The Usher Board (The Blessed Hands Trilogy Book 2)

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The procession bringing the gifts is accompanied by the Offertory chant cf. The norms on the manner of singing are the same as for the Entrance chant cf. Singing may always accompany the rite at the offertory, even when there is no procession with the gifts. The bread and wine are placed on the altar by the priest to the accompaniment of the prescribed formulas.

Next, the priest, because of his sacred ministry, and the people, by reason of their baptismal dignity, may be incensed by the deacon or another minister. The priest then washes his hands at the side of the altar, a rite that is an expression of his desire for interior purification. Once the offerings have been placed on the altar and the accompanying rites completed, the invitation to pray with the priest and the prayer over the offerings conclude the preparation of the gifts and prepare for the Eucharistic Prayer. If, however, the Son is mentioned at the end of this prayer, the conclusion is, Qui vivit et regnat in saecula saeculorum Who lives and reigns forever and ever.

Now the center and summit of the entire celebration begins: namely, the Eucharistic Prayer, that is, the prayer of thanksgiving and sanctification. The priest invites the people to lift up their hearts to the Lord in prayer and thanksgiving; he unites the congregation with himself in the prayer that he addresses in the name of the entire community to God the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.

Furthermore, the meaning of the Prayer is that the entire congregation of the faithful should join itself with Christ in confessing the great deeds of God and in the offering of Sacrifice. The Eucharistic Prayer demands that all listen to it with reverence and in silence. The chief elements making up the Eucharistic Prayer may be distinguished in this way:. Thanksgiving expressed especially in the Preface : In which the priest, in the name of the entire holy people, glorifies God the Father and gives thanks for the whole work of salvation or for some special aspect of it that corresponds to the day, festivity, or season.

Acclamation : In which the whole congregation, joining with the heavenly powers, sings the Sanctus. This acclamation, which is part of the Eucharistic Prayer itself, is sung or said by all the people with the priest. Institution narrative and consecration : In which, by means of words and actions of Christ, the Sacrifice is carried out which Christ himself instituted at the Last Supper, when he offered his Body and Blood under the species of bread and wine, gave them to his Apostles to eat and drink, and left them the command to perpetuate this same mystery.

Anamnesis : In which the Church, fulfilling the command that she received from Christ the Lord through the Apostles, keeps the memorial of Christ, recalling especially his blessed Passion, glorious Resurrection, and Ascension into heaven. The Communion Rite.

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This is the sense of the fraction and the other preparatory rites by which the faithful are led directly to Communion. The priest says the invitation to the prayer, and all the faithful say it with him; the priest alone adds the embolism, which the people conclude with a doxology. The invitation, the Prayer itself, the embolism, and the doxology by which the people conclude these things are sung or said aloud.

The Rite of Peace follows, by which the Church asks for peace and unity for herself and for the whole human family, and the faithful express to each other their ecclesial communion and mutual charity before communicating in the Sacrament. As for the sign of peace to be given, the manner is to be established by Conferences of Bishops in accordance with the culture and customs of the peoples.

It is, however, appropriate that each person offer the sign of peace only to those who are nearest and in a sober manner.


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The priest breaks the Eucharistic Bread, assisted, if the case calls for it, by the deacon or a concelebrant. The fraction or breaking of bread is begun after the sign of peace and is carried out with proper reverence, though it should not be unnecessarily prolonged, nor should it be accorded undue importance. This rite is reserved to the priest and the deacon. The priest breaks the Bread and puts a piece of the host into the chalice to signify the unity of the Body and Blood of the Lord in the work of salvation, namely, of the living and glorious Body of Jesus Christ.


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  • The supplication Agnus Dei , is, as a rule, sung by the choir or cantor with the congregation responding; or it is, at least, recited aloud. This invocation accompanies the fraction and, for this reason, may be repeated as many times as necessary until the rite has reached its conclusion, the last time ending with the words dona nobis pacem grant us peace. The faithful do the same, praying silently. The priest next shows the faithful the Eucharistic Bread, holding it above the paten or above the chalice, and invites them to the banquet of Christ.

    Along with the faithful, he then makes an act of humility using the prescribed words taken from the Gospels. While the priest is receiving the Sacrament, the Communion chant is begun. The singing is continued for as long as the Sacrament is being administered to the faithful. In the dioceses of the United States of America there are four options for the Communion chant: 1 the antiphon from The Roman Missal or the Psalm from the Roman Gradual as set to music there or in another musical setting; 2 the seasonal antiphon and Psalm of the Simple Gradual ; 3 a song from another collection of psalms and antiphons, approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or the diocesan Bishop, including psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; 4 a suitable liturgical song chosen in accordance with no.

    This is sung either by the choir alone or by the choir or cantor with the people. If there is no singing, however, the Communion antiphon found in the Missal may be recited either by the faithful, or by some of them, or by a lector.

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    Otherwise the priest himself says it after he has received Communion and before he distributes Communion to the faithful. When the distribution of Communion is finished, as circumstances suggest, the priest and faithful spend some time praying privately.

    If desired, a psalm or other canticle of praise or a hymn may also be sung by the entire congregation. To bring to completion the prayer of the People of God, and also to conclude the entire Communion Rite, the priest says the Prayer after Communion, in which he prays for the fruits of the mystery just celebrated.

    In the Mass only one prayer after Communion is said, which ends with a shorter conclusion; that is,. If the prayer is directed to the Father: Per Christum Dominum nostrum Through Christ our Lord ; If it is directed to the Father, but the Son is mentioned at the end: Qui vivit et regnat in saecula saeculorum Who lives and reigns forever and ever ; If it is directed to the Son : Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum You live and reign forever and ever.

