Q. What determines which of the eucharistic prayers is used at Sunday Mass? When I try to follow along in my missalette, I often lose my place at this point, because I am trying to figure out which eucharistic prayer the celebrant has chosen. Is it simply up to him? I know that you’re probably thinking that I shouldn’t be reading the missalette at that point anyhow, just listening to the priest. But I have a learning disability and become quickly distracted hearing the spoken word alone. (Superior, Wis.)
A. The Roman Missal contains four general eucharistic prayers, another two on the theme of reconciliation as well as a eucharistic prayer for Masses for various needs and occasions, which has four variations. In addition, there are three eucharistic prayers for Masses with children, but those are now published in a separate volume.
To answer your question, the choice of which one to use is left pretty much to the priest-celebrant’s discretion. There are, however, in No. 365 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, some guidelines that help the priest decide which prayer might be most appropriate — with respect, at least, to the four basic options.
The Eucharistic Prayer 1 (sometimes referred to by its former title, the “Roman Canon”) is especially appropriate on major feasts, since it provides for references to that feast to be included in the prayer itself. It is also suitable on feast days of those saints who are mentioned by name in the prayer.
Eucharistic Prayer 2 is the briefest of the four options and for that reason is often used for weekday Masses.
Eucharistic Prayer 3 is “preferred on Sundays and festive days,” and Eucharistic Prayer 4, which is the lengthiest of the four, “gives a fuller summary of salvation history.” (I tend to use this one when I am celebrating with a congregation that is especially in touch with biblical theology or, sometimes, as a change of pace with a weekday congregation.)
For your purposes, in trying to find quickly in your missalette the particular prayer the priest has chosen, I would suggest that if you turn first on weekdays to Eucharistic Prayer 2 and on Sundays to Eucharistic Prayer 3, the odds will be with you.
Q. In our diocesan newspaper, I have noticed pictures of deacons in what I have always considered to be “priests’ collars.” I am curious as to when this practice started and why. I know that the number of new priests has decreased dramatically in the last few decades. Is this new look for “appearances”? (Harrisonburg, Va.)
A. There are two categories of Roman Catholic deacons. Those referred to as “transitional” deacons are those who are on their way to becoming priests. They are normally ordained to the diaconate one year before priesthood.
On the other hand, permanent deacons are not on the path to the priesthood. They often have full-time jobs in secular professions and many of them are married. Deacons of either type are members of the clergy. They can preach at Mass and administer the sacraments of baptism and matrimony.
Transitional deacons, as far back as my seminary days in the 1960s and probably beyond, have customarily worn clerical attire when going out to parishes for diaconal ministry.
The permanent diaconate was restored to the Catholic Church in the early 1970s, and I am assuming that your question probably relates to permanent deacons, since there are some 15,000 of them in the U.S. but only a few hundred transitional deacons.
Permanent deacons most often do not wear clerical collars. In fact, national guidelines for deacons say that “because they (permanent deacons) are prominent and active in secular professions and society, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops specifies that permanent deacons should resemble the lay faithful in dress and matters of lifestyle.”
The guidelines go on to say, however, that each bishop has the prerogative of determining the proper attire for permanent deacons within his own diocese.
Some dioceses prohibit clerical collars. Some grant it to the deacon himself to determine the occasions on which the collar will enhance his ministry. Many dioceses — perhaps most — generally discourage clerical attire but make exceptions when a deacon is involved in hospital or prison ministry.
At least one diocese directs that, when deacons dress in clerical collar, they wear a gray shirt (rather than black, as a priest would wear).
Questions to Father Doyle may be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 40 Hopewell St., Albany, NY 12208.
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Dear father Doyle:
My English is no so good, for this reason I have to read the mass book all the time, but I loss when to try fallow the eaucharistic prayer, today I was looking how to read and I found my answer…
Thank so much….God Blessing You….
I agree with the lady who loses her place in the Missal. Some of us can’t always hear what the Priest is saying, and the Missal makes it easier. They tell us to buy these Missals, which are not like the one I used as a child, good “forever” we thought, with the last one fairly recently. We should be able to use them! They want us to follow all the changes, and then it’s like they are going “Psych!”, as the kids do, fooling us on the prayer used! At this point I also give up on the Missal and just try to hear the Priest, but the thought in my mind is that this is NOT easier than the Mass of my childhood!
It is not priest attire it is clerical attire and I find it odd indeed that the church does not allow our clergy wear clerical attire, but does let religious brothers who are NOT clergy wear clerical attire. Some seminaries allow their non-ordained seminarians to wear clerical attire too.
To me a deacon NOT in clerical attire is a bad as nuns NOT in habit. Is the church embarrassed by deacons that they want to hide them?
The confusion argument is ridiculous (as already stated) non-clergy wear clerical attire, and other faith traditions wear it too.
Bishops need to really check their motive if they are denying these holy deacons the right to dress as clerics.
Are priests so insecure that they want to exclude their brother clerics from clerical rights?
I have 2 questions:
1. I understood that the Roman collar is worn by priests, deacons, and often by seminarians. However, there are many times that the priest does not wear the collar, yet there is someone who has not yet entered the seminary who is allowed to wear the Roman collar, as well as the surplus that is usually reserved for deacons and priests. If one is not yet in a seminar, are they still allowed – I guess by the parish priest – to wear the Roman collar?
2. I thought that “multiplicity of roles” during the same Mass was “out”?
I’ve notice that one individual performs the role of acolyte, lector, and Eucharistic minister – all in the same Mass. Oftentimes, there are lectors and/or Extraordinary Ministers in Church, but they are not asked to come up. Has something changed?