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

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

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