Liturgical Formation according to Vatican II

claret receives xtLITURGICAL FORMATION  ACCORDING TO VATICAN II

As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, we shall imbibe the spirit of renewal spearheaded by the council into our missionary formation. Liturgy is one of the important aspects of the life of the Church into which Vatican II has infused a renewed spirit. Our Founder, a man on fire with God’s love, drew immense strength from the liturgy for his untiring apostolic commitment and led the people to God through the meaningful celebration of liturgy. Good liturgical formation important for the missionaries to live their vocation and commit themselves to the service of the Church in a meaningful way.

It is the Liturgy through which, especially in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, “the work of redemption is accomplished,” and it is through the Liturgy , especially that the faithful are enabled to express in their lives and manifest to others the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church. Here is a collection of the teachings and instructions of Vatican II on liturgy which are related to formation.

The constitution on Sacred Liturgy ( Sacrosanctum Concilium)  

I. The Promotion of Liturgical Instruction and Active Participation

1. Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people (1 Pet. 2:9; cf. 2:4-5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.

In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit; and therefore pastors of souls must zealously strive to achieve it, by means of the necessary instruction, in all their pastoral work.

Yet it would be futile to entertain any hopes of realizing this unless the pastors themselves, in the first place, become thoroughly imbued with the spirit and power of the liturgy, and undertake to give instruction about it. A prime need, therefore, is that attention be directed, first of all, to the liturgical instruction of the clergy. Wherefore the sacred Council has decided to enact as follows: S.C 14

2. Professors who are appointed to teach liturgy in seminaries, religious houses of study, and theological faculties must be properly trained for their work in institutes which specialize in this subject. S.C 15

3. The study of sacred liturgy is to be ranked among the compulsory and major courses in seminaries and religions houses of studies; in theological faculties it is to rank among the principal courses. It is to be taught under its theological, historical, spiritual, pastoral, and juridical aspects. Moreover, other professors, while striving to expound the mystery of Christ and the history of salvation from the angle proper to each of their own subjects, must nevertheless do so in a way which will clearly bring out the connection between their subjects and the liturgy, as also the unity which underlies all priestly training. This consideration is especially important for professors of dogmatic, spiritual, and pastoral theology and for those of holy scripture. S.C 16.

4. In seminaries and houses of religious, clerics shall be given a liturgical formation in their spiritual life. For this they will need proper direction, so that they may be able to understand the sacred rites and take part in them wholeheartedly; and they will also need personally to celebrate the sacred mysteries, as well as popular devotions which are imbued with the spirit of the liturgy. In addition they must learn how to observe the liturgical laws, so that life in seminaries and houses of religious may be thoroughly influenced by the spirit of the liturgy. S.C 17.

II. The Reform of the Sacred Liturgy

5. Servers, lectors commentators, and members of the choir also exercise a genuine liturgical function. They ought, therefore, to discharge their office with the sincere piety and decorum demanded by so exalted a ministry and rightly expected of them by God’s people.

Consequently they must all be deeply imbued with the spirit of the liturgy, each in his own measure, and they must be trained to perform their functions in a correct and orderly manner. S.C 29.

6. To promote active participation, the people should be encouraged to take part by means of acclamations, responses, psalmody, antiphons, and songs, as well as by actions, gestures, and bodily attitudes. And at the proper times all should observe a reverent silence. S.C 30.

III. The other sacraments and the sacramentals.

7. Moreover, a rite of religious profession and renewal of vows shall be drawn up in order to achieve greater unity, sobriety, and dignity. Apart from exceptions in particular law, this rite should be adopted by those who make their profession or renewal of vows within the Mass. S.C 80

8. Religious profession should preferably be made within the Mass. S.C 82

IV. The Divine office

9. Christ Jesus, high priest of the new and eternal covenant, taking human nature, introduced into this earthly exile that hymn which is sung throughout all ages in the halls of heaven. He joins the entire community of mankind to Himself, associating it with His own singing of this canticle of divine praise.

