RDCA II, 21-23: Items To Prepare For The Dedication

Section VI of RDCA Chapter II covers, “Requisites for the Dedication of a Church.” We’ll take the first three of these numbered sections 21 through 25 today:

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

a) In the place of assembly:

  • The Roman Pontifical;
  • processional cross;
  • if relics of the saints are to be carried in procession, the items in no. 24a.

b) In the sacristy or in the sanctuary or in the body of the church to be dedicated, as each situation requires:

  • The Roman Missal;
  • The Lectionary;
  • container of water to be blessed and sprinkler;
  • container with the chrism;
  • towels for wiping the table of the altar;
  • if needed, a waxed linen cloth or waterproof covering of the same size as the altar;
  • basin and jug of water, towels, and all that is needed for washing the bishop’s hands and those of the priests after they have anointed the walls of the church;
  • linen gremial;
  • brazier for burning incense or aromatic spices; or grains of incense and small candles to burn on the altar;
  • censer, incense boat and spoon;
  • chalice, corporal, purificators, and hand towel;
  • bread, wine, and water for the celebration of Mass;
  • altar cross, unless there is already a cross in the sanctuary or the cross that is carried in the entrance procession is to be placed near the altar;
  • altar cloth, candles, and candlesticks;
  • flowers, if opportune.

See anything of note, either an omission or inclusion?

This next bit includes an item I haven’t often seen in parish churches. But my parish does have four wall brackets for holding lighted candles. We light them on the dedication anniversary (8 April) and our patronal feast (28 January, or the nearest Sunday).

22. It is praiseworthy to keep the ancient custom of hanging on the walls of the church crosses made of stone, brass, or other suitable material or of having the crosses carved on the walls. Thus twelve or four crosses should be provided, depending on the number of anointings (see no. 16), and fixed here and there at a suitable height on the walls of the church. Beneath each cross a small bracket should be fitted and in it a small candlestick is placed, with a candle to be lighted.


23. For the Mass of the dedication the vestments are white or of some festive color. The following should be prepared:

  • for the bishop: alb, stole, chasuble, mitre, pastoral staff, and pallium, if the bishop has the right to wear one;
  • for the concelebrating priests: the vestments for concelebrating Mass;
  • for the deacons: albs, stoles, and dalmatics;
  • for other ministers: albs or other lawfully approved dress.

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.

8 Responses to RDCA II, 21-23: Items To Prepare For The Dedication

  1. Liam says:

    I wonder if that custom used to depend on whether a church was being consecrated versus dedicated under the preconciliar ritual: if the church was not debt-free, among other things, it could be dedicated but not consecrated. A lot of US parishes were built with debt.

    • David D. says:

      Can you say something of the difference between the dedication and consecration of a church? Looking through some old newspaper archives from the early part of the 20th c., I found various photos recording the consecration of two churches in my old B’klyn neighborhood. The captions seemed to indicate that once consecrated, a church can never be repurposed.

      • Liam says:

        IIRC, if it was blessed but not consecrated, there was no specific ritual for deconsecrating it; if it was consecrated, more would be necessary to deconsecrate it and permit profane use. Consecration did not render a church building immune from being sold or destroyed (otherwise, how on earth did the current St Peter’s basilica get built?)

  2. David D. says:

    From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

    Loss of consecration

    From the axiom in canon law “Consecratio adhæret parietibus Eccelesiæ”, it follows that a church loses its consecration (1) when the walls of the church are totally or in greater part simultaneously demolished; (2) when the inner walls are totally or in greater part simultaneously destroyed by fire; (3) when an addition is made to the walls of the church in length, breadth, or height, greater than the original walls.

  3. The use of the term consecration has been largely restricted in reformed rites, churches are now dedicated and bishops are now ordained. The term still refers to the sacramental changes of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Chrism is still referred to as being consecrated, but even then the Rite in Latin speaks of “confecting” the chrism. The succession of the GIRM, the Rite for Dedication, and CIC, leave the actual timing of setting aside of place for divine worship a bit confusing. Ideally dedication is used for a place to be permanently set apart for divine worship, blessing is used for a places that will be used only for a time, often a chapel or oratory.

    Looking at the Ceremonial of Bishops in the list of things for the celebration of a dedication, it add a humeral veil under 21.b for use if a separate Blessed Sacrament Chapel is to be inaugurated. Under vestments in 23, it also add requires the use of the dalmatic for the bishop, to be used under the chasuble. Also, if you compare other celebration in this rite, note that the used of dalmatics by deacons is also required as opposed to being optional in most of the other ones.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s