Q: I was recently in Slovakia and noted that a concelebrating priest, when no deacon is present, invites the congregation to offer the Sign of Peace and not the presider. Might this be a local custom, one approved by a Bishops’ Conference for a specific country? Does any liturgical document give license to adopt this custom. If not, why is it essential for the main celebrant/deacon to extend the invitation to exchange the Sign of Peace and not a concelebrating priest?
A: GIRM 208 says “If a Deacon is not present, the functions proper to him are to be carried out by some of the concelebrants.” Like you, I rarely see this done. But it is permitted, if not expected.