On the Liturgy of the Word

Can priests, in the absence of lay readers, read all the readings of the Mass himself to the congregation?


From the GIRM:

  1. The function of proclaiming the readings is by tradition not presidential but ministerial. Therefore the readings are to be read by a reader, but the Gospel by the Deacon or, in his absence, by another Priest. If, however, a Deacon or another Priest is not present, the Priest Celebrant himself should read the Gospel, and moreover, if no other suitable reader is present, the Priest Celebrant should also proclaim the other readings as well.

After each reading, whoever reads it pronounces the acclamation, and by means of the reply the assembled people give honor to the Word of God that they have received in faith and with gratitude.

Noting of course that the GIRM is American and therefore, not published in other Missals e.g. in the UK. I suppose that it doesn’t matter as we all use the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but I thought I would throw it in, just in case the OP isn’t in America.


The GIRM is a universal Instruction, applicable to the entire Roman Rite. The U.S. has adaptations, as does the UK, but this particular provision of the GIRM is universal.

As porthos11 noted - the GIRM is a universal document that is adapted by various conferences of Bishops for their faithful …

GIRM = General Instructions on the Roman Missal … it is not published in Missals - but is the instructions on how the Liturgy is to be celebrated with the Missal…

The faithful may not always be aware of the GIRM - unless there is a change, update or need for instructing the faithful on some aspect.

Um, no, GIRM stands for General Instruction of the Roman Missal, and is printed in Latin in the original Latin text of the missal, and applies universally, as its name implies. There is another section called Appendix for Dioceses of the United States of America, just as there is one for the UK and each other country. These are much shorter sections.

It is not in our Missals. I have had 3 Missals, one from our Cathedral and two versions from the Catholic Truth Society and I have doubled checked and it isn’t there. Having looked online, adding the GIRM would make our Missals huge. We are forced to have bi-lingual Missals and they are printed in such a way that we can’t easily tear out the Latin pages to be able to navigate the Missal easily. Frankly, having the GIRM instead of Latin seems to be more useful to me, but that is just my personal opinion.

In the 13 years since reverting, I only heard of GIRM on CAF (I joined a few weeks ago).

So there you have it. Mind you, the more I learn, the more I discover how little I know.

The GIRM (General Instruction on the Roman Missal) is a universal document issued by the Holy See. It applies here in the UK just as it applies throughout the rest of the world. I am at a complete loss to comprehend why you’ve said “we are forced to have bi-lingual (sic.) Missals”. Who is we? The new Missals published by the Catholic Truth Society (CTS) following the recent revision are in English. If you want a copy of the GIRM you can purchase one from the CTS or you can download one in pdf from the web site of the National Liturgy Office.

It’s in the missal the priest uses at the altar, not in personal missals.

You can get the GIRM as adapted for England and Wales in a PDF at liturgyoffice.org.uk/Resources/GIRM/Documents/GIRM.pdf

You can also purchase it from the Catholic Truth Society for £9.95 (see liturgyoffice.org.uk/Resources/GIRM/)

It probably is in the altar missals used by your priests, but there is no requirement for them to be there.

In any case, you can find a lovely copy of your UK General Instruction right here: liturgyoffice.org.uk/Resources/GIRM/Documents/GIRM.pdf

When the new Missals came out, the only ones available on CTS were bi-ligual. I know that some people got theirs through the church and more than one person returned it because the Latin made it too difficult to follow the Missal.

Things may have changed, so I will look again and if CTS do English only, I will see if anyone will get me one for Christmas.


Actually, the CTS wasn’t the only version of the new Missal available in the UK.
Redemptorist publications brought one out as well and we sold them in our parish.
They are a pound or so more expensive than the CTS ones, I don’t know whether they have the GIRM in them (I’d imagine not) but the Altar Missal certainly has.

When you say they were bi-lingual (sic.) I presume that you mean English and Latin. That is not the case. They were issued in English; not Latin and English.

The answer to the OP’s question is yes.

It looks like an assumption was made that the GIRM would be contained in people’s editions of the missal, which is not the case. It is contained only in altar editions of the Roman Missal. It is, however, available for viewing on the web.

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