Clarification on the Proper Posture During the Eucharistic Prayer
In recent weeks, the Secretariat for the Liturgy has received several inquiries concerning the proper posture for the faithful during the Eucharistic Prayer. Due to the wide variety in practice prior to the promulgation of the USA adaptations to the Roman Missal as particular law on April 25, 2002 (see BCL Newsletter, May, 2002), a certain confusion in this regard is understandable.
The General Instruction to the Roman Missal, paragraph 42, was adapted by the Bishops in regard to this question. It reads:
In the dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration.The only licit posture of the faithful during the Eucharistic Prayer is kneeling, unless they are prevented on occasion from kneeling due to " health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason." The determination of what constitutes "some other good reason" is best made by the Diocesan Bishop.
The phrase on occasion was specifically chosen by the Bishops in order to establish a uniform posture of kneeling during the Eucharistic Prayer. It is only on exceptional and extraordinary occasions, therefore, and never on a regular basis, that standing during the Eucharistic Prayer is permitted in the dioceses of the United States of America.
The new Roman Missal and the adaptations approved and confirmed for the Dioceses of the United States of America make several minor changes to the posture of the faithful at Mass. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal notes that the posture of the people "ought to draw things together in such a way that the entire celebration shines with beauty and noble simplicity, the true and full meaning of the different parts of the celebration is perceived, and that the participation of all is encouraged." (GIRM, no. 42) Therefore, closer attention should be paid to the postures prescribed by the liturgical books than to "private inclination or arbitrary choice." (GIRM, no. 42)
The following chart is provided to assist in catechesis for the proper common posture at Mass. These provisions will, likewise, be incorporated into popular participation aids in the near future.
|From the beginning of Mass until the First Reading||STAND|
|From the first Reading until the Gospel Acclamation||SIT|
|From the Gospel Acclamation until the end of the Gospel||STAND|
|During the Homily||SIT|
|From the Profession of Faith until the end of the General Intercessions||STAND|
|From the Preparation of the Gifts to the completion of Pray brethren||SIT|
|From the beginning of the peoples' response May the Lord to the beginning of the Holy, Holy||STAND|
|From the completion of the Holy, Holy until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer 1||KNEEL|
|From the beginning of the Our Father until the completion of the Lamb of God.||STAND|
|From the completion of the Lamb of God (at the Behold the Lamb of God ) until the Distribution of Holy Communion 2||KNEEL|
|When Receiving Holy Communion 3||STAND|
|During the sacred silence after the Distribution of Holy Communion||SIT OR KNEEL|
|From the beginning of the Prayer after Communion until the end of Mass.||STAND|
- The people may stand when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason.
- The diocesan bishop may determine that the people should stand after the Agnus Dei (at the Behold the Lamb of God
- The norm for the reception of communion is standing. Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion because they kneel. Rather, such instances should be addressed by providing the communicant with a catechesis on the reason for the norm.
When receiving communion standing, the communicant is to bow his or her head before receiving the Body of the Lord. When receiving under both kinds, the communicant also bows his or her head before receiving the Precious Blood. Communion may be received on the tongue or in the hand at the discretion of the communicant.
Meeting of the Hispanic Liturgy Subcommittee
The Hispanic Liturgy Subcommittee of the BCL met at Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA September 16-17. The Chair is Bishop Carlos A. Sevilla of Yakima, WA. Sister Doris Mary Turek, SSND serves as staff to the Subcommittee. The group rejoiced at the long awaited publication of the Exequias in Spanish by The Liturgical Press and awaits the bilingual edition which is expected later this year. The current status of the Bendicional, Rito del Bautismo de Niρos, Leccionario for the United States was discussed. However the entire work of the members at this meeting centered on completing revisions of a working document of the Rito del Matrimonio. The goal is to produce a final document very soon. Upcoming projects include the publication of the Bendicional and the Leccionario.