10. For he continues His priestly work through the agency of His Church, which is ceaselessly engaged in praising the Lord and interceding for the salvation of the whole world. She does this, not only by celebrating the Eucharist, but also in other ways, especially by praying the divine office. S.C 83.

11. By tradition going back to early Christian times, the divine office is devised so that the whole course of the day and night is made holy by the praises of God. Therefore, when this wonderful song of praise is rightly performed by priests and others who are deputed for this purpose by the Church’s ordinance, or by the faithful praying together with the priest in the approved form, then it is truly the voice of the bride addressed to her bridegroom; lt is the very prayer which Christ Himself, together with His body, addresses to the Father. S.C 84.

12. Hence all who render this service are not only fulfilling a duty of the Church, but also are sharing in the greatest honor of Christ’s spouse, for by offering these praises to God they are standing before God’s throne in the name of the Church their Mother. S.C 85.

13. Priests who are engaged in the sacred pastoral ministry will offer the praises of the hours with greater fervour the more vividly they realize that they must heed St. Paul’s exhortation: “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:11). For the work in which they labour will effect nothing and bring forth no fruit except by the power of the Lord who said: “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15: 5). That is why the apostles, instituting deacons, said: “We will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). S.C 86.

14. In order that the divine office may be better and more perfectly prayed in existing circumstances, whether by priests or by other members of the Church, the sacred Council, carrying further the restoration already so happily begun by the Apostolic See, has seen fit to decree as follows concerning the office of the Roman rite. S.C 87

15. Because the purpose of the office is to sanctify the day, the traditional sequence of the hours is to be restored so that once again they may be genuinely related to the time of the day when they are prayed, as far as this may be possible. Moreover, it will be necessary to take into account the modern conditions in which daily life has to be lived, especially by those who are called to labor in apostolic works. S.C 88.

16. Therefore, when the office is revised, these norms are to be observed: S.C 89.

17. By the venerable tradition of the universal Church, Lauds as morning prayer and Vespers as evening prayer are the two hinges on which the daily office turns; hence they are to be considered as the chief hours and are to be celebrated as such. S.C 89 a

18. Compline is to be drawn up so that it will be a suitable prayer for the end of the day. S.C 89b

19. The hour known as Matins, although it should retain the character of nocturnal praise when celebrated in choir, shall be adapted so that it may be recited at any hour of the day; it shall be made up of fewer psalms and longer readings. S.C 89c

20. The hour of Prime is to be suppressed. S.C 89d

21. In choir the hours of Terce, Sext, and None are to be observed. But outside choir it will be lawful to select any one of these three, according to the respective time of the day. S.C 89e

22. The divine office, because it is the public prayer of the Church, is a source of piety, and nourishment for personal prayer. And therefore priests and all others who take part in the divine office are earnestly exhorted in the Lord to attune their minds to their voices when praying it. The better to achieve this, let them take steps to improve their understanding of the liturgy and of the bible, especially of the psalms. S.C 90

23. To whatever extent may seem desirable, the hymns are to be restored to their original form, and whatever smacks of mythology or ill accords with Christian piety is to be removed or changed. Also, as occasion may arise, let other selections from the treasury of hymns be incorporated. S.C 93.

24. That the day may be truly sanctified, and that the hours themselves may be recited with spiritual advantage, it is best that each of them be prayed at a time which most closely corresponds with its true canonical time. S.C 94.

25. Communities obliged to choral office are bound to celebrate the office in choir every day in addition to the conventual Mass. In particular: S.C 95.

26. Orders of canons, of monks and of nuns, and of other regulars bound by law or constitutions to choral office must celebrate the entire office..S.C 95a

27. Cathedral or collegiate chapters are bound to recite those parts of the office imposed on them by general or particular law. S.C 95 b

28. All members of the above communities who are in major orders or who are solemnly professed, except for lay brothers, are bound to recite individually those canonical hours which they do not pray in choir. S.C 95 c

29. Clerics not bound to office in choir, if they are in major orders, are bound to pray the entire office every day, either in common or individually, as laid down in Art. 89. S.C 96

30. Appropriate instances are to be defined by the rubrics in which a liturgical service may be substituted for the divine office.

