First Holy Communion

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: My pastoral assistant wants the first Holy Communion children to be involved in the Mass and has suggested they sing a song for the penitential act.  I’ll introduce it as normal, Dear Brothers etc then a song sung by the kids. It seems lengthy to me. It’s a Sunday Mass. Is this appropriate or too much?  They’re doing thank you prayers, the readings and an agnus dei which everyone can join in on. == A: The Directory for Masses with Children gives considerable flexibility that permits this. See #40, for example. But it’s in the chapter of Masses with …

Parish patronal day

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Parish Patronal day (usually occurring on a weekday)…Feast or Solemnity?…I would presume that the answer would indicate whether the Creed is used, or omitted… == A: It depends. The proper solemnity is the date associated with the title of the church at its dedication. Some parishes have regrouped since dedication and are known by other names. But the title of the church never changes. If the parish patron is the title, then the date is observed as a solemnity. If not, it may be a feast.

Dismissing children at Mass

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Forgive me if you’ve answered this previously. How should I send the children to their liturgy in the hall? At present, so as not to disrupt the Mass, I have them join in behind me at the procession and as I walk up to the Altar I hand the book over and then carry on as normal. It feels cumbersome and I don’t like them going before the collect but everything else seems disruptive. Please help? == A: The Directory for Masses with Children allows children to join the entrance procession (34). They may be dismissed for their own …

Who sings the Exsultet?

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I know this is a bit late for this season, so we will file it under “for future reference.” If a parish has multiple deacons, does the Exsultet have to be done by the same deacon who processes with the Paschal Candle? As usual, thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge. == A: No, the Exsultet may be sung by anyone, even a layperson, and deacons may divide their roles as they see fit. See GIRM 109.

Liturgy of the Hours

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Are there any instructions pertaining to posture in the Liturgy of the Hours? == A: Only when recited in common. You can find them in the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours in paragraphs 259 and 263. The only postures are sitting and standing. There are no directions pertaining to kneeling or bowing. Instructions about the sign of the cross are at paragraph 266.

The pre-conciliar Mass

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Could you point me in the direction of solid reasoning and scholarship behind such things as special priest chalices, chalice veils, fiddle-back vestments, reserving some fingers after the consecration, treating the sign of peace as optional, favoring Eucharistic Prayer I, really favoring Latin language, etc. Clearly some of this comes from a rejection of the insights and policies of Vat II, but there must be people with respect for the church and ecumenical councils who are writing and reasoning. == A: A colleague of mine recommended Nothing Superfluous to help me appreciate the appeal of the pre-conciliar Mass and its practices. …

Introductory formula

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I hope this email finds you well. I may have previously asked you this question, so I apologize if it is a repeat. In teaching a group of young people (under the age of 12) in how to lead communal prayer, and wanting them to have an experience of leading prayer, would it be appropriate to offer the following dialogue as an option for an introductory formula, since it is not liturgy? Aren’t these words biblical? So is it appropriate for laity, outside of a church setting, not in a liturgy, to use this or not?Thank you so much! …

GIRM 31

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: What’s allowed to be prayed or used in a presider binder and what has to be said from the Roman Missal? I have found it varies from pastor to pastor or from priest to priest. With setting up the presider binders for the Triduum this year and watching Masses on livestream from various churches, it’s made me wonder what is required and what’s a personal preference? Thank you! == A: GIRM 31 allows the priest to use his own words in certain parts of the Mass. He may also compose the beginning and end of the Universal Prayer. For …

Sign of peace

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I was taught that the option communicated the rubric in the Sacramentary / Roman Missal that says the deacon or priest MAY invite the assemble to exchange the Kiss of Peace has to do with the invitation, not the ritual act. As I understood it, the rite would always take place. The invitation might take place, but was not required. It this a reasonable and general understanding of the rubric? == A: I think it’s a stretch. In truth, the words “if appropriate” apply to the invitation. But I think the idea is that action only follows when the …

Placement of hands during presidential prayers

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I have noticed a wide variety of placement of hands for priests during presidential prayers at Mass. These range from unmoving shoulder-width, fingers together, palms facing placements—to hands just above the altar, palms up—to arms wide outstretched. Is there any placement that is more traditional for the Roman Rite that another? == A: Images from catacombs show people at prayer with arms extended to the side, hands lifted up. It’s safe to presume that this was the gesture that gave birth to the instructions for the priest when praying at Mass. Prior to the reforms, the Roman Missal gave …