GILH 253-258: Presidency

We’re in the home stretch of GILH, my friends. Chapter V is titled Rites for Celebration in Common. First on the agenda is the question of “Who does what?”

The post-conciliar principle of keeping to one’s assigned duties is quoted from Vatican II itself:

253. In the celebration of the liturgy of the hours, as in all other liturgical services, “each one, minister or layperson, who has an office to perform, should do all of, but only, those parts which pertain to that office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy.” [SC 28.]

When the bishop presides, the people are not to remain silent, and the authentic prayer of the Hours seems to preclude the concert format:

254. When a bishop presides, especially in the cathedral, he should be attended by his college of priests and by ministers and the people should take a full and active part. A priest or deacon should normally preside at every celebration with a congregation and ministers should also be present.

Dress code:

255. The priest or deacon who presides at a celebration may wear a stole over the alb or surplice; a priest may also wear a cope. On greater solemnities the wearing of the cope by many priests or of the dalmatic by many deacons is permitted.

What the presiding priest or deacon must do:

256. It belongs to the presiding priest or deacon, at the chair, to open the celebration with the introductory verse, begin the Lord’s Prayer, say the concluding prayer, greet the people, bless them, and dismiss them.

What he may do:

257. Either the priest or a minister may lead the intercessions.

A lay person will do some of the leadership functions, but not use the chair or perform those leadership aspects which are reserved to the clergy.

258. In the absence of a priest or deacon, the one who presides at the office is only one among equals and does not enter the sanctuary or greet and bless the people.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to GILH 253-258: Presidency

  1. FrMichael says:

    At seminary we neglected to follow this, the presider at our community Vespers always sitting in the presider’s chair, whether he was ordained or not. Still, something to consider as we’re looking at instituting a Sunday Vespers at our parish with mostly lay presiders.

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