In particular cases, and for a just reason, ordinaries can dispense their subjects wholly or in part from the obligation of reciting the divine office, or may commute the obligation.S.C 97.

31. Members of any institute dedicated to acquiring perfection who, according to their constitutions, are to recite any parts of the divine office are thereby performing the public prayer of the Church.

They too perform the public prayer of the Church who, in virtue of their constitutions, recite any short office, provided this is drawn up after the pattern of the divine office and is duly approved. S.C 98.

32. Since the divine office is the voice of the Church, that is of the whole mystical body publicly praising God, those clerics who are not obliged to office in choir, especially priests who live together or who assemble for any purpose, are urged to pray at least some part of the divine office in common.

All who pray the divine office, whether in choir or in common, should fulfill the task entrusted to them as perfectly as possible: this refers not only to the internal devotion of their minds but also to their external manner of celebration.

It is, moreover, fitting that the office, both in choir and in common, be sung when possible. S.C 99.

33. Pastors of souls should see to it that the chief hours, especially Vespers, are celebrated in common in church on Sundays and the more solemn feasts. And the laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office, either with the priests, or among themselves, or even individually. S.C 100

34. In accordance with the centuries-old tradition of the Latin rite, the Latin language is to be retained by clerics in the divine office. But in individual cases the ordinary has the power of granting the use of a vernacular translation to those clerics for whom the use of Latin constitutes a grave obstacle to their praying the office properly. The vernacular version, however, must be one that is drawn up according to the provision of Art. 36. S.C 101. 1

35. The competent superior has the power to grant the use of the vernacular in the celebration of the divine office, even in choir, to nuns and to members of institutes dedicated to acquiring perfection, both men who are not clerics and women. The version, however, must be one that is approved. S.C 101.2

36. Any cleric bound to the divine office fulfils his obligation if he prays the office in the vernacular together with a group of the faithful or with those mentioned in 52 above provided that the text of the translation is approved. S.C 101. 3

V. Sacred music

37. Great importance is to be attached to the teaching and practice of music in seminaries, in the novitiates and houses of study of religious of both sexes, and also in other Catholic institutions and schools. To impart this instruction, teachers are to be carefully trained and put in charge of the teaching of sacred music.

It is desirable also to found higher institutes of sacred music whenever this can be done.

Composers and singers, especially boys, must also be given a genuine liturgical training. S.C 115

38. The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as especially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.

But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action, as laid down in Art. 30. S.C 116.

39. Religious singing by the people is to be intelligently fostered so that in devotions and sacred exercises, as also during liturgical services, the voices of the faithful may ring out according to the norms and requirements of the rubrics. S.C 118

40. In certain parts of the world, especially mission lands, there are peoples who have their own musical traditions, and these play a great part in their religious and social life. For this reason due importance is to be attached to their music, and a suitable place is to be given to it, not only in forming their attitude toward religion, but also in adapting worship to their native genius, as indicated in Art. 39 and 40.

Therefore, when missionaries are being given training in music, every effort should be made to see that they become competent in promoting the traditional music of these peoples, both in schools and in sacred services, as far as may be practicable. S.C 119

41. Composers, filled with the Christian spirit, should feel that their vocation is to cultivate sacred music and increase its store of treasures.

Let them produce compositions which have the qualities proper to genuine sacred music, not confining themselves to works which can be sung only by large choirs, but providing also for the needs of small choirs and for the active participation of the entire assembly of the faithful. S.C 121

VI. Sacred art and sacred furnishings

42. During their philosophical and theological studies, clerics are to be taught about the history and development of sacred art, and about the sound principles governing the production of its works. In consequence they will be able to appreciate and preserve the Church’s venerable monuments, and be in a position to aid, by good advice, artists who are engaged in producing works of art. S.C 129

APOSTOLIC LETTER SACRAM LITURGIAM

43. We desire that the norms contained in Articles 15, 16 and 17 concerning teaching of the liturgy in seminaries, in schools of religious communities and in theological faculties immediately should be worked into the programs in such a way that beginning in the next school year students may devote themselves to such study in an orderly and diligent way.

