Our Lady of the Rosary
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A woman making Mass responses?
What is Viaticum?
[ Q&A ARCHIVES ]
Women Making Mass Responses?
Is it permissible for a woman to make the responses to the Mass if no man or boy is available to
Answer: Since the server
takes the place of someone ordained to the order of Acolytes, the duties
strictly proper to that order may be performed only by men.
Young men or boys are often employed as servers since this is an
excellent way to introduce them to the possibility of a priestly vocation.
Serving in the place of acolytes, these men may carry the candles and
minister the water and wine at the altar. In
practice, they see to these and the other practical needs of the priest during
Mass. At solemn Mass they minister
to the deacon and subdeacon, who in turn deal directly with the priest.
Those serving at the altar ought to wear the cassock and surplice, the
distinctive garb of the clergy.
Canon 813 specifically authorizes a woman to make the responses when no
capable man is available. The
rubrics of the Missal suppose that those present at Mass sometimes make the
responses with the server, and the bishop can authorize the entire congregation
to reply in what is called the dialog Mass, or to sing the high Mass.
A woman making the responses remains outside of the sanctuary throughout
the Mass. When no server is
available, custom allows the men or women outside of the sanctuary to hold a
Communion paten for themselves when receiving, and one of their number may ring
the elevation bell. (The ordination
of Porters has them ring the church steeple bell as one of the functions of
their order, but this is a "liturgically different" bell.).
While these things are permissible, it is always desirable to have a
properly trained server, capable of making the responses accurately and
assisting the priest within the sanctuary.
Every Catholic man should consider this an honor, and should not have to
be asked to serve at the altar.
If you would like to learn to serve Mass, please ask Father.
We need your help.
Question: What is
"something to take along," Viaticum is the name given to the Blessed
Sacrament received in Holy Communion when death is imminent.
In may be given in conjunction with the Sacrament of Extreme Unction and
the Apostolic Blessing. The Church
considers dying with the graces of Holy Communion to be so important that
Viaticum may be received at any time of day or night, without fasting, and on a
day when Holy Communion has already been received under normal circumstances.
Likewise, priests are allowed great latitude as to celebrating Mass to
consecrate a Host for the dying person if none is reserved in the tabernacle.
Viaticum may be received on several occasions if the illness persists.
In administering the Host, the priest says, "Receive, brother the
Viaticum of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He may preserve thee from the malignant
enemy and bring thee to everlasting life. Amen."