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Diocesan Priorities

In 2004, Bishop McGrath established several liturgical priorities for the diocese in light of the new General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Bishop McGrath continues to hold these as priorities for our diocese, namely:

  • provide Communion from the cup to all the faithful at every Sunday and feast day Mass; the Bishop also encourages worshiping communities to do this for daily Mass, when possible;
  • ensure that the faithful receive Communion from hosts consecrated at that Mass and not hosts from the tabernacle;
  • observe a unified posture during the Eucharistic Prayer, whether it is kneeling at the appointed time or standing throughout if your parish has had a custom of standing; except for those unable to take the assembly's unified posture because of health, injury, or age, at no time should the assembly be visibly divided in its posture, with some standing and some kneeling;
  • remain standing after the Agnus Dei; and
  • stand and sing from the beginning to the end of the distribution of Communion after any remaining consecrated hosts have been placed in the tabernacle (or when it is best for the entire assembly, depending on the church architecture, to be seated after all have received Communion)

Bishop McGrath is grateful that, over these last seven years, these priorities have become the normative practice in the majority of parishes and communities. He asks that all communities continue to attend to these norms and to strengthen their practice where it may be lacking or inconsistent.

The following are practices that were also included in the GIRM and are now also to be implemented.

Other liturgical practices to be implemented over this next year

  • all make a profound bow at the words in the Creed, et incarnatus est, “by the power of the Holy Spirit…became man” (2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 137)
  • the assembly stands before the beginning of the invitation, Orate, fratres, “Pray, brethren..." (GIRM, 43);
  • assemblies that remain standing throughout the Eucharistic Prayer make a profound bow as the priest genuflects after the consecration of the Blessed Sacrament and of the Precious Blood (GIRM, 43);
  • during Communion, communicants bow their head before the Sacrament as they receive the Body and Blood of the Lord (GIRM, 160);
  • brief, intentional silence follows “Let us pray” in the collects (GIRM, 45, 54, 165);
  • the celebrant takes Communion before giving Communion to the ministers and the assembly (Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion, 38)

Over the last several years, many parishes have already implemented these additional but relatively simple liturgical practices established by the GIRM and the national Norms for the Distribution of Holy Communion. Bishop McGrath only wishes to clarify that these normative practices should be given attention over this next year if they are not yet in place in your parish.