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

Respecting a Communion Fast in the East

January 16, 2022

Q: If I were to go to an Eastern Catholic Church and receive communion, would it be wise to follow their fasting rules? If an Eastern Church has a three-hour fasting rule, am I as a Latin only obligated to fast for one hour since I'm bound to my rite? I think the courteous thing is to do it their way out of respect for their tradition. – S., Newport, New Hampshire

Deacon Stole Over the Left Shoulder

January 8, 2022

Question: Why is the deacon’s stole worn over the left shoulder and not the right? Usually, military cords and Sam Browne belts are worn over the right shoulder. – Z.C., United Kingdom

The Names in the Roman Canon

January 2, 2022

Question: Why are the apostles and specific martyrs listed in the Roman Canon and not others? Is there any rationale for the order in which they are listed? -- P.S., Littleton, Colorado

5th Candle in the Advent Wreath

December 19, 2021

Question: Regarding the Advent wreath: It seems that some churches use a fifth candle at the Christmas liturgy to represent Christ. I couldn’t tell if it was the paschal candle. Is this a correct use? -- C.U., Moorpark, California

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