Q: Have a very quick and presumably easy question, if the Presentation of the Lord’s Prayer is outside of Mass, can a deacon lead the ritual? As far as I can tell, there is not a provision for a deacon to preside for this celebration, but given our priest shortage etc. is it possible? I feel like I should know the answer to this, but I am not thinking of the right document (besides the Rite itself) that leads me to the conclusion that a deacon could preside for this ritual. Perhaps it is somewhere in the Rite and I’m just missing it.
Thanks, as always, for your thoughts.
A: My opinion is that a deacon may preside, but my preference is that a priest do it. The RCIA does not give a clear answer.
In the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens, RCIA 48 clearly states that either a priest or deacon may preside. But there is no such clear description for the presider of the presentations.
Regarding the presentation of the Lord’s Prayer, the typical edition names two ministers: the “celebrant” and the “deacon” – as if these are separate. As you know, the presentation occurs in the proclamation of the gospel. The celebrant proclaims the gospel, not the deacon. Of course, if the deacon were the celebrant, then he would proclaim the gospel. But even if there is a deacon, the proclamation of this particular gospel belongs to the priest because it is part of his role as the presider. He is the one who is handing on the Lord’s Prayer by means of the proclamation of the gospel so that all hear the words from the inspired word of God, indeed from Christ himself speaking now in the gathered community.
The reason I think a deacon could preside is that the rite never explicitly says that the celebrant is a priest. So, what I’m giving is an opinion, rather than a presentation of what the RCIA says – because it doesn’t answer your question directly.