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You are here: Rubrics & Law > Appointments & Architecture > General Instruction of the Roman Missal (4th Edition)  Back one page.

Table of Contents
Table of ContentsChapter IV-B. Concelebrated MassesEndnotes

Chapter IV-A. Mass with a Congregation

77. Mass with a congregation means a Mass celebrated with the people taking part. As far as possible, and especially on Sundays and holydays of obligation, this Mass should be celebrated with song and with a suitable number of ministers. [59] But it may be celebrated without music and with only one minister.

78. It is desirable that as a rule an acolyte, a reader, and a cantor assist the priest celebrant; this form of celebration will hereafter be referred to as the "basic" or "typical" form. But the rite to be described also allows for a greater number of ministers.

A deacon may exercise his office in any of the forms of celebration.

Articles to Be Prepared

79. The altar is to be covered with at least one cloth. On or near the altar there are to be candlesticks with lighted candles, at least two but even four, six, or, if the bishop of the diocese celebrates, seven. There is also to be a cross on or near the altar. The candles and cross may be carried in the entrance procession. The Book of the Gospels, if distinct from he book of other readings, may be placed on the altar, unless it is carried in the entrance procession.

80. The following are also to be prepared:

a) next to the priest's chair: the missal and, as may be useful, a book with the chants;

b) at the lectern: the lectionary;

c) on a side table: the chalice, corporal, purificator, and, if useful, a pall; a paten and ciboria, if needed, with the bread for the communion of the ministers and the people, together with cruets containing wine and water, unless all of these are brought in by the faithful at the presentation of the gifts; communion plate for the communion of the faithful; the requisites for the washing of hands. The chalice should be covered with a veil, which may always be white.

81. In the sacristy the vestments for the priest and ministers are to be prepared according to the various forms of celebration:

a) for the priest: alb, stole, and chasuble;

b) for the deacon: alb, stole, and dalmatic; the last may be omitted either out of necessity or for less solemnity;

c) for the other ministers: albs or other lawfully approved vestments.

All who wear an alb should use a cincture and an amice, unless other provision is made.

a. Basic Form of the Celebration

Introductory Rites

82. Once the congregation has gathered, the priest and the ministers, clad in their vestments, go to the altar in this order:

a) a server with a lighted censer, if incense is used;

b) the servers, who, according to the occasion, carry lighted candles, and between them the cross-bearer, if the cross is to be carried;

c) acolytes and other ministers;

d) a reader, who may carry the Book of the Gospels;

e) the priest who is to celebrate the Mass.

If incense is used, the priest puts some in the censer before the procession begins.

83. During the procession to the altar the entrance song is sung (see nos. 25-26).

84. On reaching the altar the priest and ministers make the proper reverence, that is, a low bow or, if there is a tabernacle containing the blessed sacrament, a genuflection.

If the cross has been carried in the procession, it is placed near the altar or at some other convenient place; the candles carried by the servers are placed near the altar or on a side table; the Book of Gospels is placed on the altar.

85. The priest goes up to the altar and kisses it. If incense is used, he incenses the altar while circling it.

86. The priest then goes to the chair. After the entrance song, and with all standing, the priest and the faithful make the sign of the cross. The priest says: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; the people answer: Amen.

Then, facing the people and with hands outstretched, the priest greets all present, using one of the formularies indicated. He or some other qualified minister may give the faithful a very brief introduction to the Mass of the day.

87. After the penitential rite, the Kyrie and Gloria are said, in keeping with the rubrics (nos. 30-31). Either the priest or the cantors or even everyone together may begin the Gloria.

88. With his hands joined, the priest then invites the people to pray, saying: Let us pray. All pray silently with the priest for a while. Then the priest with hands outstretched says the opening prayer, at the end of which the people respond: Amen.

Liturgy of the Word

89. After the opening prayer, the reader goes to the lectern for the first reading. All sit and listen and make the acclamation at the end.

90. After the reading, the psalmist or cantor of the psalm, or even the reader, sings or recites the psalm and the congregation sings or recites the response (see no. 36).

91. Then, if there is a second reading before the gospel, the reader reads it at the lectern as before. All sit and listen and make the acclamation at the end.

92. The Alleluia or other chant, according to the season, follows (see nos. 37-39).

93. During the singing of the Alleluia or other chant, if incense is being used, the priest puts some into the censer. Then with hands joined he bows before the altar and inaudibly says the prayer, Almighty God, cleanse my heart.

