Chapter 1: The Need for an Assisting Minister
27. Mass should normally have at least two people in the entrance procession. If there are only two, one will do the functions of the celebrant and the other will do the functions of the minister. Both should sit in the sanctuary and wear approved attire.
28. The functions of the minister may be performed by an instituted acolyte, a deacon, an instituted reader, a concelebrant, or a lay person. The suitability of a lay person is determined by the Parish Priest or Church Rector (IG 107).
29. In IG 254 it says "Mass should not be celebrated without a minister or at least some of the faithful except for a just and reasonable cause." For Mass with a congregation: "As far as possible, and especially on Sundays and holy days of obligation, this Mass should be celebrated with liturgical song and with a suitable number of ministers. But it may be celebrated without music and with only one minister. ... It is desirable that as a rule an acolyte, a reader, and a cantor assist the priest celebrant." (IG 115-116)
30. Two tasks in the Mass are described as being performed by a person other than the celebrant.
- Taking the corporal, chalice, Missal, and purificator from the side table and placing them on the altar (IG 139, GIRM 100).
- Pouring water on the priest's hands when he washes them (IG 145, GIRM 106).
31. If there is no minister, and the celebrant does these tasks himself, then these instructions in the liturgical books are not being followed. This may only be done for a "just and reasonable cause".
32. Some functions of the minister will be physically impossible for the celebrant to do, (although they may be optional):
- Presenting the book, while the priest proclaims the prayers and makes the gestures with his hands.
- Carrying the thurible.
- Ringing the bell at the showing of the host and chalice after the consecration.
- Assisting in distributing communion under both kinds (although this can be done by another person).
33. Parts of the Mass may be performed by the celebrant, the minister or a lay person:
- Saying the entrance antiphon and communion antiphon
- Introducing the Mass after the Celebrant's greeting (IG 50, GIRM 29)
- Singing the Kyrie (IG 52, GIRM 30)
- Starting the Gloria (IG 53)
- Reading the first reading, the Responsorial Psalm, and second reading
- Singing the Alleluia or verse before the Gospel
- Singing the Sequence
- Starting the Profession of Faith
- Reading the general intercessions (after the celebrant starts and finishes them)
- Starting the hymns
34. All these functions could be performed by the one minister, in accordance with IG 110: "If only one minister is present at a Mass with a congregation, that minister may exercise several different functions."
Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 18 March 2002. Last updated 15 April 2002.