Mystery of Faith

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: One of our pastors is reading your Ars Celebrandi – and there he found your instruction that when it comes to the Mystery of Faith, concelebrants (like celebrants) do NOT make the response, unless there are no other faithful present (that is, if only priests are present, then they do).  

Based on what the USCCB put out when the new Missal was promulgated, our practice here has been that concelebrants DO make the response.(The EP cards for concelebrants that the USCCB publishes all have the rubric that the people AND the concelebrants make the response.)I assume the point here is to keep the roles of the celebrant and concelebrants distinct. 

Can you enlighten me on how you arrived at your conclusion? Is there some documentation that I have missed? This seems like a small matter, but now I’m really curious…. 

Here is what I can find… GIRM 151 – the PEOPLE pronounce the acclamation…. (In the RUBRICS: …the PEOPLE continue…)

In the section on concelebration in the GIRM, there is no mention that they make the acclamation. And no mention that they don’t. 

According to Fr. Edward McNamara, “Indeed, if a priest celebrates alone or concelebrates with only priests present, both the invitation ‘Mystery of faith’ and the acclamation are omitted.” 


A: I consulted the USCCB for help. They note that in practice many concelebrants sing the acclamation as yours do. However, they found this in Notitiae in 1969: When priests concelebrate and no members of the laity are present, the memorial acclamation is omitted. The presider does not introduce it, and the vested concelebrants do not sing the acclamation.

For my position, look at the instructions for concelebrants for any eucharistic prayer in the Order of Mass in the Missal and GIRM 222 and similar paragraphs that follow. There’s never an indication for any priest to sing the memorial acclamation. The acclamation belongs to the people. The simplest explanation is that the acclamation addresses Christ, whereas the presider and concelebrants are addressing the Father from the start of the preface to the doxology.

The USCCB holds that the missal, not the concelebration cards, are the authoritative source.

I would revise my comments from Ars Celebrandi  this way: If no laity are present, and if all the priests concelebrate, then the memorial acclamation dialogue is omitted. If no laity are present, some priests concelebrate, and some priests choose not to concelebrate but take the role of the people, then the acclamation is included, and the non-concelebrants alone respond.