In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Our deacon group has been discussing whether a deacon should lead the Confiteor as part of the Penitential Rite. We have been told different things by different priests. The Roman Missal gives several options for the Penitential Rite, the Confiteor being option 1 (paragraph 4). Paragraphs 4 and 5 have the “priest… saying…”. It isn’t until you get to paragraph 6 that it says “the priest or the deacon…”. 

So, what is the proper interpretation? Should the deacon lead the Confiteor or not? And if not, should the deacon still do the Kyrie at the end, or should the priest?

Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge.


A: The Confiteor is recited by all, and the missal gives no preference for how it starts. The priest usually begins it out of practicality, but there’s no reason why a deacon or cantor couldn’t. I usually start by announcing, “The Confiteor.” Then everyone can begin together saying the most important two words that begin the recitation, “I confess.” 

You’re asking “should” the deacon lead it. In general, the more the presider shares his roles the better, but there really is no preference in this case.

As to the Kyrie, anyone may lead it—priest, deacon, cantor, reader, usher, visitor.