Reuse of Old Graves

April 30, 2022

Question: In this country, there have been several proposals to modify the law regarding the reuse of old graves. Is there any Catholic teaching on reusing graves in which Catholics are buried on which we should base any considerations or representations to civil authorities? -- P.B., Twickenham, United Kingdom

Faulty Baptism at an Easter Vigil

April 23, 2022

Question: Last year at an Easter vigil Mass I witnessed a very odd liturgical practice and would like to inquire about its validity. An adult catechumen was baptized with the parish priest pouring water three times on his head, while a concelebrant pronounced the sacramental formula of baptism. I think that this way of practicing baptism was invented because the said concelebrant instructed the catechumen, but was elderly, sickly, and with a rather unsteady hand. Although I appreciate that it was thought fraternal to involve this elderly priest in some way, I remember the episode in the U.S. where those who were baptized by the deacon or priest who used the plural form “We” had to redo all the sacraments since the baptism was invalid. Here, the formula was in the singular person, but as a matter of fact, there were two celebrants of the sacraments, each taking an essential part of the act. What are we to make of such a situation? If it was in any way irregular, what remedy should now be given? -- F.J., Taiwan

Order in Liturgical Processions

April 9, 2022

Question: What is the place of the choir in a procession, especially for Palm Sunday and Holy Thursday? Do they follow immediately the bishop before the faithful? Also, what is the place of religious and military orders such as the Order of the Holy Sepulcher? -- C.V., Jerusalem

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

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