As we continue to review our liturgy in light of the New Archdiocesan Liturgical Handbook, I would like to draw your attention to a small detail that we have implemented when we don’t have a deacon. In the entrance procession, again when there is no deacon, the Readers processes in with the Altar Servers and Priest. When the group reaches the front of the Sanctuary, they will all make a gesture of reverence (a bow to the Altar or Genuflection when there is a Tabernacle behind the Altar). Then all ministers will take their place. The Reader who is carrying the Book of he Gospels will enter the Sanctuary to “enthrone” or put the Book of the Gospels in the holder which is on top of the Altar. The change here is that prior, the Reader would not stop when approaching the Altar and then immediately enthrone the Book of the Gospels. The simple change is that they will wait in the front of the Sanctuary with all the other ministers when they make their sign of reverence. A note to make here is that if a genuflection is the called for gesture, then the ministers do this unless they are carrying something, such as the Book of the Gospels or Candles, or other items. I hope this helps when you notice something is a little different when the procession approaches the Altar. The reason for this change is first, the General Instructions to the Roman Missal (GIRM) call for it, and secondly it does not confuse the roll of the deacon who is the only one who approaches the Altar with the Book of the Gospels straight away upon reaching the Sanctuary, an action I had our Readers doing for quite a long time. My bad, as they say! This is all in the efforts to keep our liturgy in conformity with liturgical norms.
Fr. William Holtzinger