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You are here: Documents > The Eucharist and the Mass > Introduction to the Book of the Gospels  Back one page.

Table of Contents
Table of ContentsI. TheCentrality of the Gospel in the Life of the Church and her LiturgyEndnotes

II. The Proclamation of the Gospel at Mass

8. Every time the Church unites herself with Christ in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the Body of the Lord and the eternal Word of divine truth are received as from a twofold table, as a participation in the one sacrifice of praise.[16] While opening up a vast treasury of Sacred Scripture in the Liturgy of the Word, the Church nonetheless acknowledges the preeminent place of the Gospels [17] by according "special marks of honor" to their proclamation. [18] The proclamation of the Gospel is reserved to the deacon, if he is present, or to a priest. It can be preceded by a procession which marks the coming of Christ, present in the words of life he unfailingly addresses to his followers whenever, as members of the Church, they gather in his name. The procession may be accompanied by particular marks of reverence, above all, the use of incense and lighted candles. To the proclamation and the accompanying manifestations of reverence, all the faithful present respond in faith, receiving the message of the Gospel into their hearts and praying that it may purify and transform their lives, building up the Body of Christ which is the Church.

ENTRANCE PROCESSION

9. In the Entrance Procession the vested deacon reverently carries the Book of the Gospels before him so that it may be seen by the faithful.[19] With the priest he makes the proper reverence and goes up to the altar, placing the Book of the Gospels on it. The deacon then kisses the altar at the same time as the priest. [20] In the absence of a deacon, the reader reverently carries the Book of the Gospels in procession. The reader follows the acolytes and other ministers in procession. The reader places the Book of the Gospels on the altar, but the reader does not kiss the altar.

PREPARATION FOR THE GOSPEL PROCESSION

10. After a brief silent reflection on the last reading from the Lectionary, or as the occasion dictates, after the responsorial Psalm, the reader removes the Lectionary. The candle bearers go to the altar where the Book of the Gospels has been placed.

11. The faithful stand to welcome and acclaim the Word made flesh and to honor the Book of the Gospels, which is a sign of his presence. All sing the Gospel Acclamation which ends when the deacon reaches the ambo. [21]

12. The deacon, accompanied by the thurifer, goes to the priest celebrant. As the congregation begins to sing the Gospel Acclamation, the deacon assists the priest who puts incense into the thurible. [22]

BLESSING

13. After the preparation of the incense, the deacon bows before the priest and asks for the blessing. [23] The priest blesses him with the words, The Lord be in your heart... The deacon answers, Amen.

IN THE ABSENCE OF A DEACON

14. When no deacon is present, a concelebrating priest may proclaim the Gospel. [24] When no concelebrant is present, the priest celebrant proclaims the Gospel. Unless the celebrant is a Bishop, the concelebrant bows before the altar, praying inaudibly, Almighty God, cleanse my heart... [25]

15. When the celebrant is the Bishop, the priest asks for the blessing in the same manner as the deacon. [26] Everything else is carried out by the concelebrating priest in the same manner as a deacon.

PROCESSION

16. After receiving the blessing, the deacon, preceded by the thurifer and acolytes with lighted candles or other symbols of reverence that may be customary, takes the Book of the Gospels from the altar and carries it to the ambo, accompanied by the Gospel Acclamation. [27]

PROCLAMATION

17. Once he has reached the ambo and placed the Book of the Gospels on it, with hands joined, he greets the faithful. Acolytes with candles may position themselves on either side of the deacon at the ambo as he proclaims the Gospel.

18. Then the deacon announces the reading while making the sign of the cross with his thumb, first on the book at the beginning of the Gospel passage he is about to read, then on his forehead, lips and breast. Together with the deacon who proclaims the Gospel, the faithful sign themselves similarly that the Word may enlighten their minds, cleanse their hearts and open their lips to proclaim the praise of the Lord. [28] All present respond with the words: Glory to you, Lord. The deacon then incenses the book three times, to the center, left and right. [29] The Gospel is then proclaimed in a clear voice.

19. In order to stir the hearts of the faithful and convey the importance of the Gospel itself, the greeting, the announcement of the reading, the concluding acclamation and even the entire Gospel may be sung. [30] Musical settings should be easily understood and enhance rather than obscure the meaning of the sacred text. [31]

ACCLAMATION AT THE END OF THE GOSPEL

20. At the end of the Gospel, the deacon proclaims The Gospel of the Lord without raising the book from the stand. All present respond with the words: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ. [32]

21. Then the deacon kisses the book, saying in a low voice: "Through the words of the Gospel...." [33] If the celebrant is a Bishop, the deacon either may bring the Book of the Gospels to the Bishop, who reverences it with a kiss, or he may kiss the book himself. The Book of the Gospels is then reverently taken to some other suitable place. [34]

22. The Book of the Gospels is not carried in the procession at the end of Mass.

Table of ContentsI. TheCentrality of the Gospel in the Life of the Church and her LiturgyEndnotes

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The Catholic Liturgical Library
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You are here: Documents > The Eucharist and the Mass > Introduction to the Book of the Gospels  Back one page.

Home | New | FAQ | Search | Forum | Links


All contents © copyright, 1998-2014
The Catholic Liturgical Library
http://www.catholicliturgy.com