RDCA I, 7-8: Preparations, Outline of the Rite

The people know the date and time. The bishop is coming to the building site. What else do you need?

7. For the celebration of the rite the following should be prepared:

  • The Roman Pontifical and Lectionary;
  • chair for the bishop;
  • depending on the circumstances, the foundation stone, which by tradition is a rectangular cornerstone, together with cement and the tools for setting the stone in the foundation;
  • container of holy water with sprinkler;
  • censer, incense boat and spoon;
  • processional cross and torches for the servers.

Sound equipment should be set up so that the assembly can clearly hear the readings, prayers, and instructions. 

The cornerstone illustrated with this series seems to be square (cubic, actually). By the way, how many readers have ever experienced the ritual of laying a cornerstone?

8. For the celebration of the rite the vestments are white or of some festive color. The following should be prepared:

  • for the bishop: alb, stole, cope, miter, and pastoral staff;
  • for the priest, when one presides over the celebration: alb, stole, and cope;
  • for the deacons: albs, stoles, and if opportune, dalmatics;
  • for other ministers: albs or other lawfully approved dress.

You in the back: enough snickering about “dress.”

Note the chasuble is not used here.

Here are the outlines for the rite and options. Note that a procession is possible. I would think that even if people are walking from a parking lot to the cornerstone site–all on the same premises–a procession is optimal. In many rural and suburban locations, it may be less desirable for a miles-long procession. Though I think if the distance is not more than thirty to sixty minutes, it might be worthwhile for many:

Approach to the Construction Site

A. First Form: Procession

  • Greeting
  • Brief Introduction
  • Prayer
  • Procession

B. Second Form: Station at the Construction Site of the New Church

  • Acclamation or Song
  • Greeting
  • Brief Instruction
  • Prayer

Reading of the Word of God

  • Reading(s)
  • [Responsorial Psalm]
  • Homily
  • Placing of the Document(s) in the Foundation Stone

Blessing of the Site of the New Church

  • Prayer of Blessing
  • Laying of the Foundation Stone

Concluding Rite

  • General Intercessions
  • Lord’s Prayer
  • Concluding Prayer
  • Blessing and Dismissal

Last comments:

I don’t know why the psalm would be optional. Many psalms lend themselves well to the initiation of a building project.

Note the placement of documents in the foundation stone is considered part of the liturgy of the Word. It is, however, a transitional ritual from the homily to the blessing.

Starting tomorrow, we’ll look at some of the red-n-black, with particular attention to rubrics and instructions that illustrate good liturgical and pastoral theology.

Meanwhile, comments?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Rite of Dedication of a Church and an Altar, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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