Bows at Incensations

September 25, 2022

Question: Why does the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) 277 specifically state the following? "Before and after an incensation, a profound bow is made to the person or object that is incensed, except for the altar and the offerings for the Sacrifice of the Mass." -- M.A.S., Iloilo City, Philippines

Blessings Before Reading the Gospel

September 18, 2022

Question: Should a concelebrating priest at a Mass in which the bishop is the chief celebrant receive the blessing from the bishop before reading the Gospel like a deacon? -- G.O., Imo State, Nigeria

Roots of the Nicene Creed

September 11, 2022

Question: When was the Nicene Creed added to the Roman liturgy? – R.S., United States

Sign of the Cross at Final Blessing

September 4, 2022

Q: One priest here in our archdiocese instructed his flock not to make the sign of the cross (on themselves) as the presider blesses the people with the gesture of blessing (+). He instructed the people to, instead, make a bow of the head as the presider makes the said gesture while pronouncing the words of the final blessing, for instance: “May Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, (+) and the Holy Spirit.” This is his reasoning:

Handling of the Lectionary at Mass

August 28, 2022

Question: When the Gospel is proclaimed at Mass using the lectionary (not the Book of the Gospels), is it appropriate for the presiding bishop to bless the people with the lectionary? What sources are available to support the right position on this matter? -- M.B., Abuja, Nigeria

Standing at the Gospel Acclamation

August 20, 2022

Question: I am a member of our diocesan commission on liturgy. We recently talked about the posture of the concelebrants at the Gospel acclamation. The general practice is that the concelebrants stand only when the principal celebrant (a presbyter) stands and remain seated if the principal celebrant is still seated (i.e., imposing incense or giving the blessing to the deacon). The crux of this inquiry is at times when a bishop is the celebrant. We discussed whether it is appropriate or not for the concelebrants to sit with the bishop while he does the imposition of incense and blessing of the deacon (or concelebrant) because they only stand when the bishop stands. We are of the opinion that the concelebrants should stand with the faithful if the main celebrant is a bishop. What are your thoughts about this? What is the proper posture of concelebrants during the Gospel acclamation when the principal celebrant is: a) a presbyter; or b) a bishop? -- D.A., Philippines

Anointing for Non-Catholic Christians

August 14, 2022

Question: Are non-Catholics permitted to receive the sacrament of anointing of the sick? --T.B., Courtenay, British Columbia

Bows to Altar When the Tabernacle Is Nearby

July 24, 2022

Question: I am a bit confused about the way the veneration of the altar is happening here in Zambia at the beginning and the end of the Mass. I know that, according to the GIRM, Nos. 49 and 122, "When they reach the altar, the Priest and ministers make a profound bow." I suppose that this is in case where there is no tabernacle in the sanctuary, since No. 274 states, “If, however, the tabernacle with the Most Blessed Sacrament is situated in the sanctuary, the Priest, the Deacon, and the other ministers genuflect when they approach the altar and when they depart from it.” Does this mean that when the tabernacle is in the sanctuary, the profound bow is still maintained because the altar is always there? Or it should be only the genuflection without the profound bow? Here, in most of our parishes, we do both (profound bow and genuflection), and I was told that it is because there is an altar and a tabernacle. I can’t find this explanation in the GIRM, and I find this double veneration too bulky. Could you enlighten us? – M.A., Ndola Diocese, Zambia

Bows to Book of the Gospels

July 17, 2022

Question: In one parish here, as the lector carries the Book of the Gospels during the entrance procession and as the priest or deacon carries the Book of Gospels from the altar to the ambo during the Gospel acclamation (the Alleluia), the faithful in the congregation make a profound bow to the Book of the Gospels while it is still being raised slightly and return to erect posture once the book is laid down. I do not see any explicit provision in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) that either allows or prohibits this practice of bowing to the Book of the Gospels by the faithful of the congregation. Is this practice allowed in the Roman rite? -- M.S., Philippines

More on Purification of Vessels

July 10, 2022

Question: This is a follow-up to the question-and-answer last week regarding deacons purifying vessels at the altar or credence table. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 183, was referenced in your response. I wonder if the 2004 instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum could also inform the answer, though I know it pre-dates the GIRM. 

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