1. Instruction on implementing liturgical norms ( Inter oecumenici)

44. In theological faculties there shall be a chair of liturgy so that all students may receive the requisite liturgical instruction; in seminaries and religious houses of studies local Ordinaries and major superiors shall see to it that as soon as possible there is a properly trained specialist in liturgy. (11 a)

45. Professors appointed to teach liturgy shall be trained as soon as possible, in keeping with the norms of the Constitution art. 15. (11 b)

46. For the continuing liturgical education of clerics, especially those already working in the Lord’s vineyard, institutes in pastoral liturgy shall be set up wherever possible.(11 c)

47. The course in liturgy shall be of appropriate duration, to be fixed in the curriculum of studies by competent authority, and shall follow a method patterned on the norm of the Constitution art. 16. (12)

48. Liturgical celebrations shall be carried out as perfectly as possible. Therefore: (13).

49. Clerics shall frequently exercise the liturgical functions proper to their order, i.e., of deacon, sub deacon, acolyte, reader, as well as those of commentator and cantor.(13.a)

50. Churches and chapels, all sacred furnishings and vestments shall bear the mark of genuine Christian art, including the contemporary. (13.b)

II. Liturgical formation of the cleric’s spiritual life (SC art. 17)

51. In order that clerics may be trained for a full participation in liturgical celebrations and for a spiritual life deriving from them and to be shared later with others, the Constitution on the Liturgy shall be put into full effect in seminaries and religious houses of studies in keeping with the norms of the documents of the Holy See, the superiors and faculty all working together in harmony to achieve this goal. In order to guide clerics properly toward the liturgy: books are to be recommended on liturgy, especially in its theological and spiritual dimensions, and made available in the library in sufficient numbers; there are to be meditations and conferences, drawn above all from the fonts of sacred Scripture and liturgy (see Const. art. 35, 2); and those communal devotions are to be observed that are in keeping with Christian customs and practice and are suited to the various seasons of the liturgical year. (14).

52. The Eucharist, centre of the whole spiritual life, is to be celebrated daily and with the use of different forms of celebration best suited to the condition of the participants.

On Sundays and on the other greater holydays a sung Mass shall be celebrated, with all who live in the house participating; there is to be a homily and, as far as possible, all who are not priests shall receive communion. Once the new rite has been published, con celebration is permitted for priests, especially on more solemn feasts, if pastoral needs do not require individual celebration.

At least on the great festivals it would be well for seminarians to participate in the Eucharist gathered round the bishop in the cathedral church. (15)

53. Even if not yet bound by obligation to divine office, clerics should each day recite or sing in common lauds in the morning as Morning Prayer and vespers in the evening as evening prayer or compline at the end of the day. Superiors should, as far as possible; they take part in this common recitation. Sufficient time shall be provided in the daily schedule for clerics in sacred orders to pray the divine office.

At least on major festivals it would be well, when possible, for seminarians to sing evening prayer in the cathedral church. (16)

54.. Religious devotions, arranged according to the laws or customs of each place or institute, shall be held in due esteem. Nevertheless, care should be taken that, especially if they are held in common, they harmonize with the liturgy, in keeping with the Constitution art. 13, and that they take into account the seasons of the liturgical year. (17)

III. Liturgical formation of members of religious institutes

55. The foregoing articles on the liturgical formation of clerics’ spiritual life are to be applied, with the required modifications, to both men and women members of religious institutes. (18).

Musicam Sacram

Instruction on Music In The Liturgy
56. Because of the liturgical ministry it performs, the choir — or the Capella musica, or schola cantorum — deserves particular mention. Its role has become something of yet greater importance and weight by reason of the norms of the Council concerning the liturgical renewal. Its duty is, in effect, to ensure the proper performance of the parts which belong to it, according to the different kinds of music sung, and to encourage the active participation of the faithful in the singing. Therefore: (19).

