worship resources

LITURGICAL MINISTRIES

liturgical preparation

SACRAMENTAL CELEBRATIONS

Order of Celebrating Matrimony – Planning Sheets

Spanish Lenten Examination of Conscience (pdf)

Communal Penance Service (Advent or Lent)

ADVENT/CHRISTMAS

ENGLISH

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SPANISH

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LENT

Liturgy Preparation Aid 2023 (Lent/Triduum/Eastertide) from the FDLC

  • A full presider text for a celebration of the Rite of Reconciliation of Several Penitents with Individual Confession and Absolution, Readings, Sample Penances, Music Suggestions, Frequently-asked questions about Lent and the Triduum, a Liturgical Planning Calendar, Lectionary Citations for Year A, and more!

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Ash Wednesday Liturgy of the Word with Distribution of Ashes

  • Because Ash Weds is NOT a day of obligation to attend Mass, it may be pastorally useful to include not only Eucharistic liturgies but also Liturgies of the Word outside of Mass with the distribution of ashes in the schedule for Ash Weds in a Family of Parishes.  This can be led by a deacon or qualified lay minister.

Ash Weds Liturgy of the Word – Presiders Text

ACCESSIBLE WORSHIP

Visit the Office for Persons with Disabilities to find resources on accessible worship including ASL interpretation, sensory-friendly worship considerations, and more!

liturgical evaluation

EVALUATING SEASONAL LITURGIES

Downloadable evaluation tools

These evaluation tools are perfect for parish worship commissions, pastors, and parish staff to evaluate the liturgical celebrations of the seasons.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT WORSHIP

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection is the Sunday after the first full moon (the “new moon” or the “paschal moon”) after the vernal equinox. In a sense, before we can celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus and the redemption of all creation, the earth must be ready, the sun must be ready, even the moon must be ready…all of creation must be prepared to greet the Rising Dawn!  This is the method of computation for Western Christians. The Orthodox continue to follow an older calendar, thus sometimes the Sunday is different.

The translation of each liturgical text around the world is based on a master text in Latin (a “typical edition”) which helps to unify the language used in liturgical prayer throughout the universal Church. In the Latin, the word “one” (unum) is not used in the formula that concludes each Collect, and thus shouldn’t be included in the translated texts, even though it had been since the texts were first translated after Vatican II. Since the third edition of the Roman Missal was re-translated in 2010, the question of adjusting this text in has been considered by both the bishops of English-speaking nations and the Holy See. Finally, in the winter of 2021, the Holy See confirmed the change made by the U.S. bishops to bring the English text back to fidelity to the Latin.  You can find more details here.

#18 of the Roman Missal puts the Nicene Creed in first place, both with chant notation and text. #19 then specifies that “Instead of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, especially during Lent and Easter Time, the baptismal Symbol of the Roman Church, known as the Apostles’ Creed, may be used.”  This gives a clear indication that the Nicene Creed is to be normatively used throughout the year and the Apostles’ Creed could be used during Lent and Easter.  There is no indication that the Apostles’ Creed would be used during other seasons simply because it’s shorter.  Also, when other sacraments or rites are celebrated during Mass (e.g, Baptism or the Rite of Election), the Creed may be omitted.

You can celebrate on the actual anniversary date unless a solemnity of a higher rank is observed.  You can also move the celebration to an adjacent Sunday of Ordinary Time.  If neither of those options work, the Universal Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar specify that the anniversary of the dedication should be celebrated on the Sunday prior to All Saints Day.  Celebrating the anniversary of a church’s dedication is an important solemnity for a faith community.

While singing is always desirable for Mass, these antiphons can be recited as part of the liturgical celebration. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal states that the antiphons are recited by all the faithful, by just some of the faithful, or by a reader; otherwise, they are recited by the priest himself. (GIRM 47)

No.  While the General Instruction of the Roman Missal notes that it is “acceptable” for money or gifts for the poor or for the Church to be brought forward, it is not required.  Many parishes find it helpful or more secure to simply put the collected money away.  Some parishes collect money and secure it in the safe, bringing forward tangible gifts for the poor (e.g. food, clothing, etc.). In any event, the GIRM directs that money or other gifts for the poor, “given their purpose, they are to be put in a suitable place away from the Eucharistic table.” (GIRM 73). It is also not necessary to unduly prolong the Preparation of the Gifts by waiting for such collected items to be brought forward, but if they are brought forward, it would be undesirable that they are placed in a visible way after the Eucharistic Prayer begins with the Preface Dialogue.