94. If the Book of Gospels is on the altar, he takes it and goes to the lectern, the servers, who may carry the censer and candles, walking ahead of him.

95. At the lectern the priest opens the book and says: The Lord be with you. Then he says: A reading from . . ., making the sign of the cross with his thumb on the book and on his forehead, mouth and breast. If incense is used, he then incenses the book. After the acclamation of the people, he proclaims the gospel and at the end kisses the book, saying inaudibly: May the words of the gospel wipe away your sins. After the reading the people make the acclamation customary to the region.

96. If no reader is present, the priest himself proclaims all the readings at the lectern and there also, if necessary, the chants between the readings. If incense is used, he puts some into the censer at the lectern and then, bowing, says the prayer, Almighty God, cleanse my heart.

97. The homily is given at the chair or at the lectern.

98. The profession of faith is said by the priest together with the people (see no. 44). At the words by the power of the Holy Spirit, etc. all bow; on the solemnities of the Annunciation and Christmas all kneel.

99. Next, with the people taking their proper part, follow the general intercessions (prayer of the faithful), which the priest directs from his chair or at the lectern (see nos. 45-47).

Liturgy of the Eucharist

100. After the general intercessions, the presentation song begins (see no. 50). The servers place the corporal, purificator, chalice, and missal on the altar.

101. It is fitting for the faithful's participation to be expressed by their presenting both the bread and wine for the celebration of the Eucharist and other gifts to meet the needs of the church and of the poor.

The faithful's offerings are received by the priest, assisted by the ministers, and put in a suitable place; the bread and wine for the Eucharist are taken to the altar.

102. At the altar the priest receives the paten with the bread from a minister,. With both hands he holds it slightly raised above the altar and says the accompanying prayer. Then he places the paten with the bread on the corporal.

103. Next, as a minister presents the cruets, the priest stands at the side of the altar and pours wine and a little water into the chalice, saying the accompanying prayer softly. He returns to the middle of the altar, takes the chalice, raises it a little with both hands, and says the appointed prayer. Then he places the chalice on the corporal and may cover it with a pall.

104. The priest bows and says inaudibly the prayer, Lord God, we ask you to receive.

105. If incense is used, he incenses the gifts and the altar. A minister incenses the priest and the congregation.

106. After the prayer, Lord God, we ask you to receive, or after the incensation, the priest washes his hands at the side of the altar and softly says the prescribed prayer as a minister pours the water.

107. The priest returns to the center and, facing the people and extending the joining his hands, pronounces the invitation: Pray, brothers and sisters. After the people's response, he says the prayer over the gifts with hands outstretched. At the end the people make the acclamation: Amen.

108. The priest then begins the eucharistic prayer. With hands outstretched, he says: The Lord be with you. As he says: Lift up your hearts, he raises his hands; with hands outstretched, he adds: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. When the people have answered, It is right to give Him thanks and praise, the priest continues the preface. At its conclusion, he joins his hands and sings or says aloud with the ministers and people the Sanctus-Benedictus (see no. 55 b).

109. The priest continues the eucharistic prayer according to the rubrics that are given for each of them. If the priest celebrant is a bishop, after the words N. our Pope or the equivalent, he adds: and for me your unworthy servant. The local Ordinary must be mentioned in this way: N. our Bishop (or Vicar, Prelate, Prefect, Abbot). Coadjutor and auxiliary bishops may be mentioned in the eucharistic prayer. When several are named, this is done with the collective formula, N. our bishop and his assistant bishops. [60] All these phrases should be modified grammatically to fit each of the eucharistic prayers.

A little before the consecration, the server may ring a bell as a signal to the faithful. Depending on local custom, he also rings the bell at the showing of both the host and the chalice.

110. After the doxology at the end of the eucharistic prayer, the priest, with hands joined, says the introduction to the Lord's Prayer. With hands outstretched he then sings or says this prayer with the people.

111. After the Lord's Prayer, the priest alone, with hands outstretched, says the embolism, Deliver us. At the end the congregation makes the acclamation, For the kingdom.

112. Then the priest says aloud the prayer, Lord Jesus Christ. After this prayer, extending then joining his hands, he gives the greeting of peace: The peace of the Lord be with you always. The people answer: And also with you. Then the priest may add: Let us offer each other a sign of peace. All exchange some sign of peace and love, according to local custom. The priest may give the sign of peace to the ministers.