57. There should be choirs, or Capellae, or scholae cantorum, especially in cathedrals and other major churches, in seminaries and religious houses of studies, and they should be carefully encouraged. (19. A)

58. It would also be desirable for similar choirs to be set up in smaller churches. (19 .b)

GENERAL INSTRUCTION OF THE ROMAN MISSAL (INSTITUTIO GENERALIS MISSALIS ROMANI)

59. After the priest, the deacon, in virtue of the sacred ordination he has received, holds first place among those who minister in the Eucharistic Celebration. For the sacred Order of the diaconate has been held in high honor in the Church even from the time of the Apostles.[82] At Mass the deacon has his own part in proclaiming the Gospel, in preaching God’s word from time to time, in announcing the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful, in ministering to the priest, in preparing the altar and serving the celebration of the Sacrifice, in distributing the Eucharist to the faithful, especially under the species of wine, and sometimes in giving directions regarding the people’s gestures and posture. (94)

I. PARTICULAR MINISTRIES

1. The Ministry of the Instituted Acolyte and Lector

60. The acolyte is instituted to serve at the altar and to assist the priest and deacon. In particular, it is his responsibility to prepare the altar and the sacred vessels and, if it is necessary, as an extraordinary minister, to distribute the Eucharist to the faithful.[84]

In the ministry of the altar, the acolyte has his own functions (cf. nos. 187-193), which he must perform personally. (98).

61. The lector is instituted to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture, with the exception of the Gospel. He may also announce the intentions for the Prayer of the Faithful and, in the absence of a psalmist, proclaim the Psalm between the readings.

In the Eucharistic Celebration, the lector has his own proper office (cf. nos. 194-198), which he must exercise personally. (99).

62. The following also exercise a liturgical function: (105).

63. The sacristan, who carefully arranges the liturgical books, the vestments, and other things necessary in the celebration of Mass. (105 a)

64. The commentator, who provides the faithful, when appropriate, with brief explanations and commentaries with the purpose of introducing them to the celebration and preparing them to understand it better. The commentator’s remarks must be meticulously prepared and clear though brief. In performing this function the commentator stands in an appropriate place facing the faithful, but not at the ambo. (105 b)

65. In the sacristy, the sacred vestments (cf. nos. 337-341) for the priest, the deacon, and other ministers are to be prepared according to the various forms of celebration: (115)

For the priest: the alb, the stole, and the chasuble; (115 a)

For the deacon: the alb, the stole, and the dalmatic; the dalmatic may be omitted, however, either out of necessity or on account of a lesser degree of solemnity; (115 b)

For the other ministers: albs or other lawfully approved attire.[96] (115 c )

All who wear an alb should use a cincture and an amice unless, due to the form of the alb, they are not needed. (115 d)

II. Mass with a Deacon

66. When he is present at the Eucharistic Celebration, a deacon should exercise his ministry, wearing sacred vestments. For the deacon (171)

  1. a.Assists the priest and remains at his side;
  2. b.Ministers at the altar, with the chalice as well as the book;
  3. c.Proclaims the Gospel and, at the direction of the priest celebrant, may preach the homily (cf. no. 66);
  4. d.Guides the faithful by appropriate introductions and explanations, and announces the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful;
  5. e.Assists the priest celebrant in distributing Communion, and purifies and arranges the sacred vessels;
  6. f.As needed, fulfills the duties of other ministers himself if none of them is present.

The Introductory Rites

67. Carrying the Book of the Gospels slightly elevated, the deacon precedes the priest as he approaches the altar or else walks at the priest’s side.(172)

68. When he reaches the altar, if he is carrying the Book of the Gospels, he omits the sign of reverence and goes up to the altar. It is particularly appropriate that he should place the Book of the Gospels on the altar, after which, together with the priest, he venerates the altar with a kiss. if, however, he is not carrying the Book of the Gospels, he makes a profound bow to the altar with the priest in the customary way and with him venerates the altar with a kiss.

