Rite of Election during mass

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Note – this is a more complete answer to the following question asked in the Blog posted in November 2.

Q:  If you are celebrating the Rite of Election during mass on the first Sunday of Lent, or a scrutiny at mass on Sundays 3, 4 or 5 during Lent, do you use the presidential prayers for the Sunday in Lent or the ones from the Ritual Masses under Christian Initiation?


A:  If you open the missal to the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th Sundays of Lent, you’ll find the pertinent rubric at the top of the page ahead of the entrance antiphon. A mass on those days that includes the Rite of Election or a Scrutiny uses the presidential prayers from the ritual mass, not the Lenten mass of the day.


Q:  I have a question about celebrating the Rite of Election during mass on the First Sunday of Lent. Doesn’t there seem to be a contradiction between the rubric in the missal on the 1st Sunday of Lent (which sends you to the Ritual Mass for the Rite of Election) and the Ritual Mass (which sends you to the 1st Sunday of Lent)? I think the RCIA directs you to use the Sunday texts, so it looks  like it’s 2 against 1, so to speak. Am I missing something?


A:  I see the problem. It’s rare that anyone celebrates the Rite of Election during mass, but here goes:

The third edition added several rubrical notes that are not in the second edition. For example, at the beginning of the section on ritual masses, it now says that ritual masses cannot be used on Sundays in Lent (and other occasions). Then the very first ritual mass is the Rite of Election, which also has a rubrical heading new to the third edition. It seems to account for the prohibition on the preceding page by sending you to the First Sunday of Lent when election takes place during mass on that day. You are correct that when you flip there, the rubric asks you to flip back to where you were. That heading on the First Sunday of Lent is also new to the third edition.

In the second edition, at the end of the presidential prayers for the Ritual Mass of the Rite of Election, it permits you to use as an alternative the presidential prayers for Friday of the 4th week of Lent. That permission is gone.

For the scrutiny masses, the third edition expands the rubrical heading from the second edition. But it clarifies that you DO use the ritual mass presidential prayers for scrutinies done at mass on Sundays III, IV and V of Lent. The second edition said the same thing in fewer words.

My hunch is that the original intent was to use the presidential prayers for the ritual mass of the rite of election when the rite was celebrated during mass on the first Sunday of Lent. But the rubrics of the third edition made a mess of it, making it impossible to know what to do.

This may need a clarification from the Congregation for Diving Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. In the meantime, because the rubrics conflict, I think a person should be able to do what they please.