In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I was at the liturgy workshop that you led today.  I am following up with you on CB 149, regarding when the people should stand when the celebrant is incensed at the preparation of the gifts.

CB 149, states: “After this [i.e., after the bishop “incenses the gifts, as well as the altar and the cross”], all rise, and a deacon, standing at the side of the altar, incenses the bishop, who stands without the miter, then the concelebrants, then the people.”

You said that you would see what the second edition in Latin states.

Thank you very much for coming to our Diocese to lead this workshop on the liturgy. Today was very fruitful for me: it was informative and uplifting, and it encouraged me to want to help the Mass be celebrated both correctly and beautifully for the full and active participation of everyone there.

God’s graces to you.

A: Thanks again for pointing this out. I’ve checked the second edition, and its paragraph 149 is identical to the first edition.

So you are correct. Even though common practice is for the priests to stand after the bishop has been incensed, and for the people and deacons to stand after the priests have been incensed, the Ceremonial of Bishops asks everyone to stand as a body for the complete act of incensation. 

There is something lovely about this. In a way, it “de-clericalizes” the incensation and unites the entire assembly by having all change posture at the same time. It’s interesting because the Order of Mass 27 describes the incensation of the people after the priest, but still instructs the people to rise two paragraphs later. (It makes no mention of the people standing when they are incensed, but that is the tradition and the expectation in the Ceremonial.) The GIRM explains the incensation of priest and people several times (144, 178, 190, 277), but it is silent about posture.

So it appears that the Ceremonial adds a level of precision that the missal overlooks, and that the people’s change in posture even at Masses without a bishop is more properly made at the incensation of the priest before the incensation of the people.

It was an honor to come to your diocese. May God bless you and your ministry.