Liturgical Q & A


Here is a small sample of the interesting questions about liturgy that I receive every day in my role as education officer with The Liturgical Commission, and the answers that I gave.
Order of Gifts Procession
Q: What is the correct order in the procession - money, then bread and wine, or,as happens here, bread and wine, then the money which is just put to the side?Some time ago I was told that, just as the priest comes last in the entrance procession, the bread and wine should come last because they are the main gifts.

A: There is nothing written down about the order in which the gifts should be brought up. Boththe General Instruction and Redemptionis Sacramentum, however, stress that the money should be putin an appropriate place away from the altar. Certainly the collection should be taken up first so that the money can be brought up in procession with the gifts. Collectors left to lead the procession might rush up without much care, so it may be best to let the gifts lead the way carried by people who do so with dignity. The priest can take the bread and wineand place them on the altar while the collector places the collection somewhere nearby.
Certainly the presider comes after the cross and ministers in the entrance procession, but that is in the sense of their leading the way. I'm not sure that our monetary gifts are really 'leading the way' for our gifts of bread and wine.
As I said earlier, nothing is set down about this, so as long as the procession is done with style and grace, the order is not of such great importance.

Celebrating Feast Days
Q: Why are the dates of many of the saints’ days we celebrate these days different from the ones in my old missal?

A: The Liturgical Calendar was revised after Vatican II. The instruction given by the Fathers at the Council was that precedence was to be given to the Proper of Seasons over the feasts of the saints. Because the Calendar had become cluttered with so many saints’ days, many were to be removed from the General Roman Calendar and left to be celebrated by a particular Church or nation or religious family. Only saints of truly universal significance were retained in the new General Calendar.
The change to some of the dates on which memorials are celebrated was made so that they were more historically accurate. Now most of them take place on the date of the saint’s death or on the date of the transferral of his or her body to another place.
In the previous calendar, heavy emphasis was placed on saints of antiquity and those from the Mediterranean world. The current calendar includes more recent saints and saints from other parts of the world.
The Missal you have was printed before the revised Calendar was issued in 1970. That is why many of the dates differ.

Introduction to Readings
Q: Do readers say the words in italics before each reading in the Lectionary?

A: The brief summary printed before each reading in the Lectionary is not intended to be read aloud.It is printed to one side, in small font and in red and/or italicstomake it clear that it does not form part of the reading and is not to be proclaimed. It is there to assist people in making selections of readings and is confusing for the listener when what is often the ‘punch line’ of a passage is read first.

Elizabeth Harrington