Q: Several deacons from various diocese are discussing what a group of deacons at Mass should be doing if they are not assisting at the Mass. If the deacons are sitting as a group in stole and dalmatic should they in some way echo what the deacons that are assisting at Mass are doing? Should we bow when they bow, kneel when they kneel, stand when they stand, etc…. Or are we members of the congregation and do as the laity in the pews are doing?
A: When the Ceremonial of Bishops speaks of additional deacons, it says that “they should divide the ministries accordingly” (26). I take this to mean that when the number is more than can logically be divided, they take the postures of other deacons.
When a deacon bows to receive the blessing before proclaiming the gospel, he alone bows, of course. But when the deacons kneel for the consecration, it would be fitting for other vested deacons to do the same.
Remember that in the universal GIRM, everyone takes the same postures the deacons do. Only in the United States do the people kneel earlier than the deacons. Only in the United States do deacons stand before the people. The GIRM never envisioned it that way.