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|Meeting Christ in the Liturgy|
Instruction of the Roman Missal
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QUERY: In the manner of concelebrating we find the following differences: a. Sometimes the celebrant's voice stands out clearly, while the concelebrants recite the eucharistic prayer in a low or subdued voice. In other cases, conversely, a clash of loud voices is heard, as though each were striving to outdo the others. b. In carrying out the epiclesis before the consecration not all concelebrants stretch out their hands toward the gifts to invoke the action of the Holy Spirit, but they are extremely careful to do so during the consecration. c. During the epiclesis some bring their hands back as soon as the principal concelebrant has made the sign of the cross over the gifts; others keep their hands outstretched until the text of the epiclesis is concluded. Which ways are right? REPLY: To decide which of the differences are right, it is enough to consider the nature of the functions that each concelebrant performs and the nature of the corresponding gesture: a. According to the GIRM no. 170 the assembly of the faithful must distinctly hear the voice of the one presiding. This can be achieved by use of a sensitive and well - placed microphone and especially by the modulation of the concelebrants' voices («submissa voce»). Otherwise, as in the second case cited, the unity of tone and rhythm for the assembly's understanding of the text cannot be achieved. b. It is rather odd that the norms of the Missal envision a situation quite the opposite from the one alleged: during the epiclesis of the consecration all the concelebrants must hold their hands over the gifts (GIRM nos. 174a, 180a, 184a, 188a: "with hands outstretched toward the gifts") in invoking the action of the Holy Spirit. But during the consecration, the concelebrants hold the right hand toward the bread and the chalice, "if this seems appropriate" (GIRM nos. 174c, 180c, 184c, 188c) and they do so as they recite the «words of the Lord», namely, up to "Do this in memory of me" inclusive. c. The act of holding the hands outstretched must accompany the words of the prayer. This is why the rubrics of the Order of Mass (nos. 90, 103, 110, 119) indicate the end of this action by saying: "He joins his hands": Not 14 (1978) 303304, no. 6. See also DOL 242.
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