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Q & A

What can be remove from the Liturgy?

In the Roman Missal*, the Prayer of the Faithful is omitted for the following: Ordinations, Blessings of an Abbess, Consecration of Virgins, Perpetual Professions, Dedication of a Church and Altar, and the Dedication of an Altar. 


From the GIRM (emphasis mine):

46: "In certain celebrations that are combined with Mass according to the norms of the liturgical books, the Introductory Rites are omitted or take place in a particular way." (One examples would be the extended entrances for Palm Sunday with the blessing of palms.) 

62c: "the Alleluia or the Verse before the Gospel, if not sung, may be omitted." (The Alleluia is not said or sung during Lent. )

66. "On Sundays and Holydays of Obligation there is to be a Homily at every Mass that is celebrated with the people attending, and it may not be omitted without a grave reason. ...."

119b, regarding sacred vestments: "for the Deacon: the alb, the stole, and the dalmatic; the latter may be omitted, however, either out of necessity or on account of a lesser degree of solemnity..."

170: "If, however, another liturgical action follows the Mass, the Concluding Rites, that is, the Greeting, the Blessing, and the Dismissal, are omitted." 

173. When he [the Deacon] reaches the altar, if he is carrying the Book of the Gospels, he omits the sign of reverence and goes up to the altar. It is a praiseworthy practice for him to place the Book of the Gospels on the altar, after which, together with the Priest, he venerates the altar with a kiss."

209. "The concelebrants put on in the vesting room, or other suitable place, the sacred vestments they customarily wear when celebrating Mass individually. However, should a just cause arise (e.g., a more considerable number of concelebrants or a lack of vestments), concelebrants other than the principal celebrant may omit the chasuble and simply wear the stole over the alb."

254. "Mass should not be celebrated without a minister, or at least one of the faithful, except for a just and reasonable cause. In this case, the greetings, the instructions, and the blessing at the end of Mass are omitted."

272. "[At a Mass at which only one minister participates] The Concluding Rites are carried out as at a Mass with the people, but the Ite, missa est (Go forth, the Mass is ended) is omitted. ...."

338. "The vestment proper to the Deacon is the dalmatic, worn over the alb and stole; however, the dalmatic may be omitted out of necessity or on account of a lesser degree of solemnity."

355. "On Optional Memorials, c) [....] If he [the priest] celebrates with the people, the Priest will take care not to omit too frequently and without sufficient reason the readings assigned each day in the Lectionary to the weekdays, for the Church desires that a richer portion at the table of God’s Word should be spread before the people."

384. "If the Funeral Mass is directly joined to the rite of burial, once the Prayer after Communion has been said and omitting the Concluding Rites, there takes place the Rite of Final Commendation or Farewell. This rite is celebrated only if the body is present."

Things may also be removed from the Mass because of a bishop's guidelines. These may or may not be published for the laity. Bishops' authority over the Mass are explained in the GIRM, Chapter IX, "Adaptations within the Competence of Bishops and Bishops' Conferences," beginning at 386. Father Edward McNamara, LC, in Bishops' Interpretations of Liturgical Laws in EWTN's Library, explains what a bishop cannot remove from the liturgy and why. 

* All page numbers refer to the USCCB edition of the Roman Missal. See Church Documents for information on where to find a pdf copy online. If you are outside of the United States of America, your Bishops' conference's edition may vary slightly in wording. When documenting an abuse, always refer to the documents from your Bishops' conference.

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