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Toward Post-COVID Normality

April 3, 2022

Question: For dioceses who have restricted the option of receiving Communion on the tongue at Mass since the start of COVID, is there anything in Church law or canon law that will ensure this restriction won’t be kept in place permanently? -- T.B., Courtenay, British Columbia

Commemorations in Lent

March 26, 2022

Question: The Ordo states that all memorials of saints are optional in the Lenten season. However, the General Calendar at the beginning of the Roman Missal has the commemoration of Saints Perpetua and Felicity as an obligatory memorial (the only one in the entire month of March). The prayers are unique as well, with proper antiphons, prayer over the offerings, and prayer after communion. I think the Ordo used to give red as the color of the vestments, but now it is violet. So, is this in fact the one exception? In which case, would red vestments be appropriate? -- M.W., San Francisco, California

Lenten Prayer Over the People

March 19, 2022

Question: Is this the correct order (as the rubrics don’t seem to specify) for the concluding rite at Mass?

─ “The Lord be with you” ...

─ Prayer over the Faithful (during Lent)

─ “Bow down for the blessing” (said by a deacon or the principal celebrant or concelebrant)

─ Solemn blessing (if applicable)

─ “May almighty God bless you ….”

─ “The Mass is ended ….” (can this be said or sung by a concelebrant, according to the norm that concelebrants take the place of a deacon if there is none?) -- A.K., South Bend, Indiana

The Choir at the Consecration

March 13, 2022

Question: At our church, the choir cannot kneel during the consecration because we stand on risers in the choir loft during the Mass. I am wondering if it is preferable for us to stand or to sit during the consecration. It seems odd to remain standing while the congregation kneels, but perhaps it is the right thing to do. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) is not entirely clear (or at least I’m not clear) since it does not say something like “those who cannot kneel should ….” It states only that those who do not kneel should profoundly bow. – L.G., Beaufort, South Carolina

Placement of Chalice Before the Mass

March 6, 2022

Question: Are there any documents that support placing the chalice with a chalice veil and burse on the altar prior to Mass? The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) provides direction to have the chalice placed on the credence table, but perhaps it doesn’t foresee the use of a beautiful veil and burse in the Novus Ordo. What is the obligation here? -- G.P., Ann Arbor, Michigan

Roles of Instituted Acolyte at Mass

February 27, 2022

Question: I write to inquire regarding the role of an instituted acolyte and that of a deacon within the celebration of the liturgy. Is there any difference between their ministries in terms of their proper function during the Mass? I observed here in our diocese that those who are already in their pre-diaconal years, which I believe they have been instituted as an acolyte, (1) carry the Book of the Gospels during the processional in the absence of a deacon even if there's a lector present and (2) incense the priest at the preparation of the gifts. Are these two observations valid in the performance of their function in the liturgy? Or are they "pre-empting" their role as deacons? -- P.H.B., Naga, Camarines Sur province, Philippines

Forgiveness for Non-Catholics

February 15, 2022

Question: Our diocesan newspaper, The Evangelist, has a section titled "Question Box" where a variety of questions are asked and liturgically correct answers are given. Last year a reader asked, “How are non-Catholics forgiven?” and the answer was somewhat lacking in details for most non-Catholic religions. When I read the question, I was curious about the answer since my wife is not a Catholic and does not believe in confession, but believes that her sins are forgiven as part of the Mass. If possible, could you let me and others know the Catholic Church's answer to this question? -- T.K., Porter Corners, New York

Dedications and Blessings of Altars

February 6, 2022

Q: The consecration of an altar is the responsibility of the bishop. But what is the current nomenclature used when he delegates a priest to carry out the task? There are a number of altar stones that have been damaged and, after having been repaired, require re-consecration. In addition, a new altar requires consecration. The chancery delegated the task to me, a priest. (Continue Reading)

Presider’s Tone of Voice

January 30, 2022

Q: How should the words of the Mass said aloud by the priest celebrant be uttered? In an expressive tone, or an expressionless tone? Should the words be said in such a way that the meaning of the words is enhanced by varied emphasis or tone of voice, or not? I am asking about Mass said in English; the question occurs because at Masses said in Latin that I have attended the words are said in an expressionless tone. The question affects the liturgical nature of the relationship between the celebrant and the congregation. – P.R., Adelaide, Australia

Where to Place the Collection Money

January 23, 2022

Q: Please offer an interpretation and explanation of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 73, where the offering of money (i.e., the collection) is to be placed "in a suitable place away from the Eucharistic table." I recently discussed this with a priest, and his interpretation is that it shouldn't be placed on top of the altar. But I think if we understand the reason for the rule, then we will understand how far away from the altar. I am thinking "away" in this case would be at least 5 feet, that it shouldn't seem as though we are "purchasing" the Eucharist. -- J.S., California

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