What happens to the Alleluias throughout the year?
The Book of Common Prayer offers the option to use Alleluias at a few points during the Eucharistic liturgy: the Opening Sentence, the Fraction Anthem, and the Dismissal. In the case of the Opening Sentence, the BCP indicates that the form with Alleluia included must be used from Easter Day through the Day of Pentecost (This is the “Alleluia. Christ is risen-The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia” combo). In the case of the Dismissal, Alleluia’s may be added from the Easter Vigil through the Day of Pentecost, but they are not required. In the case of the Fraction Anthem, an Alleluia may be added at any time as long as it’s not during Lent. So aside from the Fraction Anthem, which we usually sing, there’s not a whole lot of wiggle room when it comes to using Alleluia’s during the service.
Why does the Prayer Book restrict the use of Alleluia’s?
“Alleluia” roughly translates to “praise the Lord,” and is traditionally a term used to express great joy in the worship of God. Because of this, Alleluia is used to highlight the most joyful times of the liturgical season—Easter through Pentecost, when we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and then the arrival of the Holy Spirit into the Church. The use of Alleluia’s sets this joyful season apart, and draws our attention to that special time of year.