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Meeting Christ in the Liturgy
Instruction of the Roman Missal

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    • B. Functions of the Deacon
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B. Functions of the Deacon

127. When there is a deacon present to exercise his ministry, the norms in the preceding section apply, with the following exceptions.

In general the deacon: a. assists the priest and walks at his side; b. at the altar, assists with the chalice or the book; c. if there is no other minister present, carries out other ministerial functions as required.


128. Vested and carrying the Book of the Gospels, the deacon precedes the priest on the way to the altar or else walks at the priest's side.

129. With the priest he makes the proper reverence and goes up to the altar. After placing the Book of the Gospels on it, along with the priest he kisses the altar. If incense is used, he assists the priest in putting some in the censer and in incensing the altar.

130. After the incensing, he goes to the chair with the priest, sits next to him, and assists him as required.


131. If incense is used, the deacon assists the priest when he puts incense in the censer during the singing of the «Alleluia» or other chant. Then he bows before the priest and asks for the blessing, saying in a low voice: «Father, give me your blessingThe priest blesses him: «The Lord be in your heart». The deacon answers: «Amen». If the Book of the Gospels is on the altar, he takes it and goes to the lectern; the servers, if there are any, precede, carrying candles and the censer when used. At the lectern the deacon greets the people, incenses the book, and proclaims the gospel. After the reading, he kisses the book, saying softly: «May the words of the gospel wipe away our sins», and returns to the priest. If there is no homily or profession of faith, he may remain at the lectern for the general intercessions, but the servers leave.

132. After the priest introduces the general intercessions, the deacon announces the intentions at the lectern or other suitable place.


133. At the presentation of the gifts, while the priest remains at the chair, the deacon prepares the altar, assisted by other ministers, but the care of the sacred vessels belongs to the deacon. He assists the priest in receiving the people's gifts. Next, he hands the priest the paten with the bread to be consecrated, pours wine and a little water into the chalice, saying softly the «Through the mystery of this water and wine», then passes the chalice to the priest. (He may also prepare the chalice and pour the wine and water at a side table.) If incense is used, the deacon assists the priest with the incensing of the gifts and the altar; afterward he, or another minister, incenses the priest and the people.

134. During the eucharistic prayer, the deacon stands near but slightly behind the priest, so that when necessary he may assist the priest with the chalice or the missal.

135. At the final doxology of the eucharistic prayer, the deacon stands next to the priest, holding up the chalice as the priest raises the paten with the eucharistic bread, until the people have said the acclamation: «Amen».

136. After the priest has said the prayer for peace and the greeting: «The peace of the Lord be with you always», and the people have made the response: «And also with you», the deacon may invite all to exchange the sign of peace, saying: «Let us offer each other the sign of peace». He himself receives the sign of peace from the priest and may offer it to other ministers near him.

137. After the priest's communion, the deacon receives under both kinds and then assists the priest in giving communion to the people. But if communion is given under both kinds, the deacon ministers the chalice to the communicants and is the last to drink from it.

138. After communion, the deacon returns to the altar with the priest and collects any remaining fragments. He then takes the chalice and other vessels to the side table, where he purifies them and arranges them in the usual way; the priest returns to the chair. But it is permissible to leave the vessels to be purified, properly covered and on a corporal, at a side table and to purify them after Mass, when the people have left.


139. Following the prayer after communion, if there are any brief announcements, the deacon may make them, unless the priest prefers to do so himself.

140. After the priest's blessing, the deacon dismisses the people, saying: «Go in the peace of Christ», or: «Go in peace to love and serve the Lord», or: «The Mass is ended, go in peace».

141. Along with the priest, the deacon kisses the altar, makes the proper reverence, and leaves in the manner followed for the entrance procession.


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