Just want to check whether in your diocese, is it the norm for the assembly to stand
(A) when the priest starts saying “Pray brethren”, or
(B) after the priest said the “pray, brethren”, but before the response “May the Lord accept the sacrifice”.
My archdiocese is saying we should do the latter (B), and that this is widely practiced in the US and England, but my recollection when I was in the US was (A), and the English GIRM seems to suggest so.
B is normally correct, following the 2002 GIRM:
“146. Upon returning to the middle of the altar, the priest, facing the people and extending and then joining his hands, invites the people to pray, saying, Orate, fraters (Pray, brethren). The people rise and make their response: Suscipiat Dominus (May the Lord accept). …”.
The Order of Mass in the 2002 Missale Romanum is even more explicit, giving the rubric for the people to stand after the words of the priest.
But things are more complicated if incense is used, particularly if it is a Stational Mass of the Diocesan Bishop. For this Stational Mass the liturgical book Ceremonial of Bishops (published in Latin in 1984) is to be followed.
From n. 149 of this book: “The bishop receives the censer from the deacon and, in the same way as at the beginning of Mass and accompanied by a deacon, incenses the gifts, as well as the altar and the cross. After this, all rise, and a deacon, standing at the side of the altar, incenses the bishop, who stands without the miter, then the concelebrants, then the people.”
Are people expected to stand to be incensed, then sit for the bishop to say “Pray, brethren …”? Then stand again to reply? It does not seem sensible. Nothing in the Ceremonial of Bishops suggests it.
What if incense is being used, but it is not by a bishop. Nothing in the GIRM directs them to stand. But it would seem to be a natural thing for a congregation to do.
But if they stand they would not seem to be following 2002 GIRM “43. The faithful should stand from the beginning of the Entrance chant, or while the priest approaches the altar, until the end of the Collect; for the Alleluia chant before the Gospel; while the Gospel itself is proclaimed; during the Profession of Faith and the Prayer of the Faithful; from the invitation, Orate, fraters (Pray, brethren), before the prayer over the offerings until the end of Mass, except at the places indicated below.”
So I think confusion is likely. Perhaps Conferences of Bishops should try to clarify this in their modified GIRMs.
This norm has created a challenging situation where nothing feels “natural”, whereby congregants have to rise in what is essentially the middle of a prayer. Either inviting them to “please stand” (which also is a bit unnatural) immediately BEFORE the Orate Fratres or allowing them to sit (as we used to) until after the response, would seem more fitting. The only thing which I have found flows well is when incense is used, the congregation rises to be incensed (not that some members may not have already been incensed, judging from these message boards) and simply remains standing afterward. But how to solve this? Incense at every Mass? There really doesn’t seem to be a clear way to address it.
Because my diocese borders with Mexico (we’re on the Texas border), the Mexican citizens who do come to Mass on our side have always stood right when the priest says, “Orates Frates.” This used to be confusing prior to the 2002 GIRM. However, when the change came, at least there was now some uniformity.
Unfortunately, the Mexican faithful who do come to Mass on the Texas side still stand up after the Memorial Acclamation and the priest has to gently tell them that they need to kneel. Conversely, I’ve gone to Mass on their side and I’ve remained kneeling after the Memorial Acclamation.
In Mexico, they do not kneel after the Agnus Dei and when their faithful come to our parishes, they stand, which messes up the congregation. The United States, from what I understand, is one of the few, if not the only, place where the custom to kneel after the Memorial Acclamation to after the Great Amen and then kneel after the Agnus Dei is retained. Everyone else stands up after the Memorial Acclamation and after the Agnus Dei, as evidenced by my experience in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Oddly enough, when I do get to watch the Papal Masses, there are many faithful who are shown kneeling according to the rubrics approved for the United States.
Please pardon my terminology when describing our border situation. I don’t know how else to refer to our brethren from south of the border.
Likewise at my my relations parish. In mine, it is the custom to stand as soon as the priest says “Pray brethren” or “Pray, brothers and sisters”. I was HIGHLY embarrassed when I followed this and was the only person standing in the congregation at my relations parish. To make matters worse, my uncle likes to sit at the front.:o
Hey, don’t feel bad. At my old parish, I would purposely sit up front and stand at the Orate Frates and motion the folks behind me to do likewise. I think Father finally got the message.
What was so weird was that my diocese paid for my former pastor and I to go to a liturgical conference where the new GIRM had been discussed (this was 2003) and while I took all of the notes and went to the training, he never made a serious presentation to the priests back home. AARGH!
I am a bit of a “stickler” when it comes to this part of the Mass. It seems that I am the only one in the pews who actually follows along with the Order of the Mass and remains seated while the celebrant says, “Pray, brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.” I am currently out of the country and do not have access to my Daily Roman Missal, although I know it was in the previous English translation and continues to be so in the revised translation. Tomorrow (or Sunday) take the time to look at that part of the Mass in the missal your parish provides. I plainly states to sit from the preparation of the gifts to the END of "Pray, brethren ..."
In Canada, “Celebrate In Song” is clear on this one:
Standing at the middle of the altar, facing the people, extending and then joining his hands, he (the priest) says:*
"Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters),
that my sacrifice and yours
may be acceptable to God,
the Almighty Father.**
The people rise and reply:
“May the Lord…”
In my parish it seems that everyone is on their feet before they begin replying. Of course I’ve only gone to Mass on Saturday so I have no idea how things are working out on Sundays.