The Church does not specify precisely how many intentions may be included in the Universal Prayer, only that they should be “sober, be composed with a wise liberty and in few words, and they should be expressive of the prayer of the entire community.” (GIRM 71)  Normally, 4-6 is sufficient.  The sequence of these prayers should normally flow from the needs of the Church to the needs of the world, then for those in any difficulty, and finally for the local community. (GIRM 69)

No. Those who will minister Holy Communion to others must receive Communion first. “The practice of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion waiting to receive Holy Communion until after the distribution of Holy Communion is not in accord with liturgical law.” (Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion 39). Holy Communion is a gift: a minister receives it and then gives it to another.

No.  In fact, nothing should detract from the centrality of the altar in the sanctuary, even as regards seasonal décor.  An Advent wreath or creche may be placed in the sanctuary, but it should not obscure the centrality of the altar.  The U.S. bishops teach: “The altar should remain clear and free-standing, not walled in by massive floral displays or the Christmas crib, and pathways in the narthex, nave, and sanctuary should remain clear.” (Built of Living Stones 124).  Consider the gathering space, foyer, side chapels, etc. for placement of seasonal devotional symbols rather than the sanctuary itself.

Yes, the Lectionary for Masses with Children may be used in the liturgy, though its status is a little out of the ordinary. The Lectionary was first approved in November 1991, as a response to the provisions in the Directory for Masses with Children (1973) calling for the inclusion of children in the Liturgy of the Word and allowing for adaptations to facilitate their participation. The Holy See gave its provisional confirmation in 1992 for a three-year experimental period and mandated a study of its effectiveness afterward; that confirmation was extended in 1997 and in 2000 to allow the then-NCCB to complete the study and make further recommendations.

As reported in the October-November 2005 Newsletter, a second edition of the Lectionary for Masses with Children was prepared and approved by the Conference in November 2005, but it has never been confirmed by the Holy See. Since the current edition has not been explicitly forbidden, the general interpretation is that it may continue to be used. It should be noted that the instructions within that Lectionary are still effective, and that it may only be used when the clear majority of people attending Mass are children. This generally precludes its use at Sunday Masses, except during a separate Liturgy of the Word for children in an adjacent space.

The Lectionary for Masses with Children is currently sold by Catholic Book Publishing Corp. and available on their website, and at Catholic bookstores.

Yes.  In fact, Lent is a season focused not only on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, but also on baptism: both the preparation of those to be initiated at the Easter Vigil, and also the preparation of all the faithful to renew our own baptismal promises at Easter.  This is why the Church forbids the emptying of baptismal fonts and holy water stoups during Lent (only during the Triduum).

Baptism is not prohibited, and in fact, delaying baptism for 6 weeks may be pastorally undesirable.  That being said, it would best respect the nature of the Lenten Sunday liturgies to celebrate baptism outside of Mass rather than during in this season.

As a proclamation of scripture within the Liturgy of the Word, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal directs that the Responsorial Psalm should be sung from the ambo or another suitable place. (GIRM 61). However, other “suitable places” could include a separate lectern, somewhere in the choir area, or other location.  Particularly if the choir will either intone the antiphon or sing the verses of the psalm, it may make sense for a psalmist to be located in closer proximity to the choir.

During a time of public health concern, it may also make sense for the ambo to be reserved for fewer ministers, and thus it makes sense for the psalmist to sing from elsewhere.

Intinction is the practice of dipping the consecrated Host into the Precious Blood for ministry of Holy Communion under both kinds to the faithful. This is much more common in the Eastern rites, and while permitted by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, it is not a normative practice. There are logistical as well as pastoral issues, and the sign value of drinking from the chalice is important. While it’s a legitimate way for concelebrating priests to receive Communion under both species even during a pandemic (which they are legally bound to do), it is not the preferred form for ministry to the faithful in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati or in the U.S. writ large.

While the rubrics of the missal don’t explicitly state that the paschal candle is new each year, this is assumed for a few reasons.  First, an object that is already blessed need not ordinarily be blessed again, and the blessing of the candle is a normative part of the Easter Vigil liturgy itself.  Second, the inscription of the candle with the current year is also a normative part of the Easter Vigil liturgy itself, which presumes that the candle is not already dated. Thus the implicit assumption is that the paschal candle is new each Easter.  This is theologically consistent with the themes of newness that undergird Eastertide generally.  A previous year’s paschal candle could possibly be stripped of the year and used in a chapel or kept as a backup should the current year’s be damaged in any way.

