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|Meeting Christ in the Liturgy|
Instruction of the Roman Missal
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QUERY 1: When at the end of Mass one of the solemn blessings or the prayer over the people is used, how is it to be integrated into the concluding rite? REPLY: The GIRM no. 124 indicates that on certain days and occasions another, more solemn form of blessing or the prayer over the people precedes this form of blessing as the rubrics direct. The rite in this case takes the following form. After the greeting, «The Lord be with you», the deacon or the priest himself, if there is no deacon, says the invitation, «Bow your heads and pray for God's blessing» or something similar. Then the priest, with hands outstretched over the people, says the solemn blessing or the prayer over the people, then the words of the blessing; all reply: «Amen» (see MR 495 and 507): Not 6 (1970) 404, no. 41.
QUERY 2: The use of the solemn blessings and prayers over the people that are in the Roman Missal (MR, «ed. typica altera», 1975, 495 - 511) expand and add solemnity to the conclusion of the Mass. This form of the concluding rite grows in use as the texts are translated and inserted into the missal proper to each region. But practice varies: a. The celebrant omits the greeting, «The Lord be with you», before the blessing. b. The deacon or the celebrant omits the invitation, «Bow your heads and ask for God's blessing», given in the Missal (MR 495 and 507). c. The priest omits extending his hands over the congregation (MR 495 and 507). d. At the blessing the priest sometimes uses the form, «May almighty God bless you. . .,» sometimes, «May the blessing of almighty God».... REPLY: In this case also the queries arising from such diversity can be answered from a careful reading of the Roman Missal: a. The rubrics of the Missal (GIRM no. 124; Order of Mass no. 142) expressly lay down the steps in the conclusion of the celebration: first the greeting ("the priest...greets the people"), then the blessing ("he continues. . .blessing"), then the dismissal ("he adds immediately"). Furthermore, one of the solemn blessings or prayers over the people may be substituted for the usual formula for the blessing, «May almighty God bless you», which follows the greeting of the celebrant. Clearly these formularies have the same status as the text of the usual blessing. Therefore, the celebrant's greeting, «The Lord be with you», must precede them. b. The rubric at the beginning of this part of the Missal says: ". . .may give the invitation: «Bow your heads and pray for God's blessing»" (MR 495 and 507). Therefore, the deacon or the priest celebrant is at liberty to use this invitation, to put it in different words, or to omit it altogether. c. But in contrast this same rubric also gives an explicit directive: "The priest extends his hands over the congregation while he says or sings the blessing." Therefore, he holds his hands extended over the congregation during the entire blessing and during it the people respond: «Amen» to each part of this blessing. The priest performs the same gesture over the assembly during the prayer over the people. d. The celebrant as a rule uses the formulary: «May almighty God bless you». . . (MR, «ed. typica altera», 1975, pp. 495 - 506): Not 14 (1978) 306 - 307, no. 9. 153.
QUERY: At the eucharist where several bishops concelebrate, is the use of the pastoral staff restricted to the presiding bishop only, even if he is not the Ordinary of the place of celebration? REPLY: In all the liturgical rites, use of the pastoral staff belongs only to the principal celebrant of the eucharist or the one who presides over the liturgy and to no other bishops regardless of their rank.
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