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1231 K Thu 1 Aug 2002

The USCCB Committee on the Liturgy have three new liturgical documents posted. Its encouraging to see that they have updated the two guideline documents to include information in the 2002 Roman Missal.

In the Guidelines for Altar Servers, the following changed from the 3 October edition:

6. Servers should normally be vested. This is within the tradition of the Church and prevents difficulties regarding appropriate dress for these ministers. All servers should wear the same liturgical vesture.

To:

6. Acolytes, altar servers, readers, and other lay ministers may wear the alb or other suitable vesture or other appropriate or dignified clothing. (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no.339) All servers should wear the same liturgical vesture.

They have highlighted that a reader "may wear the alb". I think this is an important message, although this does not seem relevant to altar servers. (Update 2 August: I now have a better appreciation of the relevance). The change being made is that altar servers need not wear vestments. But this is confused by retaining the last sentence "All servers should wear the same liturgical vesture."

The other part of the guidelines changed is in the first paragraph, from:

... Such persons may carry out all the functions listed in no. 68, para. 2 and nos. 142-147 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. ...

To:

... Such persons may carry out all the functions listed in no. 100 (with the exception of the distribution of Holy Communion) and nos. 187 - 190 and no. 193 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. ...

The "exception of the distribution of Holy Communion" is confusing. 2000 GIRM 100 has "As well, they may be designated to distribute Holy Communion as extraordinary ministers. [Footnote 85: See Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Intru. Immensae caritatis, January 29, 1973 (hereafter, ICa), no. 1: AAS 65 (1973), pp. 265-266.]"

The Guidelines, n.10, have:

Servers may not distribute holy communion unless they have been mandated for this function by the bishop.

So one part of the guidelines suggests they cannot be given this function, another that they can.

These are minor points of improvement and its still pleasing that there is new information in these areas.

The question on "Non-catholic readers" is not about who should do the readings, but who should proclaim the intercessions. But its encouraging that they should publish a question like that. It is similar to the issue of "Who should proclaim the first reading?" to which the answer should be: "An instituted lector, if available, in accordance with the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal, n. 101."

Posted by J.R. Lilburne, 1 August 2002. Last modified 2 August 2002.

USCCB/liturgy 3 new pages:

Guidelines for Altar Servers

Guidelines for the Concelebration of the Eucharist

Answer on "Non-catholic readers at Mass"