Q: In my previous parish, in the entrance procession the pastor wanted the Book of Gospels carried just before the priest (either by a reader or deacon). In my current parish, the pastor places the deacon/reader with the Book of Gospels right behind the altar servers, and before lectors, extraordinary ministers, and priest.
Is there a suggested or proper position for the Book of Gospels in the procession?
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A: The order of procession is in GIRM 120 and 172: incense, cross and candles, other ministers, reader, deacon, and priest.
In most parishes, readers not carrying the book of the gospels do not participate in the entrance procession, and communion ministers similarly do not join the entrance procession. The expression “other ministers” is vague, but it probably refers to altar servers carrying candles or just walking in the procession. Some parishes do include the extra liturgical ministers in the entrance procession, and they probably justify it by the vagueness of the rubric, but I really think that they more appropriately take a seat from the beginning of mass.
If they are in procession, then they precede whoever carries the book of the gospels, whom the priest follows immediately.
You can find more on such rubrics in my book Let Us Pray.
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