|ROME, 21 JUNE 2005 (ZENIT)
Answered by Father Edward McNamara,
professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University.
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Q: No. 242 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal states that
at Communion time at a concelebrated Mass, the concelebrants, one after
another, come to the middle of the altar, genuflect and reverently take
the Body of Christ from the altar and return to their places. This
number concludes by saying that concelebrants may also remain in their
places and take the Body of Christ from the paten presented to them by
the principal celebrant or by one or more of the concelebrants, or by
passing the paten one to another. These last two options apply similarly
to receiving the Blood of the Lord. These last two options, however, do
not make any mention of a reverence (genuflection) to be given by the
concelebrants before receiving. Is the genuflection by concelebrants
omitted when the last two options are employed, or is the genuflection
made with the celebrant when he has finished the prayer before
Communion? This would seem to be appropriate, but there is no mention
that it should be done.
B.C., New York
A: The reason why no mention is made of reverence or genuflections is
probably due to the practical nature of the question at hand.
While all of the options are legitimate modes for concelebrants to
partake of Communion, the first form
approaching the altar and making a genuflection
is the most common, liturgically preferable, and most dignified manner
of doing so.
The other forms are usually adopted in particular situations such as a
large number of concelebrants, constricted space, complex logistics or
for some other practical reason.
The motivations that suggest opting for the other forms of Communion
oftentimes involve a simultaneous impediment in performing gestures such
as genuflections or else doing so would unduly prolong the Communion
They seemingly also impede the possibility of all the concelebrants
making the genuflection together. This is an option not considered in
the norms as they almost invariably connect the genuflection with the
immediate taking of Communion on the part of the priest
and this would not be the case here.
Thus, in writing the norms, the competent authority probably thought
best to omit the genuflections from this form of the rite so that it
would be as widely applicable as possible and not give rise to endless
discussions based on the particular feasibility in each circumstance.