Deacons and the Gospel Book

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Two items of minute diaconal interest:

1.  Should the Gospel Book be stood upright on the altar or laid flat.  I have gone on YouTube and watched every pope going back to JPII usually at the Midnight Mass in St. Peter’s and learned that no deacon has ever stood the Gospel Book upright.  They always lay it flat. (I would be afraid of it falling over and making a loud noise.)

2.  When the deacon presents the Gospel Book to the bishop to kiss, should the book be open or closed?  Again, watching the Masses in St. Peter’s basilica, every pope kissed the book in the closed position.  (I know of one bishop who wants to kiss the page of the open book.)

If you have any thoughts on this, I would be interested in hearing them.  (I have not found anything in the CB on these specific points.)


A: The rubrics are silent about both these matters, but I notice what you notice at the Vatican liturgies, and I think they suggest good preferences. 

Place the book flat on the altar.

Close the book when carrying it to the bishop. It’s closed in the entrance procession. It’s closed in the gospel procession. I believe it should also be closed when the deacon processes the book to the bishop.