as a matter of universal law, not local preference
has set apart her ordained ministers in a particular way for the
preaching of the word. Not only have they received a formal training
and commission, they've also received the gift of the Holy Spirit
in a special way to communicate the word of God to the assembly.
In the words of Vatican II, "It is the first task of priests
... to preach the Gospel to all men" (PO 4), and "it pertains
to the office of a deacon ... to instruct and exhort the people"
If the celebrant wishes
to have someone speak about a new parish program, request funds for a good
work, or give a personal witness, the proper time for that follows the Prayer
after Communion (Introduction to the Lectionary, 27).
The homily is the
privileged time for the priest or deacon, guided by the Holy Spirit, to
be an instrument helping God's word to penetrate hearts. For their part,
having been attentive to God's word in the readings, members of the assembly
now act by listening. Understood in this light, a "dialogue" homily
is not suitable. A period of silence serves well after the homily to allow
the homilist's words to open us to the Holy Spirit, who will draw us deeper
into the paschal mystery as it unfolds before us.
On all Sundays and
solemnities, the Profession of Faith follows. This draws us deeper into
the mystery of our faith. We publicly affirm the truths of our faith, which
we've heard in the Scriptures and through the homily (Introduction to the
Lectionary, 29). We should remember to bow profoundly, from the waist, at
the words, "by the power of the Holy Spirit who was born of the Virgin
Mary and became man" to manifest our reverence to the Son of God, who
willed to become one like us. On the Annunciation and Christmas, we should
kneel momentarily at that time.
The General Intercessions,
often called the Prayer of the Faithful, are exactly that a series
of intercessions on the part of the baptized, responding to the word of
God they've just heard. The needs of both the universal and local Church,
and the world, are remembered in brief and thoughtful petitions.
The one who reads
the General Intercessions does so out of his or her baptismal i.e.,
"common" priesthood. As the first among equals in the common
priesthood, the deacon should preferably read these intercessions.
This may be a new
discipline for many of our parishes where the lector or another
person has traditionally read the intercessions. Of course, if a
deacon is not present, or in a special occasional circumstance
to be determined by the pastor, (GIRM 138, 197) then it is properly
the role of a layperson to announce while the celebrant always introduces
the General Intercessions and gives the concluding prayer.
Next: The Liturgy
of the Eucharist begins.