Generally, no. In earlier liturgical practice, confessions were routinely heard during Mass. This was possibly due to the fact that the accepted norm prior to the liturgical reform of St. Paul VI saw one’s obligation to assist at Mass fulfilled by attending from the Offertory of the Mass onward and thus the faithful often engaged in other liturgical and devotional practices up to that point of the Mass (including praying the rosary, reading their own devotional texts, and – yes – going to confession.) 

There is no prohibition strictly speaking about the Sacrament of Penance being offered at the same time as Mass, though the Rite of Penance does state that “[The faithful] should be encouraged to approach the Sacrament of Penance at times when Mass is not being celebrated” (n. 13).  This has a practical value in that everyone who is participating in Mass should not be distracted by anything else, including the Sacrament of Penance. Therefore, it is highly laudable that only those NOT participating in Mass should be celebrating the Sacrament of Penance while Mass is going on. The idea of “2-for-1,” i.e. going to confession while the Mass I’m participating in is happening, is not ideal and detracts from the vision of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal that says that ”the entire celebration [of the Mass] is arranged in such a way that leads to a conscious, active, and full participation of the faithful, namely, in body and in mind, a participation fervent with faith, hope, and charity, of the sort which is desired by the Church and which is required by the very nature of the celebration and to which the Christian people have a right and duty in virtue of their Baptism” (n. 18).  So, if confessions are regularly scheduled during Mass (a practice to be discouraged for the above reasons), catechesis should be provided to ensure the faithful know that confession should precede Mass whenever possible, and not take place while they are participating in Mass to fulfill their Sunday obligation. 

Parishes should ensure adequate times outside of Mass during which the Sacrament of Penance can be celebrated.  A mere 30 minutes on Saturday afternoon before the anticipated Mass may not be enough and likely isn’t a great time for many people.  Consider the most generous schedule, ensure confessors are always present when scheduled, and encourage the faithful to come. 

An ancient tradition in the Roman Rite is to announce the date of Easter and the other moveable feasts (i.e. those not assigned to a particular date on the secular calendar) each year on the Solemnity of the Epiphany.  This so-called “Epiphany Proclamation” is described in the current edition of the Roman Missal in this way: “Where it is the practice, if appropriate, the moveable Feasts of the current year may be proclaimed after the Gospel” and then indicates that you can find this among the various chants in the back of the missal.  The chant is sung by a deacon or cantor from the ambo.  Be sure to consult your liturgical calendar or ordo for the coming year to sing the proper dates! 

Even if you have never done this before in your parish, consider this ritual for one or more of your Masses for Epiphany. This will help to strengthen the connection between the Christmas and Easter feasts, reminding us that the Incarnation is fundamentally connected to the Paschal Mystery. 

The General Introduction to the Lectionary specifies that “it is very desirable that cathedrals and at least the larger, more populous parishes and the churches with a larger attendance possess a beautifully designed Book of Gospels, separate from any other book of readings.” Since the proclamation of the Gospel is the high point of the Liturgy of the Word and stands apart from the other proclamations of sacred scripture, it is appropriate for the deacon (or in his absence, a reader) to carry this book in the Entrance Procession and place it on the altar, and then bring it to the ambo during the Gospel Procession. The Book of the Gospels (or Evangelary) may be used on Sundays and more solemn days.  Not every Gospel pericope is included in the book (for example, weekdays are omitted) so if a passage is included, the book may generally be used.

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal envisions that periods of silence be observed at specific points during each Mass.  GIRM 45 states that the nature of silence “depends on the moment when it occurs in the different parts of the celebration.  For in the Penitential Act and again after the invitation Let us pray, individuals recollect themselves; whereas after a reading or after the Homily, all meditate briefly on what they have heard; then after Communion, they praise God in their hearts and pray to him.” And, of course, before Mass begins, silence in the church is helpful as people prepare for the liturgy. We should not simply move from one ritual to the next with no opportunity for silence in between; use the GIRM as the guide for incorporating silence into the Mass. As you consider how the liturgy is celebrated in your parish or school, make sure that silence is observed at the appropriate times to allow God to speak to our hearts!

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