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

Office of Readings With Midnight Mass

December 12, 2021

Q: As a priest praying the Liturgy of the Hours, I'm always struck by the rubric that allows for a longer, more solemn celebration of the Mass at Midnight for Christmas by combining the Office of Readings with Midnight Mass. In a practical sense, how exactly would you go about doing this? I would like to try implementing this solemn liturgy in my parish at some point. Paragraph 98 of the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours speaks about starting Mass with the Gloria immediately following the second reading and responsory of the Office. However, this would leave out the Te Deum, which seems to be rather integral to the Office of Readings on one of the principal celebrations of the year. I tried looking in Peter Elliott's book, Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year, but he merely mentions the possibility without going into anything practical, and seems to prefer celebrating the Office of Readings immediately prior to and separate from Mass without combining the two. Furthermore, where would you put the Christmas Proclamation from the Roman Martyrology in such a celebration? Again, Peter Elliott suggests putting it after the second reading and verse, but before the Te Deum. What would you suggest? -- M.S., Rome

Elevation of the Consecrated Host

December 5, 2021

Q: I have three questions. 1) I've noticed a priest tends to take a long time during the elevation, or showing, of the consecrated host, and then when he genuflects, he takes a long time on his knee. How long should the elevation of the host and chalice take? Are there any indications on what is dignified and what is an exaggerated length of time? 2) I've noticed celebrants and concelebrants bowing to the altar or the consecrated species each time they approach and retreat from the altar during the Liturgy of the Eucharist when, for example, they must say a part of the Eucharistic Prayer, or move out of the way for a concelebrant to approach to read from the altar missal, or to prepare the altar or tidy up what is on the altar: missal, corporal, etc. The Roman Missal indicates a bow when passing in front (or behind) the altar, but not when moving to and from it (e.g., from and back to the credence table), or moving closer or moving back a little for the reading I just mentioned. 3) There seem to be no rubrics on genuflection when removing the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle in a reservation chapel and bringing it to the altar during Mass. Is it sufficient to genuflect just before opening the tabernacle door and then simply uncover the ciborium, go to the altar, place the ciborium on the corporal, and step back if you are an assisting minister? -- F.R., Rome

Communion After Mass

November 28, 2021

Q: I would like you to help me with this liturgical doubt. This is the situation: A faithful attends Mass without receiving Communion. After Mass, this faithful asks for confession and, after receiving the sacrament of reconciliation, asks the priest to give him or her Communion. It is my understanding that in this particular case, it is not necessary to follow all the rites indicated in the “Rite of Distributing Holy Communion Outside Mass. The Short Rite with the Celebration of the Word” (Nos. 42-53 of “Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass”: Introductory Rites, Short Form of the Reading of the Word, Holy Communion and Concluding Rites). I think it would be sufficient to show the host to the communicant and say, “The body of Christ,” because all the rites have been already observed in the Mass that has been celebrated some minutes ago. However, I have seen a priest following all the steps indicated in the rite in a similar situation. -- D.A., Granada, Spain

A Lapse in the Formula of Absolution

November 21, 2021

Question: I recently made a confession (of mortal sins) where the priest used the full absolution formula, but instead of saying, "I absolve you FROM your sins ...," he said, "I absolve you OF your sins ..." Do I need to redo this confession? Last year's story of the priest in the Archdiocese of Detroit who found out he was never validly baptized because the deacon said, "WE baptize you" instead of "I baptize you" has me concerned. -- J.P., New Jersey

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