Have you ever encountered this one?
  • amindthatsuits
    Posts: 817
    I have encountered this exactly twice, and so it is perhaps just one of those things. To whit, a volunteer in some position to decide things is adamant that a person can only perform one function in a Mass.

    This flabbergasts me, to be honest. To prefer? Of course. To plan, required.

    For instance, I may be scheduling lectors for my parish and I will have a back up person on deck for each day, so there is no frantic searching for a replacement.

    However, I go to the National Shrine quite often and I know the community well enough that I can occasionally see the holes that have been filled. (There were no candle-bearers this morning, eg.) The 12:00 Mass has upwards of 40 people in the chancel.

    But to be against it on principle? And with a passion---I got told effectively I was an idiot and just did not understand. That was when I was offering to help.

    Understand? I have been on and off stage in some fashion for 50 years. I happen to think the Mass is the opposite of a show, but those confusing lists of characters in Shakespeare are arranged by which actor is taking on which (multiple) roles. I was both a server and an EMC at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. One Mass when we were short EMCs, I jumped behind a pillar, took off my alb, and slipped back in with the EMCs before we took communion. Put the alb back on and processed out with the candles or something. The list goes on and on.

    From a Catholic perspective, there is the principle of ex opere operato===what matters is what was done, by a qualified person, and according to the rite books. Not anything else.

    Futher, the GIRM, at Sec 110, says specifically that a lay minister "may exercise several different functions." Which is good, because our parish is OFM(Capuchin) and things just somehow kind of happen. The pastor figured out I had skills and just wandered over in the middle of a Mass where I was lector and asked me to help. That's kind of the Franciscan way.

    The GIRM specifically talks about one person doing the readings AND the Psalm, which is what I had suggested.

    I should say this person also wants no movement, even though the GIRM specifically says that the Word must be proclaimed from the ambo, necessitating movement. (I assume she's never been to a TLM.)

    I spent 20 years in special events, managing, etc, and I fully appreciate the need to have things lined-up. But they often can't be, perfectly.

    Our pastor is excellent, and reminds me of the TOR who gave me instruction. He said clearly the rules are there for a reason and we must be careful not to go beyond what is written. This was great because, even though the EMC authorization does not transfer from parish to parish in the rules for our Archdiocese, and this person is moving in two weeks, she showed up at a training just to ask whether there was a rule about this. He told her simply no. I did some reading and found the GIRM paragraph and shared it with the group.

    She's moving on, and I've only encountered this twice. The other time was years ago when I was visiting a parish where my family lived, 400 miles away, and I got roped in to doing something last minute. There the worship coordinator was emphatic--but she also was down two or three people, because I think people got turned off by the micromanagement.

    But I'm just wondering if others have heard this one.


    Thanked by 1MatthewRoth
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,671

    I find it to be a fairly common practical guideline, rooted in Pauline principle of spiritual gifts and the hierarchical nature of liturgy. That said, necessity would provide reason to override the guideline.

    Section 110 of the GIRM's reference to a lone minister (in what might be known as a saving clause in another context) is referring to a celebrant priest with no other ministers - no deacon, no acolyte, no lector, et cet.: the priest can do everything in that situation (the reference would not make sense otherwise, because a laic cannot do everything as sole minister). Impliedly, however, given this falls under the larger rubric in the GIRM of "Distribution of Duties", that is an exception from an overall pattern to distribute duties.
  • amindthatsuits
    Posts: 817
    I’ll disagree.that doesn’t seem to be the meaning of the term “minister” at all. And there are full discussions of possible situations where one lay person does several things. There is even a subchapter on a “Mass at Which Only One Minister Participates” (252-272) in which the minister is not the priest. Practicalities militate against such a rule, and I’ve never seen it. In fact our pastor, who knows the rules very well, said specifically there is no such rule. The hierarchical nature of the liturgy has to do with the priestly and diaconal functions. It says very clearly that there should be no blurring there. I see nothing that says a reader can’t also be an altar server. In fact, at daily Masses, they often are.
  • amindthatsuits
    Posts: 817
    The one clear rule is that an EMC can never wear any kind of vestment. Hence, in the Archdiocese of Washington, where an altar server CAN be an EMC (explicit rule), that person should take off their vestments, as I did.
  • Kenneth,

    What was an altar server doing, serving as an EMC?

    As to the general situation you describe, I believe there is (or should be) a society for overcommitted, nosy and pushy laymen who think that to properly participate at the Mass, they must be "doing something" This is common, and the rule I've heard of may originate in the utterly nonsensical idea that the more we spread out the work, the more people participate. (So, we need 6 people to read the general intercessions, three people bringing up the gifts, at least one woman EMC, especially if the congregation is for daily Mass, and "youth" doing as much, visibly, as they can.) A sensible rule would be one based on hierarchy, but that won't get much play anymore.

    In the EF, roles are clearly delineated in the more solemn forms of Mass, and fewer servers do more and more work as the solemnity declines.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,773
    The one clear rule is that an EMC can never wear any kind of vestment. Hence, in the Archdiocese of Washington, where an altar server CAN be an EMC (explicit rule), that person should take off their vestments, as I did.

    That is surprising since instituted acolytes [the recent reform aside, nb] are the EMHC preferred to any other layperson, and they are supposed to be vested.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,106
    In our diocese, it is preferred that a person only does one role at Mass. However, a person can do multiple roles if needed. (I have served as both lector and usher at the same Mass and have served as both lector and choir member at Mass.)
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,126
    "The one clear rule ..."
    Last time I looked EMHC garb was explicitly a decision for the diocese, but that may have changed.
    Surely an instituted acolyte is an Ordinary minister of holy communion, is vested as an acolyte and remains vested for communion?
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,773
    The instituted acolyte is not an ordinary minister. That would be the priest and, somehow, a deacon; this was a change in the 1983 CIC, which is puzzling, as he cannot confect this sacrament. But the IA is to be the first extraordinary minister called upon.
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,582
    It always pleases me when a chorister is at the ambo to lead the Psalm or sing intercessions. On the other hand…

    On last Good Friday there was a request at the Adoration for two volunteers from the 'audience' to hold the Cross erect, and before I could do anything two choristers sprang up. At least we still had a remaining singer on each voice of Victoria, as well as something to discuss later.