When priests assist at Masses celebrated by Bishops or other priests, they generally do so by concelebrating. What is the term for when deacons assist in a similar manner? I’m not asking about those deacons fully vested in alb, stole and dalmatic and assisting the celebrant and principle concelebrants on the altar or about deacons in choir dress assisting as MCs or in acolyte roles, but those assisting in alb and stole while not being part of the altar party?
As far as I know, there is no such thing as a “concelebrating” deacon. IIRC, they either have a particular role in the Mass or they aren’t part of it.
Deacons “Assist” at Mass, and that is true if it is one Deacon, or several Deacons.
To my understanding of the norms, there can only be a maximum of three deacons partaking in the celebration of the Eucharist. First is the deacon of the Word who would proclaim the gospel and possibly preach the homily, then the deacon of the Eucharist who elevates the cup at the doxology and says the mass parts appropriate to the office of deacon in that liturgy of the Eucharist. The third would be the “bishop’s Deacon”, his role is to serve the bishop’s needs during the mass; like handling the miter and crosier. This part is often replaces by two acolytes, or altar servers.
But never is a deacon referred to as a “concelebrant”, that role is solely filled by a priest.
Many deacons may take part in a mass, but unless he is assigned one of these three roles, his role is to vest and process and other than that he may be called to minister the cup. The difference is if there are 100 deacons vested for a mass, three are part of the altar party as you put it, if there were 100 priests and one bishop, the bishop would have 100 concelebrants.
Not sure if this is found in the GIRM or other documents, although concelebrating is new to Vatican II from my understanding. Correct me if I am wrong NE Priest, but before the V II documents were in effect there was no document allowing concelebrating.
I believe prior to V2, concelebration, though in a different way, was done at ordinations of priests and bishops. The newly-ordained priests say the Offertory prayers and the whole Canon, including the words of consecration, aloud with the bishop, kneeling around him. The words of consecration especially must be said “slowly and rather loud” and “at the same moment with the pontiff”. They must say the words significative, that is with the intention of consecrating, and must be careful not to say them before, but exactly with, the bishop). They receive Holy Communion under one kind. The same rite is used at a bishop’s consecration, except that in this case the new bishop communicates with the consecrator under both kinds.
The Ordo Romanus primus of the 7th/8th century speaks of concelebration on certain feasts:
- On festivals, that is to say on Easter day, Pentecost, St. Peter’s day, and Christmas day, the cardinal presbyters assemble, each one holding a corporal in his hand, and the archdeacon comes and offers each one of them three loaves. And when the pontiff approaches the altar, they surround it on the right and the left, and say the canon simultaneously with him, holding their loaves in their hands, and not placing them on the altar, so that the pontiff’s voice may be heard the more strongly, and they simultaneously consecrate the body and blood of the Lord, but the pontiff alone makes a cross over the altar.
I don’t know whether there is a limit on the number of deacons at Mass. You may be correct that there is a limit. I know the “Ceremonial of Bishops” says that if there’s more than one their duties are divided between them. It also says the bishop has two assistant deacons, rather than one.
Of course, there are several roles for deacons to do at Mass: if one is present it is proper that he proclaims the Gospel, if one is present it should be a deacon who does the Prayer of the Faithful, they prepare the altar at the offertory, one assists at the altar during the Eucharistic Prayer, they should administer Communion as they are ordinary ministers of Communion, they can purify the sacred vessels and a deacon should say the dismissal.
A bishop usually has three ‘chaplains’ at Mass - most appropriately acolytes but usually altar servers: 1. to hold the mitre, 2. one to hold the crozier, and 3. one to hold the book.
Everyone, cleric or lay, attending a Mass assists at that Mass via being there and fulfilling their proper roles. What I am asking is whether a term exists for deacons assisting in roles analogous to that of concelebrating priests and what that term is.
Maybe this will explain better what I’m asking – Priests assisting at Mass generally do so in three ways: A1 - vested in alb, stole and chasbule as principle concelebrants; A2 - vested in alb and stole as concelebrants; and A3 - in choro vested in choir dress (cassock and surplice). Similarly, the three principle ways for deacons would be B1 - in alb, stole and dalmatic serving as Deacons of the Gospel and/or Deacons of the Eucharist; B2 - in alb and stole as ??? (i.e. “vest and process” as Lapey put it); and B3 in choir dress assisting either in choir or in acolyte/MC roles. What is the term for B2?
