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Meeting Christ in the Liturgy
Instruction of the Roman Missal

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  • 191.
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QUERY: It is apparent that practices differ greatly in the recitation or singing of the doxology concluding the eucharistic prayer: a. Sometimes the principal celebrant alone says or sings it. b. Or regularly all the concelebrants say or sing it. c. In some places the whole assembly says or sings it. What rule should be followed? REPLY: In any meeting it customarily belongs to the one presiding to open and close the proceedings that are the purpose of the meeting. In the case of the eucharist the essential part of the entire celebration is clearly the eucharistic prayer, which extends from the preface to the final doxology inclusive. Therefore, it belongs to the one presiding to open this prayer with the preface; this is followed by the «Sanctus», in which the assembly joins, then the one presiding alone recites the «Father, you are holy indeed» (or the parallel text). As to the concluding doxology, the three cases reported call for the following remarks: a. It is the right of the one who presides and who opened the eucharistic prayer also to close it by reciting the final doxology. This is exactly what the GIRM no. 191 indicates: "The concluding doxology of the eucharistic prayer is recited. . .by the principal celebrant alone." b. The second case reflects the prevailing usage, which almost everywhere concelebrants have quickly adopted in reciting or singing this conclusion together. This usage also conforms to the GIRM no. 191, the second part of which refers to it: ". . .or by all the concelebrants together with the principal celebrant." c. Unlike the two preceding cases, the recitation or singing of the conclusion by the whole assembly is an extension that is unlawful not merely from a disciplinary point of view - as being against the rules now in force - but at a deeper level, namely, as being in conflict with the very nature of ministries and texts.

Even though someone could interpret this extension to the entire assembly as a sign of the desire of the assembly for increased participation in the liturgy, it is necessary that this desire be realized in an orderly and authentic way. What seems like progress is in fact retrogression: it is a sign of forgetting the part that belongs to each individual in the liturgical celebration. See SC art. 28: ". . .each person, minister or layperson, who has an office to perform, should do all, but only those parts which pertain to that office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy." In the third case it happens often that the final «Amen» is said or sung by no one or almost no one. If, on the contrary, the directions given in the Order of Mass (nos. 100, 108, 115, 124, "The people respond: «Amen»") are followed, it is possible in order to give greater emphasis to this response to use more elaborate chants that give force and solemnity to the acclamation of all the people (for example, the triple «Amen» sung by all the people at a Mass celebrated by the pope or the more simple «Amen» in the French missal of 1974, p. 103): Not 14 (1978) 304 - 305, no. 7.


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