NON-INTEGRATION OF MASS MINISTRIES
(Sacred Mysteries-Sacramental Principles & Liturgical Practice, p169) Paulist Press, 1995: Dennis C. Smolarski, S.J.
The proper celebration of liturgical rites assumes the presence of several ministers in addition to the one presiding. At the minimum, a typical celebration includes a reader, a cantor and a server. This is in stark contrast to the Tridentine missal and the 1614 A.D. Ritual, which presumed the presence only of a server and which also required the priest to repeat quietly texts sung by the choir or proclaimed by the deacon and sub-deacon.
The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy encourages the distribution of tasks during liturgical services and cautions that ministers “should carry out all and only those parts” that pertain to their ministry.
Such advice is repeated in the liturgical books themselves, for example, when the General Instruction of the Roman Missal states that the presiding priest should not proclaim the gospel if a deacon or another priest is present.
Integration and coordination of ministries presupposes several things. It presupposes the existence of qualified ministers. It presumes that all ministers know what is proper to their own ministry and what is proper to other ministers. It also assumes that the presiding minister actually permits and encourages other ministers to do all that their ministry requires.
It may be difficult to recruit and train enough ministers to fill all the liturgical needs of a community. But such difficulty is no excuse for certain ministers regularly to usurp the roles of others. God has given the members of the assembly various gifts and talents, and they should not be overlooked. Gifted individuals need to be identified and their talents cultivated for the benefit of the community.
We should no more consider certain ministries optional than we should consider vesture or vessels optional. A reader at mass, for example, whether on Sunday or during the week, is not a nice addition when one is present. In most cases, the participation of a reader should be considered a necessity if the celebration is to be considered authentic. Without bread and wine, we cannot celebrate the mystery of the Eucharist. We should also think twice about the advisability of celebrating any liturgical mystery without the assistance of appropriate ministers.
NORMS DRAWN FROM THE NATURE OF THE LITURGY
Vatican II, CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY
(The Liturgy Documents—A Parish Resource, pp15-16) Liturgy Training Publications, Third Edition, 1991
22. §1. Regulation of the liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, accordingly as the law determines, on the bishop.
§2. In virtue of power conceded by the law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of competent territorial bodies of bishops lawfully established.
§3. Therefore, no other person, not even if he is a priest, may on his own add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy.
28. In liturgical celebrations each one, minister or layperson, who has an office to perform, should do all of, but only, those parts which pertain to that office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy.
32. The liturgy makes distinctions between persons according to their liturgical function and sacred orders and there are liturgical laws providing for due honors to be given to civil authorities. Apart from these instances,
NO SPECIAL HONORS ARE TO BE PAID IN THE LITURGY TO ANY PRIVATE PERSONS OR CLASSES OF PERSONS, WHETHER IN THE CEREMONIES OR BY EXTERNAL DISPLAY.