Another Daily Mass question

My priest doesn’t wash his hands at daily Mass. There are no servers at daily Mass but one of us could serve in this capacity so why not? Why leave part of the rubric out? Or is he leaving a part of the rubric out?

(Catholics I assume you know what part of Mass I am referring to but if you don’t or if you are not familiar with Mass. Before the consecration a server will pour a small amount of water over the priest’s hands while the priest prays ‘cleanse me of my iniquities’.)

Are you sure he doesn’t wash his hands? Our pastor has a bowl of water there and washes his hands without pouring when there are no altar servers. In fact, he does it that way even when there are servers since he claims they are unable to pour the water when they are standing in front of him. Isn’t it strange that generations of altar servers were capable of doing it right but suddenly, rather than to show them how to do it properly, it becomes beyond their capacity and we just remove that from their responsibility.

No, the washing of the hands may not ever be omitted from even a daily Mass. The response to this dubium has been published in Notitiae, the official publication of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

The references are to the old GIRM, but the ruling on the question still stands.

QUERY: May the rite of washing the hands be omitted from the celebration of Mass?

REPLY: In no way. 1. Both the GIRM (nos. 52, 106, 222) and the Order of Mass (with a congregation, no. 24; without a congregation, no. 18) show the “Lavabo” to be one of the prescribed rites in the preparation of the gifts. A rite of major importance is clearly not at issue, but it is not to be dropped since its meaning is: “an expression of the (priest’s) desire to be cleansed within” (GIRM no. 52). In the course of the Consilium’s work on the Order of Mass, there were a number of debates on the value and the place to be assigned to the “Lavabo,” e.g., on whether it should be a rite in silence or with an accompanying text; there was, however, unanimity that it must be retained. Even though there has been no practical reason for the act of hand-washing since the beginning of the Middle Ages, its symbolism is obvious and understood by all (see SC art. 34). The rite is a usage in all liturgies of the West.
2. The Constitution on the Liturgy (SC art. 37-40) envisions ritual adaptations to be suggested by the conferences of bishops and submitted to the Holy See. Such adaptations must be based on serious reasons, for example, the specific culture and viewpoint of a people, contrary and unchangeable usages, the practical impossibility of adapting some new rite that is foreign to the genius of a people, and so on.

  1. Apart from the envisioned exemptions from rubrics and differing translations of texts (see Consilium, Instr. 25 Jan. 1969), the Order of Mass is presented as a single unit whose general structure and individual components must be exactly respected. Arbitrary selectiveness on the part of an individual or a community would soon result in the ruin of a patiently and thoughtfully constructed work.
    Not 6 (1970) 38-39, no. 27

Yeah it’s strange alright. Well more like sad.

I’m sure he doesn’t. His hands are in plain sight while preparing the altar, saying the blessing, and the actual consecration. Although I hope I’m wrong.

If there are no servers, he may just have a small bowl on the altar with water already poured. The priests don’t have to wash there whole hand like we would at the sink. The washing is ritual, not for hygiene, so some priests just dip their fingers. Even with altar servers pouring the water, he may just put his fingers in the water and not his whole hand.

The prayer is also not meant to be said aloud, so you may not hear him if he says it under his breath. At daily Mass, one of our PVs says all of the prepratory prayers under his breath, similar to how it is done in an EF low Mass.

Lacking Altar Boys we have a crew of retired Older Boys who serve the daily masses.

If you are a daily Mass goer, perhaps you can consider volunteering to be the altar server. I did, for a parish which had the same situation (and where one of the priests adopted little “timesavers” like a pre-mixed chalice and no washing of the hands). It can make a difference, and sometimes priests are quite happy to have the assistance.

The only reason I know the prayer is because my last priest mumbled it into the mike on a regular basis - I know it isn’t said aloud. I also know washing of the hands has nothing to do with hygiene (although it is rumor to have its roots in hygiene something to do with animals instead of money as gifts - I don’t know if that is true or not).

I can see his hands the whole time and I regularly observe what is going on at the altar so I know it is only the fingertips that are ‘washed’ usually. At daily Mass his hands never went out of sight or I would figure he was dipping them (he pulls the side table up behind the altar for daily Mass so the cups and such are there).

Also as I stated in my other thread - the Mass is here for us to PARTICIPATE in not just observe, so we really should know what’s going on.

I’ve thought about that but there are only about 8 people who go to daily Mass and they’re all regulars and I’m new (to daily Mass that is not to the parish). I’ve never had training as a server (I’ve only been Catholic 5 years) but I would be perfectly willing to learn.

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