Beginning with the First Sunday of Lent this year, I began the practice of chanting the Introit at the start of all Masses except our 9:00am Folk Group Mass. So far, the response from the parishioners has been so encouraging... there have been at least one or two people after every Mass who come to me saying how beautiful it is to hear these chants, how they create a kind of "quiet time" before Mass begins and again before communion (we've been chanting the Communion Antiphon immediately after the Priest receives communion since last September).
Although not a perfect arrangement, we've taken the approach that I think has been the most successful for those parishes where the "4-Hymn Sandwich" has been the norm for a long time - chanting the Introit before the Processional Hymn, and chanting the Communion Antiphon during the time when the EM's are receiving communion before going to their stations (this can often be as long as 5 minutes!). I've heard this approach referred to jokingly as the "Stuffed Mass" ..... an appropriate term since the presence of the Antiphons really renders the hymns pointless. However, it is probably this approach that has allowed for the ready acceptance of these chants by both the parishioners and the Priests of our parish.
Just for an example, here is what my preparations look like for this coming Sunday (Lent III)
Third Sunday of Lent
March 27th , 2011
Introit – Oculi mei (Ps 25 (24): 15, 16) (Simple English Propers)
My eyes are forever turned towards the Lord; *
for he shall release my feet from the snare;
look upon me and have mercy on me,
for I am abandoned and destitute.
Processional Hymn- I Heard The Voice of Jesus Say (Kingsfold)
Kyrie – Mass XVIII
Psalm 95- If today You Hear His Voice ( Fr. Weber chant setting)
Gospel Verse - (Jesu Dulcis Memoria setting)
R/.Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ;
King of endless glory!
V/. “Lord, you are truly the Savior of the world,
Give me living water that I may never thirst again”. R/.
Offertory Hymn – As The Deer Longs (O WALY WALY)
Sanctus – Land of Rest (Proulx)
Memorial -“Lord by Your Cross...”
Agnus Dei – Mass XVIII (Latin)
Communion Antiphon – Passer invenit (Ps 84 (83): 4, 5) (Simple Propers)
The sparrow has found herself a home, *
and the turtle dove a nest in which to lay her young:
at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God!
Blessed are they who dwell in your house,
they shall praise you forever and ever.
Communion: I Heard The Voice of Jesus Say (Tallis)
Recessional Hymn – Shepherd of Souls, Refresh and Bless