Mass in the Presence of a Great Prelate

 12 October A.D. 2012

If mass is said in the presence of a great prelate who is not occupying the throne, the following is observed. By a great prelate is meant an Ordinary in his diocese, a Metropolitan in his province, or a Cardinal.

1. If time permits, the Celebrant should arrive before the prelate and stand on the Gospel side, facing the Epistle side. He bows with a profound inclination to the prelate as he arrives. If there is to be a procession, then the great prelate walks behind the Celebrant as usual. The Celebrant steps to the Gospel side after reverencing the altar, and faces the Epistle side. When the great prelate has taken his place in the choir, the Celebrant bows to him.

2. The Celebrant asks permission to begin the mass and, having received it, salutes the prelate again with a bow, bows or genuflects as appropriate to the cross, and begins the mass.

3. At the Confiteor, instead of saying "Et vobis fratres, etc." he says "Et tibi Pater, etc.", inclining towards the prelate. However, should more than one great prelate be present, he uses "Et vobis Fratres, etc."

4. After the Collect for Purity, and after having said "Oremus" as usual, the Celebrant bows to the prelate and ascends the altar to begin the mass as usual.

5. The Celebrant performs the blessings of the incense at all instances and of the water at the Offertory.

6. After the Gospel, the Celebrant does not kiss t he book. The book is brought to the prelate by the Deacon or, if there is no Deacon of the Mass, by a clerk to kiss. If there are several great prelates of equal dignity present, then none kiss the book, and neither does the Celebrant kiss the book. If several great prelates not of equal rank are present, then the one of highest dignity kisses the book. If incense is used, then the Celebrant is censed, not the prelate.

7. At the Offertory, if incense is used, then the Celebrant is censed with two swings. The great prelate is censed with three swings. If there is more than one great prelate present, then each receives three swings individually.

8. If the Pax is to be given, then it is given by the Celebrant to a Clerk, who then carries it to the prelate. He does not salute the prelate upon arrival, but makes due reverance after the Pax has been given. If there are several great prelates present, he gives the Pax to each singly in order of rank or, if all are of equal dignity, then by the most convenient order.

9. At the Benediction, the Celebrant says "Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus" as usual, then turns to the cross and bows, and then turns to the prelate and bows again. He then continues the blessing "Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus" as usual, towards the side of the church not occupied by the prelate. If the prelate is in the center, then the benediction is given towards the Gospel side. However, the senior-most great prelate may choose to give the blessing himself, which same he gives wearing the biretta in the usual form, beginning with "Sit nomen Domini," from before the altar. But note that if there are several great prelates of equal dignity, then the Celebrant must give the blessing.



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