Q&A of Interest to Liturgical Ministers - 28th June 2015

Q: Recently, I was at a workshop in my parish for ministers of the Word. One of the participants insisted that the theme of the reading should be read. I have always understood that the reader only reads what is printed in black in the Lectionary as the theme (printed in red) is there as a quick reference but is not part of the reading. Would you be able to provide some guidance on this matter, please?

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 italics to make 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.

Q: Is there a church directive regarding dressing of a church for a special liturgy and if so does decorations that seem to distract from the celebration - being the main thing that was noticed remembered and discussed after the liturgy - a good liturgical practice?

A: The only official “directive” that addresses this issue is paragraph 292 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal: " The ornamentation of a church should contribute toward its noble simplicity rather than to ostentation. Moreover, in the choice of elements attention should be paid to authenticity and there should be the intention of fostering the instruction of the faithful and the dignity of the entire sacred place." My Liturgy Lines column dated 13th February 2011, which is available on the Liturgy Brisbane website, is about decorating the church and might be helpful for those responsible for the liturgical environment in your parish.

Q: I have recently been inducted into the ministry of altar server at my church. I read somewhere that the body of Christ on the processional cross should always face the priest/bishop. Can you advise whether this is the case? I know it may seem a trivial matter but I want to do everything correctly.

A: A processional cross is carried with the figure of the crucified Christ facing the direction in which the procession is moving because Christians are followers of Christ. The pope and archbishops (not other bishops) have what is called a cross of jurisdiction. The pope is entitled to have the cross borne before him wherever he may be; an archbishop’s cross of jurisdiction is used only within the limits of his province. In the case of these crosses only is the figure of the crucified Christ turned towards the one to whom it belongs.

Q: I just want to clarify what readings were set down for Anzac Day this year. Universalis had a gospel reading of John 6 whilst my religious diary offered John 12 or 14. Can you clarify?

A: The difference arises because Anzac Day is not on the universal/general calendar and is celebrated only in Australia and New Zealand. Universalis gave the readings of the day, Saturday of 3rd week of Easter. It is always best to check the Ordo for Australia.



Elizabeth Harrington