Apr 15, 2002


Online Edition – Vol. VIII, No. 2: April 2002

USCCB’s proposals for American adaptations to the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani

Revised November 2001 – awaiting recognitio by the Holy See

Following are proposed variations for the Church in the United States of certain paragraphs of the new Institutio Generalis, voted on by the bishops during their November 2001 meeting. It is expected that most of these will be approved with relatively minor changes. No announcement has yet been made about the appearance of an approved English version of the IGMR with the US adaptations incorporated. – Editor.

(For the bishops’ November discussion of the adaptations, and Cardinal Medina’s letter to the USCCB see AB Dec 01-Jan 02)


43 – Posture of the Faithful

43.2 – People may sit or kneel during the period of religious silence after Communion.

43.3 – People should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer. The faithful kneel at the Ecce Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.

48 – Opening Song

Four options for the opening song: (1) the antiphon and Psalm from the Roman Missal as set to music by the Roman Gradual or in another musical setting; (2) the seasonal antiphon and Psalm of the Simple Gradual; (3) a song from another collection of psalms and antiphons, approved by the USCCB or the diocesan bishop, including Psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) a suitable liturgical song chosen in accordance with IGMR no. 48.

61.4 – Responsorial Psalm

One of the following may also be sung in place of the Psalm assigned in the Lectionary for Mass: either the proper or seasonal antiphon and Psalm from the Lectionary, set either in the manner of the Roman or Simple Gradual, or, in another musical setting; or, an antiphon and Psalm from another collection of the Psalms and antiphons, including Psalms arranged in metrical form, providing that they have been approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or the diocesan Bishop. Songs or hymns may not be used in place of the responsorial Psalm.

67 – The Apostles’ Creed

The Apostles’ Creed may replace the Nicene Creed at Masses with Children and on Sundays of the Easter season.

87 – Communion Song

Four options for the Communion song. [Same as for the opening song.]

154.2 – The Sign of Peace

On special occasions the priest may offer the sign of peace to a few of the faithful near the sanctuary.

160.2 – Distribution of Holy Communion

The norm for reception of Holy Communion is standing. Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion because they kneel.

When receiving Holy Communion standing, the communicant bows his head before the sacrament as a gesture of reverence, and may receive either on the tongue or in the hand.

283.3 – Communion under Both Kinds

In all that pertains to Communion under both kinds, One Bread, One Cup: Norms for Holy Communion under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America is to be followed (see §§ 27­54).

[NOTE: The status of this US document has not been reported as of press date. – Ed.]

301 – Materials for Fixed Altars

Wood which is worthy, solid, and well-crafted may be used for the mensa [top] of the altar.

304 – Color of Altar Cloths

When, more than one cloth is used to cover the altar, cloths whose colors possess special religious, honorific or festive significance in individual cultures may be employed, provided that the uppermost cloth covering the mensa is always white in color.

318.3 – Veiling of Crosses and Images

Crosses and images in the church may be covered from the conclusion of the Mass for Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent until the end of the celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday (crucifixes, crosses) or until the Easter Vigil (other images).

326 – Materials for Sacred Furnishings

Wood, stone or metal which are solid and appropriate may be used.

329 – Material for Sacred Vessels

Vessels may be made even of ceramics or glass, provided that such materials do not break easily or deteriorate and are not common or domestic in their appearance.

[Note: IGMR §328 requires sacred vessels to be"noble metal"; but §329 permits bishops’ conferences to use other "noble" material that does not "break easily or deteriorate".]

339 – Vesture for Lay Ministers

Acolytes, altar servers, readers and other lay ministers may wear the alb or other suitable vesture or other appropriate and dignified clothing.

346 – Color of Sacred Vestments

White, violet or black vestments may be worn at funeral services and at other offices and Masses for the dead. Gold or silver colored vestments may be worn on more solemn occasions.

362 – Readings for Mass

The adaptations to the Ordo Lectionum Missae as contained in the Lectionary for Mass for use in the Dioceses of the United States of America should be carefully observed.

373 – Special Days of Prayer

The diocesan bishop may designate special days of prayer. In all US dioceses January 22 (or January 23, when the 22nd falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life. The Mass "For Peace and Justice" (no. 21 from "Masses for Various Needs") should be celebrated with violet vestments.

393 – Musical Instruments and Approval of Musical Settings

All musical settings of the texts for the people’s responses and acclamations in the Order of Mass and for special rites must be submitted to the USCCB Secretariat for the Liturgy for review and approval.

Various wind, stringed or percussion instruments may be used in liturgical services, especially when they are an authentic expression of the culture of the faithful.



The Editors