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    The people make the prayer their own by the acclamation, Amen. The Eucharistic celebration is an action of Christ and the Church, namely, the holy people united and ordered under the Bishop. It therefore pertains to the whole Body of the Church, manifests it, and has its effect upon it. It also affects the individual members of the Church in different ways, according to their different orders, offices, and actual participation. Every legitimate celebration of the Eucharist is directed by the Bishop, either in person or through priests who are his helpers.

    Whenever the Bishop is present at a Mass where the people are gathered, it is most fitting that he himself celebrate the Eucharist and associate priests with himself as concelebrants in the sacred action. Even if the Bishop does not celebrate the Eucharist but has assigned someone else to do this, it is appropriate that he should preside over the Liturgy of the Word, wearing the pectoral cross, stole, and cope over an alb, and that he give the blessing at the end of Mass.

    A priest also, who possesses within the Church the power of Holy Orders to offer sacrifice in the person of Christ, [81] stands for this reason at the head of the faithful people gathered together here and now, presides over their prayer, proclaims the message of salvation to them, associates the people with himself in the offering of sacrifice through Christ in the Holy Spirit to God the Father, gives his brothers and sisters the Bread of eternal life, and partakes of it with them.

    When he celebrates the Eucharist, therefore, he must serve God and the people with dignity and humility, and by his bearing and by the way he says the divine words he must convey to the faithful the living presence of Christ. After the priest, the deacon, in virtue of the sacred ordination he has received, holds first place among those who minister in the Eucharistic Celebration. For the sacred Order of the diaconate has been held in high honor in the Church even from the time of the Apostles.

    In the celebration of Mass the faithful form a holy people, a people whom God has made his own, a royal priesthood, so that they may give thanks to God and offer the spotless Victim not only through the hands of the priest but also together with him, and so that they may learn to offer themselves.

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    Thus, they are to shun any appearance of individualism or division, keeping before their eyes that they have only one Father in heaven and accordingly are all brothers and sisters to each other. This unity is beautifully apparent from the gestures and postures observed in common by the faithful. The faithful, moreover, should not refuse to serve the People of God gladly whenever they are asked to perform some particular ministry or function in the celebration.

    The acolyte is instituted to serve at the altar and to assist the priest and deacon. In particular, it is his responsibility to prepare the altar and the sacred vessels and, if it is necessary, as an extraordinary minister, to distribute the Eucharist to the faithful.

    In the ministry of the altar, the acolyte has his own functions cf. The lector is instituted to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture, with the exception of the Gospel. He may also announce the intentions for the Prayer of the Faithful and, in the absence of a psalmist, proclaim the Psalm between the readings. In the Eucharistic Celebration, the lector has his own proper office cf.

    In the absence of an instituted acolyte, lay ministers may be deputed to serve at the altar and assist the priest and the deacon; they may carry the cross, the candles, the thurible, the bread, the wine, and the water, and they may also be deputed to distribute Holy Communion as extraordinary ministers. In the absence of an instituted lector, other laypersons may be commissioned to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture.

    They should be truly suited to perform this function and should receive careful preparation, so that the faithful by listening to the readings from the sacred texts may develop in their hearts a warm and living love for Sacred Scripture. To fulfill this function correctly, it is necessary that the psalmist have the ability for singing and a facility in correct pronunciation and diction.

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    Among the faithful, the schola cantorum or choir exercises its own liturgical function, ensuring that the parts proper to it, in keeping with the different types of chants, are properly carried out and fostering the active participation of the faithful through the singing. When in fact there is no choir, it is up to the cantor to lead the different chants, with the people taking part. The sacristan, who carefully arranges the liturgical books, the vestments, and other things necessary in the celebration of Mass. The commentator, who provides the faithful, when appropriate, with brief explanations and commentaries with the purpose of introducing them to the celebration and preparing them to understand it better.

    In performing this function the commentator stands in an appropriate place facing the faithful, but not at the ambo. Those who take up the collection in the church. Those who, in some places, meet the faithful at the church entrance, lead them to appropriate places, and direct processions. It is appropriate, at least in cathedrals and in larger churches, to have some competent minister, that is to say a master of ceremonies, to oversee the proper planning of sacred actions and their being carried out by the sacred ministers and the lay faithful with decorum, order, and devotion.

    The liturgical duties that are not proper to the priest or the deacon and are listed in nos. One and the same priest celebrant must always exercise the presidential office in all of its parts, except for those parts which are proper to a Mass at which the Bishop is present cf. If there are several persons present who are able to exercise the same ministry, nothing forbids their distributing among themselves and performing different parts of the same ministry or duty. For example, one deacon may be assigned to take the sung parts, another to serve at the altar; if there are several readings, it is well to distribute them among a number of lectors.

    The same applies for the other ministries. But it is not at all appropriate that several persons divide a single element of the celebration among themselves, e. If only one minister is present at a Mass with a congregation, that minister may exercise several different duties. Among all who are involved with regard to the rites, pastoral aspects, and music there should be harmony and diligence in the effective preparation of each liturgical celebration in accord with the Missal and other liturgical books. This should take place under the direction of the rector of the church and after the consultation with the faithful about things that directly pertain to them.

    The priest who presides at the celebration, however, always retains the right of arranging those things that are his own responsibility. In the local Church, first place should certainly be given, because of its significance, to the Mass at which the Bishop presides, surrounded by his presbyterate, deacons, and lay ministers, [91] and in which the holy people of God participate fully and actively, for it is there that the preeminent expression of the Church is found.

    At a Mass celebrated by the Bishop or at which he presides without celebrating the Eucharist, the norms found in the Caeremoniale Episcoporum should be observed.

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