Order of Dedication – Updated

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: On Sep 9/21 you received a question regard the use of the sign of the cross at the beginning of the Order of the Dedication of a Church. The Ceremonial of Bishops, n. 881, provides the answer, “Putting aside the pastoral staff and miter and facing the people, the bishop says, In the name of the Father.” It is interesting to note that the sign of the cross is explicitly mentioned before the procession, but not at the solemn or simple entrance. However, in the interest of continuity and following the pattern now established in the Missal, I suspect the sign of the cross would also be used with both the solemn and simple entrances, the directions on the Ceremonial of Bishops for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2 would seem to support this.


A: Excellent. Thank you.

I’ve checked the 2008 updated ceremonial in Latin, and it has not changed from the way you describe it.

___________________________________ On September 9, 2021 ____________________________________

Q: Thank you for your dedication and commitment to assist us to have a full, conscious and active in the liturgy by allowing us to understand better what we do in Liturgical Celebrations.

I am at present preparing for the Dedication of a Church in our diocese.  I am looking at the Order of Dedication and I noticed that there is no explicit mention of beginning the celebration with the Sign of the Cross.  I have learned that in the Order of Baptism, it does not begin with the Sign of the Cross, thus it is not done at the beginning of the celebration of Baptism.  At the Easter Vigil, the Sacramentary (former English translation) did not explicitly mention to begin the celebration with the Sign of the Cross,  thus some interpreted it to be omitted, however, it has been clarified now in the New Roman Missal.  

Is my understanding, therefore, that the Sign of the Cross in the Order of Dedication of a Church and Altar is omitted, correct? Hoping for your usual insightful answer and comments.  Thank you and God bless us in our ministry.


A: I noticed the same thing when I wrote my book, New Church, New Altar. There I explain that the answer to your question is not clear. The sign of the cross may be subsumed by the bishop’s greeting, or it may be expected as in other ceremonies such as Palm Sunday and the Easter Vigil, both of which the new missal clarified.

However, there was an opportunity to put it in there with the revised translation in 2018, and it’s still missing. I’d probably add it, just to get things off to a good start. But you can totally and convincingly argue against using it.