113. The priest then takes the eucharistic bread and breaks it over the paten. He places a small piece in the chalice, saying softly: May this mingling. Meanwhile the Agnus Dei is sung or recited by the choir and congregation (see no. 56 e).

114. Then the priest inaudibly says the prayer, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, or Lord Jesus Christ, with faith in your love and mercy.

115. After the prayer the priest genuflects, takes the eucharistic bread, and holding it slightly above the paten while facing the people, says: This is the Lamb of God. With the people he adds, once only: Lord, I am not worthy to receive you.

116. Next, facing the altar, the priest says inaudibly: May the body of Christ bring me everlasting life and reverently consumes the body of Christ. Then he takes the chalice, saying: May the blood of Christ bring me to everlasting life, and reverently drinks the blood of Christ.

117. He then takes the paten or a ciborium and goes to the communicants. If communion is given only under the form of bread, he raises the eucharistic bread slightly and shows it to each one, saying: The body of Christ. The communicants reply: Amen and, holding the communion plate under their chin receive the sacrament.

118. For communion under both kinds, the rite described in nos. 240-252 is followed.

119. The communion song is begun while the priest is receiving the sacrament (see no. 56 i).

120. After communion the priest returns to the altar and collects any remaining particles. Then, standing at the side of the altar or at a side table, he purifies the paten or ciborium over the chalice, then purifies the chalice, saying inaudibly: Lord, may I receive these gifts, etc., and dries it with a purificator. If this is done at the altar, the vessels are taken to a side table by a minister. It is also permitted, especially if there are several vessels to be purified, to leave them, properly covered and on a corporal, either at the altar or at a side table and to purify them after Mass when the people have left.

121. Afterward the priest may return to the chair. A period of silence may now be observed, or a hymn of praise or a psalm may be sung (see no. 56 j).

122. Then, standing at the altar or at the chair and facing the people, the priest says, with hands outstretched: Let us pray. There may be a grief period of silence, unless this has been already observed immediately after communion. He recites the prayer after communion, at the end of which the people make the response: Amen.

Concluding Rites

123. If there are any brief announcements, they may be made at this time.

124. Then the priest, with hands outstretched, greets the people: The Lord be with you. They answer: And also with you. The priest immediately adds: May almighty God bless you and, as he blesses with the sign of the cross , continues: the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All answer: Amen. On certain days and occasions another, more solemn form of blessing or the prayer over the people precedes this form of blessing as the rubrics direct.

Immediately after the blessing, with hands joined, the priest adds: Go in the peace of Christ, or: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord, or: The Mass is ended, go in peace, and the people answer: Thanks be to God.

125. As a rule, the priest then kisses the altar, makes the proper reverence with the ministers, and leaves.

126. If another liturgical service follows the Mass, the concluding rites (greeting, blessing, and dismissal) are omitted.

b. Functions of the Deacon

127. When there is a deacon present to exercise his ministry, the norms in the preceding section apply, with the following exceptions.

In general the deacon: a. assists the priest and walks at his side; b. at the altar, assists with the chalice or the book; c. if there is no other minister present, carries out other ministerial functions as required.

Introductory Rites

128. Vested and carrying the Book of Gospels, the deacon precedes the priest on the way to the altar or else walks at the priest's side.

129. With the priest he makes the proper reverence and goes up to the altar. After placing the Book of the Gospels on it, along with the priest he kisses the altar. If incense is used, he assists the priest in putting some in the censer and in incensing the altar.

130. After the incensing, he goes to the chair with the priest, sits next to him, and assists him as required.

Liturgy of the Word

131. If incense is used, the deacon assists the priest when he puts incense in the censer during the singing of the Alleluia or other chant. Then he bows before the priest and asks for the blessing, saying in a low voice: Father, give me your blessing. The priest blesses him: The Lord be in your heart. The deacon answers: Amen. If the Book of the Gospels is on the altar, he takes it and goes to the lectern; the servers, if there are any, precede, carrying candles and the censer when used. At the lectern the deacon greets the people, incenses the book, and proclaims the gospel. After the reading, he kisses the book, saying inaudibly: May the words of the gospel wipe away our sins, and returns to the priest. If there is no homily or profession of faith, he may remain at the lectern for the general intercessions, but the servers leave.

