Where should the priest be during mass?

i went to this parish in the past that did something i only saw in that parish. during the Liturgy of the Word, the priest would stay on his sit (standing when he’s supposed to stand) which if you’re facing the altar is to the left of the altar. he doesn’t get behind the altar until the Liturgy of the Eucharist. he also moves to the podium when he reads the gospel

i’m just wondering, is this licit?

Assuming a reader is proclaiming the first readings - and you indicate that the priest does go to the podium to read the Gospel - where else would you have him be except in the presidential chair?

sorry if i didn’t make it clear enough

from the beginning of the mass (opening prayers, Gloria, etc) until the time he reads the Gospel, he is at his chair, whether sitting of standing. and the chair is not behind the altar, its on the left side of the altar if you are facing it from the crowd

As I understand it, the priest reverences the altar by kissing it at the entrance, and other than that the altar is not involved again until the offertory. (Unless he needs to incense the altar or something of that sort.) He should be sitting during the readings and the psalm; I don’t see why he’d just be hovering around the altar.

Edited to add, since you posted while I was typing, that there is no reason the presider’s chair should be behind or even particularly near the altar. In some larger churches (I’m thinking of St. Peter’s and St. John Lateran in particular) it’s quite a hike.

i see

well, its just not the norm i see so i have been wondering why they do it that way

yes, the priest kisses the altar then proceeds to his chair. most if not all other masses i have attended in the past, the priest stays behind the altar when he’s saying the prayers

i see where i am wrong on my first post

i should have said, “up until the Liturgy of the Word” instead of “during”

Hmm. Well, the only parts of the Mass before the Liturgy of the Word are the entrance and greeting, the penitential act and Kyrie, the Gloria, and the opening prayer (the Collect). (I’m leaving out the sprinkling rite and other out-of-the-ordinary things). Maybe someone with a Sacramentary on hand can be more specific, but the only instruction in about this in the GIRM is #50, “When the Entrance chant is concluded, the priest stands at the chair and, together with the whole gathering, makes the Sign of the Cross.” Some priests like to walk around, do various things from behind the altar or even in front of the altar, etc., but as far as I know there is no reason for them to do so.

sounds like while it is uncommon, its perfectly fine for the priest to be NOT behind the altar during the first part of the mass

It’s not uncommon, it’s the norm.

If we want the priest to do the red and say the black then he’ll be at the chair for everything but the reading of the Gospel. Even the homily can be delivered from the chair.

Other than reverencing the altar when he first gets to the sanctuary there is no reason for him to go to the altar until the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

in my experience, its more of the norm that the priest is standing behind the altar during opening prayers

perhaps in the places that i have been, this is the norm

But it’s not following the rubrics of the Mass.

We have one priest who sometimes says Mass in our parish who stands at the altar for the introductory rites. He seems to think it’s more holy even though it’s against the rubrics.

against? i thought from what Mark said that there’s really no prescription where the preist should be (other than the sanctuary of course)

There has been a trend to move the priest and deacon(if you have them) away from the altar during the liturgy of the word. This was so that the attention will be on Jesus present on the altar and not the priest or deacon sitting and listening to the word and looking at the people. Some time ago, we moved the priest’s and deacon’s chairs to the right side of the sanctuary nearer to the communion rail. As was said, the altar is kissed by the priest and deacon and the opening prayers are said from the priest’s chair.:slight_smile:

From the Sacramentary:

When the people are gathered, the Priest approaches the altar with the ministers while the Entrance Chant is sung.

When he has arrived at the altar, after making a profound bow with the ministers, the Priest venerates the altar with a kiss and, if appropriate, incenses the cross and the altar. Then, with the ministers, he goes to the chair.

When the Entrance Chant is concluded, (see, the Chant doesn’t have to stop the second he reaches sanctuary – or even the chair), the Priest and the faithful, standing, sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross, while the Priest, facing the people, says:

There would be no reason for him to go to the chair at all if everything were to be done at the altar. There is actually no mention of the priest at the altar until the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

That’s the way its done at my parish. I never questioned it.

Just rereading this and wondering – where is the priest when he reads the Gospel in your parish?

Its perfectly licit. Where the presider’s chair is placed depends on the layout of the parish. In my parish the presiders chair is off to the side simply because to place it behind the altar would have it visually “competing” with the tabernacle.
Some parishes place the presider’s chair behind the altar and others place it to the side. Either way is licit.

so in short, the priest can be anywhere in the Sanctuary until the Liturgy of the Eucharist? since it doesn’t say if the priest can or cannot be near the altar

the podium (or wait, i know we call that differently, i just can’t think of it right now)

thanks! like i mentioned, i’d never attended a mass before where the priest wasn’t at the altar during opening prayers so i was a little surprised by it when i saw it

i kinda thought that he’s doesn’t really need to be at the altar until the consecration. but never really knew if i was correct in thinking that

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