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Distribution of Communion When a Deacon Is Present

May 2, 2021

Question: On February 20, 1987, the Pontifical Council for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law issued an interpretation of Canon 910 §2 which stated that the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may not exercise his or her function “when ordinary ministers, who are not in any way impeded [qui non sint quoquo modo impediti], are present in the church, though not taking part in the Eucharistic celebration.” An ordinary minister may be impeded if he is not vested, has not been notified that he is to assist in this ministry, or cannot easily approach the sanctuary. In such cases extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are free to exercise their ministry. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) says when a deacon is present at the celebration of the Eucharist, he should exercise his ministry wearing sacred vestments. I've heard some people interpret this very strictly that the deacon, if present, should always vest and assist. Priests I've talked to would rather have an unvested deacon (as an ordinary minister of Holy Communion) assist with distribution as needed, versus an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. If a deacon attends Mass, but is not vested and is called on to distribute Communion, it creates a logistical challenge as to when it would be appropriate to put on an alb and stole.

Venue of a Mass Without a Congregation

April 25, 2021

Q: The Mass must be celebrated in a sacred place, unless in a particular necessity it may be celebrated outside a sacred place. If a priest celebrates Mass without a congregation, may he celebrate it in the sacristy, instead of celebrating it in the church?

Te Deum Services

April 18, 2021

Te Deum Services

Q: I have noticed that in a number of European countries, including those that are not Catholic, there is often a "Te Deum" service to mark a national holiday or another important anniversary. I would assume this naturally involves the singing of the Te Deum, but in the Church is there or has there been a set structure to these ceremonies? In other words, would a Te Deum service be essentially the same in Belgium as it would be in Spain, or the same contours in 1820 as it has in 2020?

Options With Mass and Liturgy of the Hours

April 11, 2021

Q1: When celebrated by a single community (for instance, of religious), should the Liturgy of the Hours and the Mass use the same “option” on days when options are permitted?

Readings for Votive Masses and Those for Various Needs

March 28, 2021

Q: I like to celebrate Masses for various needs and occasions and also votive Masses. According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM): "370. In all the Masses for Various Needs and Occasions, unless expressly indicated otherwise, it is permissible to use the weekday readings and also the chants between them, if they are suited to the celebration. 371. Among Masses of this kind are included Ritual Masses, Masses for Various Needs and Occasions, and Votive Masses.” Where can I find a prohibition to use weekday readings for a particular Mass? In the Roman Missal, the color of the vestments is clearly stated for some days (for example, votive Mass of the Most Holy Eucharist). However, I do not find any indication about the readings. In the lectionary for Masses for various needs and occasions and votive Masses, I find several options for readings for each Mass but no prohibition to use weekday readings.

Baptismal Promises at Easter Dawn Mass

March 21, 2021

Q: I like to know why the current Roman Missal omits the renewal of baptismal promises on the Mass at dawn of Easter Sunday? What is the rationale for this, considering that some people are not able to attend the Easter Vigil ceremonies?

Attendance at Chrism Mass

March 15, 2021

Q: Are all the priests of the diocese obliged to attend/concelebrate at the Chrism Mass to show the unity of the presbyterate?

A: The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) explains the significance of concelebration with the bishop:

Disregard for an Alb at a Priest-Only Mass

March 8, 2021

Q: One of my priest companions does not want to wear the alb when only some priests are present as concelebrants. When students or faithful attend, he does wear one; but I feel that he should not be satisfied with the stole even when only companion priests are present. How can I convince him? I tried but in vain. 

Celebrating Mass Without Candles

March 1, 2021

Q: As an elderly retired priest who offers daily Mass in my apartment, I suffer from severe allergies to fragrances. Burning candles give off a fragrance that causes health problems. Is it permitted to offer Mass not using candles? 

Communion After a Livestreamed Mass

February 17, 2021

Q: I am confused and somewhat concerned about watching a virtual Mass on television or a computer, and then driving by one’s parish to receive Communion. Are there Church documents, or is there a precedent to support this practice?

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