ICEL Episcopal Board Meeting
The Episcopal Board of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) met in Ottawa from July 29th to August 1st and subsequently announced the revision of the mixed commission's statutes. The revised statutes will be presented to the USCCB membership at the November plenary meeting by Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., USCC Liaison to ICEL. The Episcopal Board also announced the election of a new slate of officers: Bishop Arthur Roche, the newly appointed coadjutor bishop of Leeds, was elected chairman, succeeding Bishop Maurice Taylor. Also elected to the executive committee were Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore, Ireland (secretary), Bishop Douglas Crosby, Labrador City-Schefferville, Canada (vice-chairman) and Cardinal George (treasurer). Finally, it was announced that the board has appointed Father Bruce Harbert, a priest of the diocese of Birmingham, England, as Executive Director of the ICEL Secretariat, replacing Dr. John Page. Pastor of Saint Anne, Streetly, West Midlands, Father Harbert recently served as a a visiting faculty member at the Liturgical Institute of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. He holds an M. Phil. from Oxford University and an S.T.L. from the Pontifical Augustianum Institute. Father Harbert has completed specialized studies in classical languages and literature as well as medieval English and Latin, and served for nine years as Lecturer in Dogmatic Theology at St. Mary's College, Oscott, major seminary for the Archdiocese of Birmingham.The Committee on the Liturgy congratulates Bishop Roche and Father Harbert and looks forward to benefitting from their generous service in the years to come.
New Executive Director of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions
Rev. John Burton, Chair of the FDLC Board of Directors announced that the FDLC Executive Committee has appointed Lisa Tarker as the new FDLC Executive Director, beginning September 2002. In announcing the appointment Fr. Burton said, "Lisa comes to us from NPM, where she worked for the past twelve years as coordinator for regional and national conventions. As well as extensive experience in meeting planning, Lisa possesses strong background in liturgy, fine adminstrative skills and an excellent grasp of the nature and mission of the FLDC".
Ms. Tarker did graduate studies in liturgy and spirituality at the Catholic University of America and was employed as Membership Director of the Liturgical Conference for four years before joining NPM as the Convention Coordinator in 1989. Ms. Tarker has also been involved in parish ministry at St.. Bartholomew's Church in Bethesda, MD, serving as liturgy committee chair, lector and co-chair of a social concerns committee. Ms. Tarker stated, "I am honored to be the second lay Executive Director of FDLC, following in the footsteps of so many talented and respected men. I am grateful to the Board of Directors for entrusting me with the position. The Federation is vital to the liturgical life of the American Church and I am excited to be a part of it".
Correction on Adaptations to the Roman Missal
A typographical error in the USA Adaptations as they appeared in the May, 2002 edition of the BCL Newsletter should be noted. The second paragraph of the USA adaptation to number 160, paragraph 2 should begin: "When receiving Holy Communion standing, the communicant bows his or her head before the sacrament..." Due a typographical error, the word "standing" was incorrectly replaced with the words "in the hand." The corrected text currently appears on the BCL website. In addition, the last line of the USA adaptation to the third sentence in number 48 should end with a reference to GIRM, no. 47 and NOT 48. No. 47 describes the nature of the Cantus ad Introitum.
In Paradisum Deducante Angeli
Father John Rotelle, O.S.A., who served as the second Executive Director of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, has died at the age of 63. A funeral Mass was celebrated for him at Villanova University on September 4, 2002.
A member of the staff of the Consilium for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy from the late 1960's, his considerable expertise in patristics contributed significantly to the reform of the Liturgia Horarum.
After five years as Associate Director of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, he succeeded Monsignor Frederick R. McManus in 1975, working over the next three years with BCL Chairs, Archbishop John R. Quinn and Bishop Rene H. Gracida, Upon Father Rotelle's departure from the BCL in 1978, Bishop Thomas Kelly noted that Father Rotelle "has served the Conference, the Church, and the liturgical life of this country with outstanding ability, zeal and dedication."
Father Rotelle's notable service to the International Commission on English in the Liturgy began in 1973 with his appointment as acting executive secretary and continued with his appointment as Executive Secretary in 1978, a post he occupied for the next two years.
Always devoted to the Augustinian Order, he served as Director of Communications, Director of the Augustinian Press, Province Secretary and spiritual director for the Augustinian Seculars for the Augustinian Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova. His work with the publication of the writings of St. Augustine and the Augustinian Heritage provided a valuable resource for the ages to come.
Over the past few years, we have observed that many of the pioneers of the liturgical reform have completed their life's journey and entered the heavenly halls. God truly blessed the Church with men and women, blessed with a variety of gifts, who helped to implement the reform of the Second Vatican Council. Fr. John Rotelle was one of the lights that lead the way and we pray that he now rests in Christ, the Light of the nations.
you gave to your servant, John,
a share in the Priesthood of Christ your Son,
and through his untiring service
you gave to us a deeper understanding of the reform of the Sacred Liturgy
as begun by the fathers of the Second Vatican Council.
Reward him for his labors, Lord, and bring him to that Heavenly Liturgy
where your saints and angels praise you for ever.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen