Catholic liturgy: Mass.
Role of the deacon in the liturgy
Liturgy of the Eucharist
In the absence of the priest
Other forms of mass
Other liturgical roles of the deacon.
Discussion prompts 1: Liturgy
Liturgy refers to public worship that conforms to a given religious group’s traditions, beliefs and customs. The term liturgy originally referred to “public work” or “service in the name of or on behalf of the people” (Vatican 1069). Often in Christianity, the liturgy refers to the standardized order of events in a religious service. According to the Catholic traditions, the liturgy refers to people getting involved in God’s. Jesus continues with redemption work in the liturgy (Vatican 1069). Early Christians used the term liturgy to refer to the principal act of worship (Sunday service) like mass (Divine Liturgy), Holy Communion and Holy Eucharist. Many Christian Churches designate one person (the liturgist, may be a layman or ordained minister) to lead calls to worship, read scriptures and announcements. Therefore, the minister just offers prayers, preaches the sermon and blesses the sacrament and the congregation offers God liturgy.
According to the Catholic liturgy the whole individual (body, spirit and soul) is involved in the liturgy (Catholicbridge.com 1). The congregation adapts bodily postures that conform to the rite being celebrated. Before mass commences, Congregation members enter the church, genuflect in adoration before the tabernacle, may kneel briefly for preparatory prayers and sit silently in the pews. Mass commences with the procession and entrance song. The congregation stands to acknowledge Christ’s presence in the Eucharist assembly. Christ leads the assembly in the worship of our Father, who at in heaven (Vatican 1070).
During the introductory rites for the mass, the congregation remains standing (Catholicbridge.com 1). Introductory rites include greetings, penitential rite, Kyrie, Gloria and opening prayer. The congregation also stands for the Gloria, the collect, the penitence act and the sign of the cross and greetings. These rites gratefully and attentively prepare the assembly for the liturgy of the word. The liturgy of the word includes the first reading, responsorial Psalm, second reading, Alleluia or gospel general intercessions, acclamation, profession of faith and Homily. The liturgy of the word is followed by the liturgy of the Eucharist which involves the preparation of the altar and gifts, a prayer for the gifts, Eucharistic prayer, preface, acclamation, memorial acclamation and concluding doxology. After which the congregation participates in the communion rite involving the Lord’s Prayer, doxology, a sign of peace, breaking of bread, communion and the prayer after communion. Finally, the concluding rite is performed which includes the blessing and dismissal (Catholicbridge.com 1).
Deacons undertake a wide variety of tasks and liturgical ministries (USCCB 22). Liturgical rubrics and norms show no distinction in the functions carried out by transitional and permanent deacons. One of the liturgical roles of a deacon is during the Eucharistic liturgy. As dictated by the Roman Missal, the deacon is involved in specific penitential rites. The deacon properly proclaims the Gospel. According to the Canon Law provisions, the deacon may preach the homily. During the general intercessions, the deacon voices the people’s needs (USCCB 22). He assists the liturgist and other ministers in receiving the offerings from the congregation. This is in accordance with his traditional role of receiving and distributing resources to the needy in the congregation. The deacon also aids in the preparation of the gifts for sacrifice. During the Eucharistic sacrifice, the deacon aids the congregation to participate more actively and consciously. In communion, he serves as an ordinary minister. The deacon is responsible for the cup. At the end of the Eucharistic liturgy, he dismisses the congregation (USCCB 22).
In the absence of the priest, the deacon can preside over the liturgy of the word and the communion rite (USCCB 22). As described in the book of blessings, he may administer the sacramentals of the Church. The deacon may preside over the Blessed Sacrament’s exposition and benediction and the liturgy of hours. Other liturgical functions of the deacon include rendering prayer services for the dying and sick, presiding over funerals, leading public rites of blessing, witnessing marriages, solemnly baptizing and taking viaticum to the dying (USCCB 22).
Catholicbridge.com. Text of the New English Roman Catholic mass. Web. Retrieved from: http://www.catholicbridge.com/catholic/catholic_mass_full_text.php, on 14th June 2015.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB. Newsletter 2014-06 pdf: The Role of Deacons in the Liturgical Life of the Church. Volume L, June 2014. Web. Retrieved from:http://www.usccb.org/about/divine-worship/newsletter/upload/newsletter-2014-06.pdf, on 14th June 2015.
Vatican. Catechism of the Catholic Church: The celebration of the Christian mystery. Retrieved from: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2.htm, on 14th June 2015.