Covering crosses on Palm Sunday

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Q:  The rubrics for the 5th Sunday of Lent provide the option of veiling crosses and statues. The crosses are unveiled on Good Friday and the images unveiled before the Vigil.   If a parish chooses to cover crosses, how does this take into consideration the rubric for Palm Sunday that states the processional cross should be decorated? A:  There is no clear answer to this from the rubrics, so one has to use one’s judgment. The veiling of crosses and statues is optional, even if the conference of bishops permits it. (The US Conference does.) It would also be …

Scrutinies explained

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Q:  I’m writing to ask you a favor on behalf of a student of mine in the seminary.  He’s trying to write a paper for his Sacraments of Initiation class on exorcisms and the scrutinies and asked me where he might find them explained in a more detail. Would you have any suggested resources that this student might check out?  Perhaps something of your own writing?  Any thoughts you may have, Paul, would be greatly appreciated. A:  I’ve treated scrutinies in my book Celebrating Initiation: A Guide for Priests. I have a historical overview of all the rites in The …

Can a deacon baptize at the vigil?

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Q:  One of our pastors has been very ill, in the hospital, for the past month or so. He is just now recovering, and is planning to celebrate the Easter Vigil for his parish community. He would like to know if it would be allowed for one of his deacons to baptize the elect, and then HE (the pastor) will confirm those folks immediately at the same liturgy. It is an issue of conserving his energy, I believe. Is this allowed? I confess I’m very unsure, but I am assuming it is NOT.  Your assistance is much appreciated. A:  The …

Go in Peace, Alleluia

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Q:  When would we stop saying the Mass is ended go in Peace, Alleluia (3x)? I see other Deacons stop at first two weeks. A:  You add 2 alleluias to the dismissal on the Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday, and every day during the octave of Easter, as well as on the Second Sunday of Easter. Then the double alleluia is omitted until Pentecost. You use it again for the Pentecost Vigil and Pentecost Sunday for the last time.

Is venial sin forgiven at mass?

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Q:  I recently attended a diocesan training where it was said twice that sin is not forgiven in the Mass. This is contrary to what I have been taught, that venial sin is forgiven in the Mass. So either my priest is wrong or the speaker was wrong. The speaker was unable to provide resources due to time constraints. As I’m in the midst of all things RCIA, and unable to follow up with either the priest or speaker, your name came to mind.  CCC 1416 Communion with the Body and Blood of Christ increases the communicant’s union with the Lord, forgives his venial …

Easter Vigil Question on 49 and 55

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Q: I have an Easter Vigil question, on nos. 49 & 55. We have a father & son (sophomore in our school) receiving the Sacraments of Initiation. I know two people isn’t a large number but how can we do the renunciation/promises once or combine these 2 parts, to avoid quasi-redundancy? Can we do this? And if so how? I ask since the abbot & I have early Masses on Sunday, I’m mindful of the hour! Yes it’s the Easter Vigil, but…  And after the assembly is sprinkled, the Confirmation occurs, followed by the prayer of the faithful? I’ve reviewed the rubrics …

Baptisms in Lent

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Q. Are infant baptisms allowed during Lent? A. Yes. Some parishes discourage them, but a child should be baptized within a few weeks after birth if possible. The only days we are not allowed to baptize are the weekdays of Holy Week.

Candles at Easter

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Q. Candles are not supposed to be carried in the gospel procession for the Easter Vigil.  Does that apply to Easter Sunday and the Easter season as well? A. No. Candles in the gospel procession are never obligatory.  They are always optional, except on Palm Sunday and Good Friday when the Passion is read, and at the Easter Vigil when the paschal candle has been set into place.  

Feast of the Presentation

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Q:  I just returned from the Holy Land–it was a wonderful trip, very enlightening.  Now that I am more aware of the topography of the land and the distance between the various towns, villages and cities, I have a question that concerns today’s Feast of the Presentation. The gospel says, now that they have completed the days of purification, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem to the temple……. First, going back to his birth we know he was born in Bethlehem. Second, we are told that the angel appeared to Joseph and then they fled Bethlehem and went to …

Scrutinies and Readings

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Q:  When the Scrutinies are celebrated in Years B and C, do all the Cycle A readings need to be used or only the Gospel?  The Missal and Lectionary mention only the gospel, but I was taught that the readings were to be used as a group. A:  Only the Gospel. That’s how I interpret the missal. Q:  I received this opposite answer from another liturgist, based on RCIA #146: “the readings with their chants are those given for the three Sundays in the Lectionary for Mass, Year A” as well as LM #745, 746, 747:  “The readings and chants are always taken” …