The Flexibility of the Roman Missal during Ordinary Time
Secretariat for Divine Worship
This article, which appeared in the May-June 2012 edition of Newsletter of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Divine Worship, is reprinted with the kind permission of The Rev. Msgr. Rick Hilgartner, Executive Director, Secretariat of Divine Worship.
Given the volume of material in the Roman Missal, Third Edition, it is easy to overlook or forget many of the options available to the celebrant.
The part of the liturgical year known as Ordinary Time provides many opportunities in which the priest can choose several options for Mass formularies (the proper prayers), the various forms of the Penitential Act, the Eucharistic Prayers, and blessings.
Therefore, the Secretariat of Divine Worship presents the following suggestions to make use of the wide variety of options which the Missal offers.
- On weekdays in Ordinary Time, any of the thirty-four formularies for Sundays in Ordinary Time may be used.
For example, one need not use the formulary of the Seventeenth Sunday for the whole of the Seventeenth Week.
- The formularies of the Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions are usable in a variety of circumstances throughout the year.
The same use may be made during Ordinary Time of the many Votive Masses that are available.
- Seven sets of invocations for the Penitential Act are included in Appendix VI.
The priest or deacon, however, may compose his own invocations, following the examples provided, appropriate to the Mass of the day or the liturgical season.
In addition, it might be helpful to make use of the second form of the Penitential Act ("Have mercy on us, O Lord. / For we have sinned against you.") as a way of familiarizing the faithful with its proper responses.
- For the Universal Prayer (Prayer of the Faithful), Appendix V of the Missal contains two example formularies for use in Ordinary Time.
- Since Eucharistic Prayer IV has an invariable Preface, Sundays in Ordinary Time provide the best opportunity for its use.
Indeed, any Mass that has no Preface of its own may provide such an occasion [see GIRM #365d].
- The Eucharistic Prayer for use in Masses for Various Needs, with its proper Prefaces and corresponding intercessions, may be used with formularies of the Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions on weekdays in Ordinary Time (though respecting the calendar's obligatory memorials, feasts, and solemnities).
In case of serious need or pastoral advantage, they may also be used on Sundays in Ordinary Time.
The Missal includes a paragraph before each of the four Prefaces for this Eucharistic Prayer which recommends certain formularies appropriate for it.
- Six formularies of Solemn Blessings are given for use in Ordinary Time.
Four of these make use of the threefold invocation and response and two have more the character of a Prayer over the People.
They are not only for the end of the celebration of Mass, but may also be prayed at the end of a Liturgy of the Word, Divine Office, or the sacraments.
After the usual greeting, the deacon, or in his absence, the priest, says the invitation: "Bow down for the blessing."
The prayers follow, with all responding "Amen."
It should be noted that the final blessing differs slightly from the blessing given apart from these invocations: "And may the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit, come down on you and reamin with you for ever."
- There are 26 Prayers over the People which may be used throughout the year, including Ordinary Time.
These may be used in the same manner as the Solemn Blessings mentioned above.
Copyright © 2012 USCCB.
Used by permission.