Q: Our deacon is training a couple of guys to lead communion services. He has told them that they are not allowed to sit in the priest’s chair nor the deacon’s chair when they are “presiding”. Your thoughts?
Is there a new format for leading a communion service?
A: They may and they should use the presider’s chair.
The confusion exists because the ritual book for Sundays without a Priest asks the presider of the service not to use the presider’s chair because the community has no priest. The directive appears only in the United States, and in no other liturgical book.
When a communion service takes place in a parish where there is a priest, but he is away for some reason, the presider uses the presider’s chair. If there is no priest and the parish is being run by a deacon or layperson, that person is supposed to leave the presider’s chair empty on Sunday after Sunday, reminding the people that they are awaiting a priest some day.
Regarding the format, it’s found in the book Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass.