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|Meeting Christ in the Liturgy|
Instruction of the Roman Missal
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QUERY: When there is no celebrant's chair and no special place for carrying out the liturgy of the word, may a priest who celebrates with a small group present: a. remain at the altar during the liturgy of the word? b. set the missal on the right side of the altar or at the middle? c. and if so, which side of the altar is designated as the left or right? REPLY: a. The liturgical norms in force make a clear distinction between the altar and the place for proclaiming the word of God (GIRM nos. 252 - 257). Where places have not yet been remodeled in keeping with the reformed liturgy (and such remodeling should be done without delay), it is necessary to provide at least a chair for the celebrant and a movable lectern for the reader. When the celebrant himself must act as reader, especially for the gospel, the reading should be at the movable lectern. In the very exceptional case when not even a bench can be set up, the priest may stay at the altar, where the missal and lectionary are set on a reading stand. b. This stand obviously should be placed conveniently for the celebrant's reading, for example, at the middle of the altar. The custom of setting the missal stand on the left side of the altar comes from the time when the chalice was placed at the center at the beginning of Mass. This is no longer the case, since reform of the liturgy, because the chalice is now placed on a side table, away from the altar. c. The left side of the altar is the side at the celebrant's left; the right side, at his right. Not 14 (1978) 302, no. 3.
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