GIRM 112-114: The Different Forms of Celebrating Mass

We will be occupied with GIRM’s Chapter IV for a long time. It covers numbered sections 112 through 287. The first subdivision, “Mass with the People,” covers nearly half the chapter, 115-198. In GIRM 199-251, we’ll look at concelebration, though perhaps not in every small detail. “Mass at Which only One Minister Participates,” 252-272. The final topic of Chapter IV is “Some General Norms for
All Forms of Mass.”

Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, though.

112. In the local Church, first place should certainly be given, because of its significance, to the Mass at which the Bishop presides, surrounded by his Presbyterate, Deacons, and lay ministers,[Sacrosanctum Concilium 41] and in which the holy People of God participate fully and actively, for it is there that the principal manifestation of the Church is found.

It might be instructive to count up the number of mentions of active participation in the GIRM.

At a Mass celebrated by the Bishop or at which he presides without celebrating the Eucharist, the norms found in the Caeremoniale Episcoporum (Ceremonial of Bishops) should be observed.[Cf. Ceremonial of Bishops, 119-186]

The Ceremonial of Bishops–if I were a cathedral liturgist or musician, I might consider a future CS series on that document. As it is, there are very illustrative aspects to that document. We might get to it anyway, someday.

113. Great importance should also be given to a Mass celebrated with any community, but especially with the parish community, inasmuch as it represents the universal Church at a given time and place, and chiefly in the common Sunday celebration.[Cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 42; Lumen Gentium 28; Presbyterorum Ordinis 5; Eucharisticum Mysterium 26]

114. Moreover, among those Masses celebrated by some communities, a particular place belongs to the Conventual Mass, which is a part of the daily Office, or the “community” Mass. Although such Masses do not involve any special form of celebration, it is nevertheless most fitting that they be celebrated with singing, especially with the full participation of all members of the community, whether of religious or of canons. Therefore, in these Masses all should exercise their function according to the Order or ministry they have received. Hence, it is desirable that all the Priests who are not obliged to celebrate individually for the pastoral benefit of the faithful concelebrate in so far as possible at the conventual or community Mass. In addition, all Priests belonging to the community who are obliged, as a matter of duty, to celebrate individually for the pastoral benefit of the faithful may also on the same day concelebrate at the conventual or community Mass.[Cf. Eucharisticum Mysterium 47] For it is preferable that Priests who are present at a celebration of the Eucharist, unless excused for a just reason, should usually exercise the function proper to their Order and hence take part as concelebrants, wearing sacred vestments. Otherwise, they wear their proper choir dress or a surplice over a cassock.

Perhaps some readers who are part of a religious community may have some comments to make on GIRM 114. Otherwise, anybody else see anything of significance in these sections?

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Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to GIRM 112-114: The Different Forms of Celebrating Mass

  1. Liam says:

    The encouragement of concelebration is noteworthy. Pace the opinion of traditionalists who bark loudly that concelebration should be “safe, legal and rare”. Some even resent the prohibition on simultaneous Masses and see few things more beautiful than the sight of rows of priests with servers lining aisle chapels celebrating simultaneously, which is a remnant of a time when the Church’s culture emphasized the quantitative dimension of the graces of Mass offerings. (I will here dutifully note that the are those at the opposite end of the spectrum who see no value in Mass offerings, sometimes arguing we no longer believe that. I disagree strongly with them, just to be clear.)

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