Lastly, if incense is used, he assists the priest in putting some into the thurible and in incensing the cross and the altar. (173)

69. After the incensation of the altar, he goes to the chair together with the priest, takes his place there at the side of the priest and assists him as necessary. (174)

The Liturgy of the Word

70. If incense is used, the deacon assists the priest when he puts incense in the thurible during the singing of the Alleluia or other chant. Then he makes a profound bow before the priest and asks for the blessing, saying in a low voice, Iube, domine, benedicere (Father, give me your blessing). The priest blesses him, saying, Dominus sit in corde tuo (The Lord be in your heart). The deacon signs himself with the Sign of the Cross and responds, Amen. Having bowed to the altar, he then takes up the Book of the Gospels which was placed upon it. He proceeds to the ambo, carrying the book slightly elevated. He is preceded by a thurifer, carrying a thurible with smoking incense, and by servers with lighted candles. There the deacon, with hands joined, greets the people, saying, Dominus vobiscum (The Lord be with you). Then, at the words Lectio sancti Evangelii (A reading from the holy Gospel), he signs the book with his thumb and, afterwards, himself on his forehead, mouth, and breast. He incenses the book and proclaims the Gospel reading. When the reading is concluded, he says the acclamation Verbum Domini (The Gospel of the Lord), and all respond, Laus tibi, Christe (Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ). He then venerates the book with a kiss, saying privately, Per evangelica dicta (May the words of the Gospel), and returns to the priest’s side.

When the deacon is assisting the Bishop, he carries the book to him to be kissed, or else kisses it himself, saying quietly, Per evangelica dicta dicta (May the words of the Gospel). In more solemn celebrations, as the occasion suggests, a Bishop may impart a blessing to the people with the Book of the Gospels.

Lastly, the deacon may carry the Book of the Gospels to the credence table or to another appropriate and dignified place. (175)

71. If, in addition, there is no other suitable lector present, the deacon should proclaim the other readings as well. (176)

72. After the introduction by the priest it is the deacon himself who normally announces the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful, from the ambo. (177)

The Liturgy of the Eucharist

73. After the Prayer of the Faithful, while the priest remains at the chair, the deacon prepares the altar, assisted by the acolyte, but it is the deacon’s place to take care of the sacred vessels himself. He also assists the priest in receiving the people’s gifts. Next, he hands the priest the paten with the bread to be consecrated, pours wine and a little water into the chalice, saying quietly, Per huius aquae (By the mystery of this water), and after this presents the chalice to the priest. He may also carry out the preparation of the chalice at the credence table. If incense is used, the deacon assists the priest during the incensation of the gifts, the cross, and the altar; afterwards, the deacon himself or the acolyte incenses the priest and the people. (178)

74. During the Eucharistic Prayer, the deacon stands near the priest but slightly behind him, so that when needed he may assist the priest with the chalice or the Missal.

From the epiclesis until the priest shows the chalice, the deacon normally remains kneeling. If several deacons are present, one of them may place incense in the thurible for the consecration and incense the host and the chalice as they are shown to the people. (179)

75. At the final doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer, the deacon stands next to the priest, holding the chalice elevated while the priest elevates the paten with the host, until the people have responded with the acclamation, Amen. (180)

76. After the priest has said the prayer at the Rite of Peace and the greeting Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum (The peace of the Lord be with you always) and the people have responded, Et cum spiritu tuo (And also with you), the deacon, if it is appropriate, invites all to exchange the sign of peace. He faces the people and, with hands joined, says, Offerte vobis pacem (Let us offer each other the sign of peace). Then he himself receives the sign of peace from the priest and may offer it to those other ministers who are closer to him. (181)

77. After the priest’s Communion, the deacon receives Communion under both kinds from the priest himself and then assists the priest in distributing Communion to the people. If Communion is given under both kinds, the deacon himself administers the chalice to the communicants; and, when the distribution is completed, he immediately and reverently consumes at the altar all of the Blood of Christ that remains, assisted if necessary by other deacons and priests. (182)

