The liturgical gathering of the people as the worshiping community at the beginning of the eucharist. The entrance rite prepares the congregation for the liturgy of the word. Until the fourth or fifth centuries, the eucharistic liturgy typically began with the celebrant's salutation and the first reading. As Christian worship became more formalized, entrance rites became more elaborate. The ministers entered in procession, with the gospel book carried in procession. The entrance rite has at times become cumbersome with too many additions, which can distract instead of preparing the people to hear the Word of God.
The entrance rite of the 1979 BCP includes the entrance of the ministers and may begin with a hymn, psalm, or anthem. A seasonal acclamation follows. The collect for purity is optional in Rite 2 eucharistic liturgies but is required in Rite 1. Then may follow the Gloria in excelsis or another song of praise, or the Kyrie eleison, or the Trisagion. The Gloria in excelsis or other hymn of praise is to be used from Christmas Day through the Feast of Epiphany and throughout the Easter season. The salutation is followed by the collect of the day. The BCP provides special entrance rites for the Proper Liturgies for Special Days such as Palm Sunday and the Easter Vigil, for Baptism, for pastoral offices such as Marriage and Burial, and for episcopal services such as Ordination and the Consecration of a Church. Other options for the entrance rite include A Penitential Order (BCP, p. 351), which is especially appropriate for Lent or other penitential occasions; the Great Litany (p. 148); and the Order of Worship for Evening (p. 109). The BCP prescribes use of the Order of Worship for Evening as the entrance rite for the Vigil of Pentecost (p. 227). The BOS calls for its use at the Vigil Eucharist of other baptismal feasts, the First Sunday after the Epiphany, and All Saints' Day or the Sunday after All Saints' Day. See Liturgy of the Word.