The Lavabo, kissing of the altar, priest dress code


I visited a different parish today and I noticed a couple of differences that I never seen before in terms of liturgy.

  1. During the Lavabo the priest said: “Wash us from our iniquities and cleanse us from our sins”

  2. The priest didn’t kiss the altar upon entering the sanctuary.

  3. The priest wasn’t wearing a Roman collar before and after mass (gladly the deacon was).

Is there some red flag or I’m just being a radical traditionalist? :confused:


I shall answer to the best of my ability.

This is correct, although the volume at which the Lavabo Prayer is said varies. Some priest use a loud voice, while some pray it almost inaudibly. The text in the Missal is “Wash me, O Lord, from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” It is a shortened version of Psalm 25. If you’re specifically mentioning that the priest said “Wash us [etc.],” this would be incorrect since it is not prescribed by the Roman Missal, however it’s nothing that would effect the validity of the Mass.

Once again, this does not conform with the Rubrics, but does not effect anything. GIRM states:

[quote=General Instruction of the Roman Missal]49. When they have arrived at the sanctuary, the Priest, the Deacon, and the ministers reverence the altar with a profound bow.

Moreover, as an expression of veneration, the Priest and Deacon then kiss the altar itself; the Priest, if appropriate, also incenses the cross and the altar.

I cannot comment on this. There are too many things that could effect the priest’s dress. While it’s certainly preferable to see the priest in clerical attire when he’s ministering, there’s a lot that could make him slip up. He could be starting his day off, and on his way to his mother’s house. He could have woken up late (out of human weakness which we all share), and just thrown on anything to be able to get to Mass. He could be out of clerical wear, because the load of shirts he put in the drier overnight was still damp. Who knows.


Thanks L Marshall, my thoughts are confirmed.



The Lavabo prayer is one of the “secret” prayers, and should be said in a voice audible only to the priest himself. Unfortunately many priests say these prayers aloud. Secret refers to the personal nature of the prayer, not that it contains confidential information.


It is “Wash me…” not “wash us…”

It is prescribed that he kiss the altar.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with the priest not wearing the Roman collar. I go to a small, rural parish, so everyone knows who the priest is. Holy Days of Obligation are like “casual days” for my priest. On the Feast of the Assumption, he wore a white shirt and a pair of shorts with tennis shoes. :smiley:


Yes your concerns are valid and no you are not a"rad. trad."The priest should follow the rubrics it is not “his” mass. These may be minor issues but it would cause one to wonder what other things does he change or neglects.I suppose the best thing to do would be to pray for him as well as all priests.I’m sure they need all the prayers that are offered up for them.


Interesting. At my parish, the priest (and all other priests that have either worked here, or have visited) says “Wash us, O Lord, from our iniquities, and cleanse all of us from all of our sins.” I did not know this was not prescribed— however, I do not believe it is simply our pastor, as this is said by all priests (that I have seen) that have celebrated Mass at our parish, so I am confused.

(It gladdens me to hear that this does not affect the validity of the Mass, however.)


Not only is a priest not required to wear a Roman collar all the time in public, it shouldn’t be showing while he is celebrating the Mass.


My advice to young men is to not trust themselves or their own thoughts too much. We don’t know as much as we think and most of what we do think we know as fact is really opinion.

College is a time for learning. Learning requires listening. Listening requires inner silence. Silence is the gateway to the interior life.



all of these are problematic.

the 3rd one isn’t horrible but not good.


I don’t think this is the case, yes a priest should wear a collar as much as possible but I don’t think the Church requires priest to wear the roman collar every time he is in public. Canon law says they should wear clerical garb according to the conference of bishops and local customs. The USCCB says nothing of this requirement.

Now I think that a priest should wear a collar as much as possible, but it isn’t a requirement.


Did you speak to the priest about your questions? That would be the best option, all the rest is speculation since no one here knows the priest, or heard what exactly he said, or saw what exactly he did, or know what side of the bed he rolled out of that morning.

Maybe he was up in the middle of the night ministering to someone on their deathbed.
(sorry, speculation:o)

Not much can be accomplished by second guessing, other than anxiety.

This Sunday’s reading 2 has a couple lines relevant to this issue.

closed #13

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