Instruction regarding the Celebration of the Holy Mass in the Presence of a Jurisdictional Bishop

10 October A.D. 2012

In accordance with long-standing ecclesiastical tradition, the following points are clarified and confirmed as liturgical norms for all Sees within the Old Holy Roman Church of the English Rite.

1. If an auxiliary bishop or a bishop is assisting at mass not in his own diocese, then he wears the mantelletta and occupies the first seat in choir (or lesser seat if there is a more senior prelate present and sitting in choir). If a bishop, however, assists at mass in his own diocese, he does so either in cope and mitre (with crosier), or the cappa magna if he is to sit on the throne, or else the mozzetta, with or without episcopal stole, if he is to occupy the first seat in choir. Note, however, that the mozzetta may be worn while sitting on the throne if it is a low mass without solemnity. If the bishop sits in the choir, he does not have the usual attendants or participate in any way as detailed for a bishop presiding from the throne below, except that he does give the indulgences and the pontifical blessing at the end of the mass. And note also that if the Celebrant is another bishop, then the bishop may delegate all blessings in the mass to him except for the indulgences after the sermon, though he may also retain the right to give the pontifical blessing at the end of the mass as well.

2. The bishop arrives at the church as usual. Vested in cope or cappa, he processes with his household and attendants behind the Celebrant. The Celebrant and other ministers of the mass step out of the way after reverencing the altar, the Celebrant and Deacon to the Epistle side, slightly facing the Gospel side, the Sub-Deacon to the Gospel side slightly facing the Epistle side. The bishop comes to the altar and bows. If there is to be an asperges, then he moves to the throne and stands without the mitre or biretta. The Celebrant begins the asperges as usual, and immediately after aspersing the altar, without aspersing himself, he rises and comes to the throne. He presents the aspergillum to the bishop, who asperses himself as usual, then asperses the Celebrant, and then his own attendants. He then hands the aspergillum back to the Celebrant, who continues the asperges as usual, except that when he moves through the church, the ministers remain at the foot of the altar. If, however, there is not to be an asperges, then the bishop remains at the altar, and all proceeds as given below for the prayers at the foot of the altar.

3. At the prayers at the foot of the altar, the Celebrant comes to stand at the right of the bishop. The Deacon of the Mass remains on the Epistle side behind the Celebrant, and the Sub-Deacon remains to the Gospel side. The Assistant Deacons and Chaplains take their place behind the bishop. The Assistant Priest, however, remains in the choir. The prayers at the foot of the altar are said as usual, with the bishop leading and the Celebrant making the responses. After the bishop has said the "Indulgentiam, etc.," he retires to the throne. The Deacon and Sub-Deacon take their places on the right and left side of the Celebrant respectively, and the Celebrant says the "Deus tu," etc., with the Sacred Ministers, while the bishop says it at the throne with his Assistant Deacons. The bishop also says the Collect for Purity. After the prayers at the foot of the altar are complete, the Celebrant ascends to the altar as usual, and the Assistant Priest moves from the choir to take his usual place to the right of the bishop. The bishop sits after the conclusion of the prayers at the foot of the altar.

4. All the blessings made usually by the priest are made by the bishop. This begins with the blessing of the incense for the incensation of the altar, which is done by the bishop, not the Celebrant. The bishop sits wearing the mitre or biretta, blesses the incense, and puts some in the thurible. If the bishop is in cope, then after the Deacon censes the Celebrant, which he does with only two single swings, he censes the bishop with three single swings. If the bishop is in cappa, then he censes the Celebrant with only two swings and does not cense the bishop.

5. During the Kyrie and Gloria, again at the Creed, again at the Sanctus, and again at the Agnus Dei, the Canons of the Cathedral Chapter may, if those portions of the mass are sung by the choir, form a circle around the front of the bishop's throne and recite them with him. They come in reverse order of dignity and reverence the bishop as usual. Those of higher dignity are placed closer to the bishop and retire first. The bishop responds to their bow as they leave by blessing them singly. Note that this is not done at masses of the dead, when invited to preside outside one's own diocese, at the Mass of the Presanctified, and if a greater prelate is present in choir.

6. The Sub-Deacon receives his blessing from the bishop, not the Celebrant, as does the Deacon before reading the Gospel. He gives the benedictions as usual, sitting wearing the mitre or biretta. The bishop blesses the incense for the reading of the Gospel. Afterwards, the Book of Gospels is brought to the bishop, not the Celebrant, to be kissed, and it is the bishop, not the Celebrant, who is censed. He is censed by the Assistant Priest. However, the bishop is only censed if wearing the cope. If he is not wearing the cope, then the Celebrant is incensed.

7. Whether in cope or cappa, if an indulgence is to be granted, the bishop gives it in the usual manner. If the bishop is an archbishop, then the cross is brought before him as usual.

8. At the Offertory, the bishop blesses the water to be poured into the chalice. After the censing of the altar, the Celebrant is censed with two swings. Then the Deacon takes the thurible to the Assistant Priest, who censes the bishop with three swings, whether he is vested in cope or cappa. The deacon then censes the assistants of the bishop with two swings each, and then continues as usual.

9. The Assistant Priest returns to the choir before the Invitation to Communion. The Celebrant gives the Invitation to Holy Communion and leads the General Confession. The bishop stands at the throne without the mitre or biretta and bows while reciting the General Confession. The Assistant Deacons, the Assistant Priest, and all prelates stand for the confession and absolution, while all others kneel. Taking the crosier only if vested in the cope, he gives the General Absolution from the throne as usual. The bishop removes the zucchetto before the preface as usual and replaces it before the General Thanksgiving.

10. Immediately before the elevation, the bishop, if at the throne, will move to a genuflexorium prepared for him before the center of the altar and kneel when the Deacon of the Mass kneels. After the final elevation, he rises and returns to the throne. If the bishop is sitting in choir, however, he remains there for the elevations.

11. The Assistant Priest receives the Pax first, as at the pontifical mass, and then presents the Pax to the bishop, then to the deacon, as usual. The bishop himself gives the Pax to his assistant deacons. The Assistant Priest gives the Pax to the Sub-Deacon and then returns to his place in choir.

12 After the Placeat Tibi, the Celebrant moves slightly to the Epistle corner and turns to face the bishop. The bishop, whether vested in cope or cappa, gives the pontifical blessing, beginning with "Sit nomen...", as usual from the throne. If an archbishop, the cross is brought by a clerk before him as usual for the blessing. All kneel for the blessing except for the Celebrant and prelates.


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