A ZENIT DAILY DISPATCH

Genuflections by Concelebrants

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 rite.

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. ZE05062120
 

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