132. After the priest introduces the general intercessions, the deacon announces the intentions at the lectern or other suitable place.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

133. At the presentation of the gifts, while the priest remains at the chair, the deacon prepares the altar, assisted by other ministers, but the care of the sacred vessels belongs to the deacon. He assists the priest in receiving the people's gifts. Next, he hands the priest the paten with the bread to be consecrated, pours wine and a little water into the chalice, saying inaudibly the prayer, Through the mystery of this water and wine, then passes the chalice to the priest. (He may also prepare the chalice and pour the wine and water at the side table). If incense is used, the deacon assists the priest with the incensing of the gifts and the altar; afterward he, or another minister, incenses the priest and the people.

134. During the eucharistic prayer, the deacon stands near but slightly behind the priest, so that when necessary he may assist the priest with the chalice or the missal.

135. At the final doxology of the eucharistic prayer, the deacon stands next to the priest, holding up the chalice as the priest raises the paten with the eucharistic bread, until the people have said the acclamation: Amen.

136. After the priest has said the prayer for peace and the greeting: The peace of the Lord be with you always, and the people have made the response: And also with you, the deacon may invite all to exchange the sign of peace, saying: Let us offer each other the sign of peace. He himself receives the sign of peace from the priest and may offer it to other ministers near him.

137. After the priest's communion, the deacon receives under both kinds and then assists the priest in giving communion to the people. But if communion is given under both kinds, the deacon ministers the chalice to the communicants and is the last to drink from it.

138. After communion, the deacon returns to the altar with the priest and collects any remaining fragments. He then takes the chalice and other vessels to the side table, where he purifies them and arranges them in the usual way; the priest returns to the chair. But it is permissible to leave the vessels to be purified, properly covered and on a corporal, at a side table and to purify them after Mass, when the people have left.

Concluding Rite

139. Following the prayer after communion, if there are any brief announcements, the deacon may make them, unless the priest prefers to do so himself.

140. After the priest's blessing, the deacon dismisses the people, saying: Go in the peace of Christ, or: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord, or: The Mass is ended, go in peace.

141. Along with the priest, the deacon kisses the altar, makes the proper reverence, and leaves in the manner followed for the entrance procession.

c. Functions of the Acolyte

142. The acolyte may have functions of various kinds and several may occur at the same time. It is therefore desirable that these functions be suitably distributed among several acolytes. But if there is only a single acolyte present, he should perform the more important functions and the rest are distributed among other ministers.

Introductory Rites

143. In the procession to the altar the acolyte may carry the cross, walking between two servers with lighted candles. When he reaches the altar, he places the cross near it and takes his own place in the sanctuary.

144. Throughout the celebration it belongs to the acolyte to go to the priest or the deacon, whenever necessary, in order to present the book to them and to assist them in any other way required. Thus it is appropriate that, if possible, he have a place from which he can conveniently carry out his ministry both at the chair and at the altar.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

145. After the general intercessions, when no deacon is present, the acolyte places the corporal, purificator, chalice, and missal on the altar, while the priest remains at the chair. Then, if necessary, the acolyte assists the priest in receiving the gifts of the people and he may bring the bread and wine to the altar and present them to the priest. If incense is used, the acolyte gives the censer to the priest and assists him in incensing the gifts and the altar.

146. The acolyte may assist the priest as a special minister in giving communion to the people. [61] If communion is given under both kinds, the acolyte ministers the chalice to the communicants or he holds the chalice when communion is given by intinction.

147. After communion, the acolyte helps the priest or deacon to purify and arrange the vessels. If no deacon is present, the acolyte takes the vessels to the side table, where he purifies and arranges them.

d. Functions of the Reader

Introductory Rites

148. In the procession to the altar, when no deacon is present, the reader may carry the Book of the Gospels. In that case he walks in front of the priest; otherwise he walks with the other ministers.

149. Upon reaching the altar, the reader makes the proper reverence along with the priest, goes up to the altar, and places the Book of the Gospels on it. Then he takes his place in the sanctuary with the other ministers.

Liturgy of the Word

150. At the lectern the reader proclaims the readings that precede the gospel. If there is no cantor of the psalm, he may also sing or recite the responsorial psalm after the first reading.

151. After the priest gives the introduction to the general intercessions, the reader may announce the intercessions when no deacon is present.

152. If there is no entrance song or communion song and the antiphons in the Missal are not said by the faithful, the reader recites them at the proper time.

Table of ContentsChapter IV-B. Concelebrated MassesEndnotes

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You are here: Rubrics & Law > Appointments & Architecture > General Instruction of the Roman Missal (4th Edition)  Back one page.

Home | New | FAQ | Search | Forum | Links


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