The Double ‘Alleluia’

Date: April 21, 2024
Author: Fr. Edward McNamara, LC

Question: On Easter and Divine Mercy Sundays we sing the Alleluia at the dismissal at the end of Mass. I had a priest tell me that when the dismissal is recited for the remaining weeks of Easter it concludes, “Alleluia, Alleluia” (not actually sung). So, it might be, "Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life. Alleluia. Alleluia.'” This would end on Pentecost Sunday. I would appreciate a clarification to settle this matter. -- T.O., Mantua Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey


Answer: I must respectfully disagree with the priest in question, although it is admittedly a matter that is often the source of confusion by priests and deacons.


First, allow me to clarify that the addition of “Alleluia, Alleluia” to the dismissal formula in no way depends on whether it is sung or not. The double Alleluia is also added to both the dismissal and the faithful’s response even if recited. Thus, the rubric says:


“To dismiss the people the Deacon, or if there is no Deacon, the Priest himself, sings or says: Go forth, the Mass is ended alleluia, alleluia ….


“All reply: ‘Thanks be to God alleluia, alleluia.’


“This practice is observed throughout the Octave of Easter.”


An almost identical rubric is found on Pentecost Sunday.


Therefore, this form of special dismissal is sung or said only on those days when it is explicitly prescribed by the rubrics. As seen above, these days are the following:


On Easter Sunday and on each day of the Easter octave from the conclusion of the Vigil Mass to the last Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday, which is also the conclusion of the octave.


This is because the Easter octave is seen as somehow liturgically prolonging the celebration of Easter Sunday during the course of an entire week.


It is also used at all Masses of Pentecost Sunday, including when celebrated on Saturday evening. This celebration brings the Easter season to a close.


It is omitted on all other days of Eastertide, including Sundays, and even on the solemnity of the Ascension whether it is celebrated on Thursday or moved to a Sunday.


This double Alleluia also closes the dismissal of the recitation of the principal hours of the Divine Office during the Easter octave and on Pentecost Sunday.


For this reason, after Evening Prayer II (vespers) of Pentecost Sunday we find the dismissal with the double Alleluia followed by the succinct rubric, “So Eastertide ends.”


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