cantor the Psalmist, which is “pride of place” for the cantor because it is
a privilege to sing the scriptures. (January 25, 2004)
Small change, big impact!