Remember I said we "buried" a word throughout Lent? Well, here it is, loud and clear!
In the Catholic mass, we usually sing Alleluia before the priest reads from the Gospel every week. However, during Lent, we do not. Instead, they usually sing something like "Praise to you, O Word of God." So when we finally get to sing it on Easter, it's super exciting! [All of my Catholic friends on Facebook definitely threw an "Alleluia" into their "Happy Easter" status updates yesterday, too.]
I do have a story about this, as usual. At our parish back in Norfolk, they would really get you into it at the Easter Vigil. After the gabillion other readings before it, the anticipation had built up and everyone was kinda pumped (okay, some were probably asleep). Anyway, right before the Gospel Acclamation, the lector would say, "If you have lost a husband or a wife to death, please stand and remain standing." Many of our retirees stood. Then, "If you have lost a son or daughter to death, please stand and remain standing." More people standing, some in tears. Then, "If you have lost a mother, father, sister or brother to death, please stand and remain standing." I was still sitting, but was among few. The reader went through a few more, including grandparents, friends, etc. Then she said, "Will all those still seated please rise as we listen to Christ's victory over death?" Many people were in tears at this point. Then our priest paraded around the ENTIRE church holding the Gospel high with the "Celtic Alleluia" being sung with all the verses. Sometimes I still choke up thinking about the beauty of that moment.
So, today, in honor of Easter, I give you my 3 favorite Alleluias in song. First, the Celtic one. This is probably the most commonly used one in American churches, and it's also the one I chose to use at our wedding.
My second choice: good ol' Handel. Did you know that the "Hallelujah Chorus" is actually part of the Easter section of the Messiah? It's traditionally done at Christmas, but if you hear it around this time please don't get offended. I mean, the word has been buried, so sing it loud and proud!
Isn't the Mormon Tabernacle Choir freakin' awesome?!
And my third choice is usually the recessional for an Easter mass (and any time in Easter Season, which stretches from yesterday until Pentecost). Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Alleluia!
Happy Easter, everyone! I'll be celebrating for the next 50 days or so. :-)