It’s also possible for one to serve as Master of Ceremonies.
Plus, when Bishops concelebrate, each might have his own deacon as assistant, and usually when so doing, said deacon is supervising one or two servers.
Plus, in large celebrations, any deacons present are supposed to be the ministers of the cup (in preference over priests), just as concelebrating and/or in choir priests are to be the ministers of the Body. In a large diocesan celebration, it’s proper to see a half dozen or even a dozen deacons with the communion cups of the Blood, and the Bishop and similar number of priests distributing the Body.
But, until communion, these extra deacons should be sitting in choir.
Primary assisting deacons are the active ones, and should be Alb, Stole and Dalmatic. (The dalmatic may be omitted on Ferial days.)
The secondary assisting deacons (especially if serving as Ministers of Holy Communion) should be in Alb and Stole, and if sufficient are available, Dalmatic.
(Likewise, priests vested but not on the altar dais should wear a chasuble if there are enough.)
Deacons who have it may also wear choir dress if sitting in choir. Few places, however, have sufficient deacons for that to be relevant, as any mass where you have that many clerics, odds are you also have quite a crowd.
Did they not also concelebrate on Holy Thursday at the Chrism Mass with the bishop or is that “new” since Vatican II?
What’s your authority for this. I have been to Masses where all the concelebrants (both primary and secondary) were fully vested in chasubles. In February when our new bishop was installed, all the priests were fully vested. I have also been to Masses where only the principal celebrant is vested in a chasuble.
There are no gradations of vestment for concelebrants. Logistics (i.e. the amount of chasubles available), and aesthetics (at times) determine how priests vest.
Oh. Wow. This is my 500th post. When do I stop being a “Junior Member.”
The GIRM requires Alb and stole as the minimum for concelebrants, whether upon the dais or seated in choir. The chasuble is always to be preferred for concelebrants.
For those concelebrants seated in the choir (as opposed to observing in choir or concelebrating upon the dais), even when chasubles are available in sufficient number, it’s common to see just Alb and Stole. It’s not what the GIRM calls for, but it is what is done.
Likewise, the deacons, when vested for non-ferial days, should be in dalmatic over alb and stole, when sufficient numbers of dalmatics are available.
This is, however, a case where rightly, most major liturgies should be “Bring your color Chasble and Stole, and an Alb.”
When two or more priests celebrate Mass together they are said to concelebrate and they are called concelebrants. (This, of course, applies equally to bishops.) Bishops and priests because they can celebrate/concelebrate Mass and confect the Eucharist they are Eucharistic Ministers.
Deacons are not Eucharistic Ministers. They cannot celebrate/concelebrate Mass. They cannot confect the Eucharist.
I do not believe that there is any term analogous to ‘concelebrant’ to refer to the deacons at Mass.
It is my understanding that the correct vestments at Mass for a priest are amice, alb, cincture, stole, and chasuble. Likewise, a deacon’s correct vestments are amice, alb, cincture, stole, and dalmatic.
The amice may be omitted if the cut of the alb hides the street clothes at the neck. Personally, I have never seen a sacred minister wear an alb without amice where the alb hid the street clothes at the neck.
The cincture can be omitted if the cut of the alb does not require one.
The priests at a concelebration may omit the chasuble if there are not sufficient ones for all the concelebrants. The principal concelebrant should at least wear one. It is also permitted to wear white vestments at Mass even if this is not the colour of the Mass if there is enough white chasubles for all the priests to wear.
Dalmatics can be omitted for deacons for a similar reason.
It looks like there isn’t an official term analogous to ‘concelebrant’ to refer to the deacons at Mass after all. The phrase Aramis uses here, “secondary assisting deacons,” maybe the closest we can get. By my count, there are only a handful of times per year that deacons would find themselves assisting at Mass in a “secondary assisting” situation: installation and ordination Masses, the Chrism Mass, other special diocesan observances, etc.
PacoG, I recognize that there are de juro and de facto issues related to priests and deacons in alb and stole only without chasubles or dalmatics. But as we know, logistical concerns often overwhelm strict observance of vesting rules. For example, for the big Masses, only few dioceses have enough matching chasubles available for secondary/non-primary concelebrant priests. Most of the time, the bulk of the concelebrants will be vested in alb and stole only. And, as far as I know, very few, if any, dioceses have the matching dalmatics beyond the handful needed for the primary assisting/“altar party” deacons.