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Folded Hands at Reading of the Gospel

May 22, 2022

Question: I would like to know why it is that when a priest or deacon proclaims the Gospel he does so with "folded hands." What is the significance of introducing the Gospel without extending the hands? In the seminary, we were not taught about this. Hence today many priests and deacons (including bishops) extend their hands when proclaiming the Gospel. ─ G.V.D., Pretoria, South Africa

Baptism When Euthanasia Looms

May 15, 2022

Question: Here in Canada, euthanasia is legal – it is called medical assistance in dying. If a Catholic layperson is in the presence of someone who is about to be euthanized (death is imminent but still avoidable), would he be permitted to baptize the person who is about to die if the person requests it? -- T.B., Courtenay, British Columbia

Alternate Masses in Easter Season

May 8, 2022

Question: Are optional memorials and memorials celebrated during Easter week? For example, in the fourth week of Easter can we celebrate the optional memorials given there for saints and Our Lady of Fatima? – A.O., Savannah, Georgia

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

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