Use of a Second Ambo

May 10, 2024

Question: Can you please comment on the validity of using an "extra lectern" to function like a "second ambo" for functions that are normally executed on the ambo (or lectern, if ambo is not present), e.g. proclamation of readings by designated lectors? And does this practice not destroy the symbolic meaning of the ambo as the "altar of the Word"? 

Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost

May 5, 2024

Question: You mentioned in your first discussion [on the use of Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost] that “Ghost” derives from German, Geist, whereas “Spirit” directly derives from Latin. It has always puzzled me that some traditional Catholics oppose the change of usage. I would think it would be applauded. However, it does create a paradox in the naming of the Third Person of the Trinity, with “Holy” coming from German, heilige, and “Spirit” from Latin. Perhaps consistency is the argument still in play. -- C.D., Alabama

The Host at and After the Fraction

April 28, 2024

Question: The Order of the Mass 132 says that “The priest genuflects, takes the host and, holding it slightly raised above the paten or above the chalice, while facing the people, says aloud: ‘Behold the Lamb of God .…’” In practice, many priests reassemble the two parts of the broken host and hold it up as if nothing had happened to it. Having split the host in half and then broken a particle into the chalice, they hold the two remaining parts together and conceal the missing area with their fingers. 1) Is it allowed, instead of breaking the host with one’s hands, to use the paten to cut the host which is put on the corporal? 2) Is there a need to put back together the two parts of the broken host, and to conceal the missing area with the fingers, in order to show it to the people? Or should the two parts be shown as such to indicate that they were really broken? Otherwise, does it make sense to break the host if after that we must show it as if it was not broken? -- F.X.K., Ndola, Zambia

The Double ‘Alleluia’

April 21, 2024

Question: On Easter and Divine Mercy Sundays we sing the Alleluia at the dismissal at the end of Mass. I had a priest tell me that when the dismissal is recited for the remaining weeks of Easter it concludes, “Alleluia, Alleluia” (not actually sung). So, it might be, "Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life. Alleluia. Alleluia.'” This would end on Pentecost Sunday. I would appreciate a clarification to settle this matter. -- T.O., Mantua Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey

An Unlit Paschal Candle

April 14, 2024

Question: Some churches here in the Easter season keep the paschal candle unlit from the start of the Mass up until the time when the priest proceeds to ambo to read the Gospel, at which point an altar server comes out to light the candle. I cannot find any such specific instruction in the Roman Missal or the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM). Can you comment on the validity of this practice? Also, we also noted the priest incensing the still-unlit paschal candle in the beginning of the Mass just after he venerated the altar. May an unlit paschal candle be incensed during Mass? -- M.S., Philippines

Mandates for Confirmations by Priests

April 7, 2024

Question: Most of the time, there are baptisms of adults at the Easter vigil Mass. Does the parish priest (pastor) need a mandate from the bishop to confirm adults? If, in the course of the year, a couple is planning to get married and the parish priest discovers that one or both of them were not confirmed, can he confirm them, or must he wait for the bishop’s visit for them to be confirmed? -- F.X.N.K., Ndola, Zambia

Homilist on Holy Thursday and Good Friday

March 23, 2024

Question: For Good Friday and Holy Thursday, the Roman Missal states the priest gives the homily. Does the priest have the option to delegate the homily to a deacon on these days? I've seen some information that one of the reasons it may say this explicitly is that since Good Friday isn't a Mass, this directive avoids the potential of the homily being delegated to a layperson. -- G.P., Ann Arbor, Michigan

Red Chasuble on Good Friday

March 17, 2024

Question: The Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts, “Paschale Solemnitatis,” says in No. 59 concerning Good Friday that “On this day, in accordance with ancient tradition, the Church does not celebrate the Eucharist.” However, the rubric 5 in the Roman Missal for the Good Friday says that “The Priest and the Deacon, if a deacon is present, wearing red vestment as for Mass .…” Why is there a red chasuble used as for Mass, while there is no Mass? Can’t a priest and deacon simply wear stoles or the cope? – F.N.K., Diocese of Ndola, Zambia

Candles, the Gospel, and the Easter Vigil

March 9, 2024

Question: The rubrics on Easter vigil Mass, No. 35, says: "At the Gospel lights are not carried, but only incense." Does this instruction apply during all the Masses of Easter season, or is it only for the Easter vigil? -- G.O., Orlu, Nigeria

Veneration of the Cross

March 2, 2024

Question: We have a large, fixed crucifix in the front of our community’s chapel. We cover it with a violet veil after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. A different large crucifix is used for the Veneration of the Cross on Good Friday, and after the liturgy on that day, it remains in front of the altar with lit candles for the rest of the day; and we genuflect to it, as specified in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal [GIRM] 274. Based on the directions for U.S. dioceses (given in the missals published here under the heading for the Fifth Sunday of Lent) that “crosses remain covered until the end of the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion,” I assume that our fixed chapel crucifix should be uncovered without ceremony after the Good Friday liturgy has ended. (1) Is this correct – that all crosses, not just the one used for veneration, should be uncovered by late Friday? Also, our practice has been to remove the cross used for veneration at the end of the day on Good Friday, and not to leave it displayed, with candles, etc., on Holy Saturday. (2) Is this correct/permissible? And (3) would we continue to genuflect, now to the fixed crucifix in the sanctuary, on Holy Saturday, or does this genuflection only apply to the cross used for veneration? -- P.T., Michigan

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