78. When the distribution of Communion is completed, the deacon returns to the altar with the priest and collects the fragments, if any remain, and then carries the chalice and other sacred vessels to the credence table, where he purifies them and arranges them in the usual way while the priest returns to the chair. It is also permissible to leave the vessels that need to be purified, suitably covered, at the credence table on a corporal, and to purify them immediately after Mass following the dismissal of the people. (183)

The Concluding Rites

79. Once the prayer after Communion has been said, the deacon makes brief announcements to the people, if indeed any need to be made, unless the priest prefers to do this himself. (184)

80. If a prayer over the people or a solemn formula for the blessing is used, the deacon says, Inclinate vos ad benedictionem (Bow your heads and pray for God’s blessing). After the priest’s blessing, the deacon, with hands joined and facing the people, dismisses them, saying, Ite, missa est (The Mass is ended, go in peace).(185)

81. Then, together with the priest, the deacon venerates the altar with a kiss, makes a profound bow, and departs in a manner similar to the procession beforehand. (186)

III. The Duties of the Acolyte

82. The duties that the acolyte may carry out are of various kinds and several may coincide. Hence, it is desirable that these duties be suitably distributed among several acolytes. If, however, only one acolyte is present, he should perform the more important duties while the rest are to be distributed among several ministers. (187)

The Introductory Rites

83. In the procession to the altar, the acolyte may carry the cross, walking between two ministers with lighted candles. Upon reaching the altar, the acolyte places the cross upright near the altar so that it may serve as the altar cross; otherwise, he puts it in a worthy place. Then he takes his place in the sanctuary. (188)

84. Through the entire celebration, the acolyte is to approach the priest or the deacon, whenever necessary, in order to present the book to them and to assist them in any other way required. Thus it is appropriate, insofar as possible, that the acolyte occupy a place from which he can conveniently carry out his ministry either at the chair or at the altar. (189)

The Liturgy of the Eucharist

85. If no deacon is present, after the Prayer of the Faithful is concluded and while the priest remains at the chair, the acolyte places the corporal, the purificator, the chalice, the pall, and the Missal on the altar. Then, if necessary, the acolyte assists the priest in receiving the gifts of the people and, if appropriate, brings the bread and wine to the altar and hands them to the priest. If incense is used, the acolyte presents the thurible to the priest and assists him while he incenses the gifts, the cross, and the altar. Then the acolyte incenses the priest and the people. (190)

86. A duly instituted acolyte, as an extraordinary minister, may, if necessary, assist the priest in giving Communion to the people.[100] If Communion is given under both kinds, when no deacon is present, the acolyte administers the chalice to the communicants or holds the chalice if Communion is given by intinction. (191)

87. Likewise, when the distribution of Communion is completed, a duly instituted acolyte helps the priest or deacon to purify and arrange the sacred vessels. When no deacon is present, a duly instituted acolyte carries the sacred vessels to the credence table and there purifies, wipes, and arranges them in the usual way. (192)

88. After the celebration of Mass, the acolyte and other ministers return in procession to the sacristy, together with the deacon and the priest in the same way and order in which they entered. (193)

IV. The Duties of the Lector

Introductory Rites

89. In coming to the altar, when no deacon is present, the lector, wearing approved attire, may carry the Book of the Gospels, which is to be slightly elevated. In that case, the lector walks in front of the priest but otherwise along with the other ministers. (194)

90. Upon reaching the altar, the lector makes a profound bow with the others. If he is carrying the Book of the Gospels, he approaches the altar and places the Book of the Gospels upon it. Then the lector takes his own place in the sanctuary with the other ministers. (195)

The Liturgy of the Word

91. The lector reads from the ambo the readings that precede the Gospel. If there is no psalmist, the lector may also proclaim the responsorial Psalm after the first reading. (196)

92. When no deacon is present, the lector, after the introduction by the priest, may announce from the ambo the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful. (197)

93. If there is no singing at the Entrance or at Communion and the antiphons in the Missal are not recited by the faithful, the lector may read them at the appropriate time (cf. nos. 48, 87). (198).

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