GIRM 310: Chairs

The Priest Celebrant gets a chair suitable to the function of the priest’s presidency over the liturgical assembly:

310. The chair of the Priest Celebrant must signify his function of presiding over the gathering and of directing the prayer. Thus the more suitable place for the chair is facing the people at the head of the sanctuary, unless the design of the building or other features prevent this: as, for example, if on account of too great a distance, communication between the Priest and the congregation would be difficult, or if the tabernacle were to be positioned in the center behind the altar. In any case, any appearance of a throne is to be avoided.[Inter Oecumenici 92] It is appropriate that before being put into liturgical use, the chair be blessed according to the rite described in the Roman Ritual.[Book of Blessings 880-899]

No throne-like appearance. Hmm, a challenge in some places, perhaps in a few cathedrals.

Likewise, seats should be arranged in the sanctuary for concelebrating Priests as well as for Priests who are present at the celebration in choir dress but without concelebrating.

The seat for the Deacon should be placed near that of the celebrant. For the other ministers seats should be arranged so that they are clearly distinguishable from seats for the clergy and so that the ministers are easily able to carry out the function entrusted to them.[Inter Oecumenici 92]

Most liturgists prefer other ministers to be less distinct from the assembly. One challenge I’ve seen in many places are when chairs for altar servers would be used where concelebrating clergy would sit.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in GIRM, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to GIRM 310: Chairs

  1. Liam says:

    The cathedra of a bishop is not the same thing as a presidential chair, and I believe the Ceremonial of Bishops is what primarily governs that. Indeed, the cite to Inter Oecumenici specifically affirms that a throne is the prerogative of a bishop.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s