Changing from the Cope to the Chasuble

February 25, 2024

Question: On Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion a celebrant may wear a cope for the first part of the Mass, the procession. Upon the celebrant’s reaching the sanctuary, the cope is replaced with the chasuble. Is there a precedent for the celebrant to unfasten the cope and let it fall to the ground? The servers are specifically instructed not to move the fallen cope, but to let it remain on the floor for the remainder of the Mass. To me, it smacks of "cheap theatrics," but perhaps there is some basis in liturgical practice or history that I am not aware of. -- V.S., Montgomery, Alabama

Memorized Readings at Mass

February 18, 2024

Question: Is there a Church position for lectors on delivering a "memorized" Sunday reading? The discussions on several websites vacillate between pros and cons but nothing definitive. -- M.N., Brampton, Ontario

Tinkering With the Texts of the Mass

February 10, 2024

Question: I have questions related to an earlier column from January 2023. A youth ministry has successfully incorporated musical scores by noted authors for the entire Mass with the approval of the local bishop. However, these scores foresee the use of musical instruments during moments, such as the singing of the consecration, where the use of instruments is forbidden in the missal. Also, some of these scores are tied to the previous translation of the Roman Missal and have been mixed with the current texts; for example, singing the preface of the old translations and the rest of the Eucharistic Prayer from the new. Are these procedures correct? -- M.A.S., Philippines

Humeral Veils; Fratres in the Confiteor

February 3, 2024

Question: My two questions are not really related but they are part of the liturgical concerns of many of us. 1) Can you share with us the history of the humeral veil, and tell us if it can be used also to hold the Book of the Gospels during the entrance procession and during the procession with the book before the Gospel proclamation? 2) In the Confiteor, we say “I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters." Are we supposed to always say “brothers and sisters” even in the homogenous communities of religious sisters or religious brothers or in the seminary? If one of the words (“brothers” or “sisters”) was in parenthesis, for example, it could be easy to say, depending on the situation. But the way they are, shall we choose one of the two according to the situation? -- F.X.K., Ndola, Zambia

Norms for Extraordinary Ministers

January 28, 2024

Question: Years ago, when an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion was given a pyx during Mass, to bring Communion to the homebound, he would immediately leave Mass with the pyx and not stop to speak to anyone. Is this the current guideline? That is, after Communion when he receives the pyx, should he leave (be commissioned) for the assisted-living facility, or remain and leave after Mass? Are there guidelines? -- V.S., Mountain Lakes, New Jersey

Mentioning Saint Joseph in the Eucharistic Prayers

January 20, 2024

Question: Do you know why “and blessed Joseph, her Spouse” was not included in the Eucharistic Prayers for Reconciliation and for Various Needs? It seems like an omission. Many priests include it anyway. -- O.K., Potomac, Maryland

Masses for One Deceased Person

January 13, 2024

Question: Could you explain why the Church allows a Mass to be offered for only one deceased person? In my parish church, the list is so filled up even until next year. A very close relative died in another country, and my way of easing the pain is to have a Mass said for him that my friends and I could also attend, but my request was denied. I am aware that there are churches that I could send a stipend for Mass remembrances. -- D.B., Arvada, Colorado

Masses for the Dead

January 6, 2024

Question: I have questions about Masses for the dead. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) says: “380. Among the Masses for the Dead, the Funeral Mass holds first place. It may be celebrated on any day except for Solemnities that are Holydays of Obligation, Thursday of Holy Week (Holy Thursday), the Paschal Triduum, and the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter, with due regard also for all the other requirements of the norm of the law. 381. A Mass for the Dead, on receiving the news of a death, for the final burial, or the first anniversary, may be celebrated even on days within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas), on days when an Obligatory Memorial occurs, and on weekdays other than Ash Wednesday or the weekdays of Holy Week. Other Masses for the Dead or ‘daily’ Masses, may be celebrated on weekdays in Ordinary Time on which Optional Memorials occur or when the Office is of the weekday, provided such Masses are actually applied for the dead.” What is the difference between the funeral Mass (380) and the Mass for the final burial (381)? There are texts for the funeral Mass, but none for the Mass for the final burial, so what Mass formulary should be used for that? Also, what does this mean: “provided such Masses are actually applied for the dead”? -- O.K., Potomac, Maryland


Use of the Maniple and Biretta

December 24, 2023

Question: A seminarian told me that the use of the maniple and biretta was never abrogated; therefore, both can be used at the Novus Ordo Mass. Is this true? If so, at what parts of Mass should the priest (and deacon) wear the biretta and maniple? If the use of the biretta and maniple is not allowed, why? The same seminarian told me that, in the Novus Ordo, daily Masses are like Low Masses, implying that Sunday Mass is like a High Mass. He said because the daily Mass was like a Low Mass, we didn't need to use the cross in the entrance procession. Is it true that the processional cross can be omitted if there is a lesser degree of solemnity? Is the entrance procession optional? I ask because the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), No. 119, seems to suggest the possibility of no entrance procession. As an altar server, I wear an alb. The GIRM says that if the alb does not cover the ordinary clothing at the neck, an amice should be used (No. 336). When I put on the alb, only a small amount of my collared shirt shows at the neck. Must I wear an amice? Also, if the priest is wearing his clerical collar under his alb, should he cover it with the amice? -- D.A., Mesa, Arizona

Placement of Relics at an Altar

December 16, 2023

Question: I read some of your answers as well as the Ceremonial of Bishops regarding the display of relics. However, I am unable to find any liturgical documentation on reliquaries that are placed to the front of and under an already erected altar. These containers are always sitting on the floor of a chapel and visible to the faithful, especially during Mass. Could you kindly provide some guidance on that for me please? -- R.J., Orlando, Florida

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