Excerpts and Comments on the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM)

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General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), including adaptations for the dioceses of the USA.



Chapter I: The Importance and Dignity of the Celebration of the Eucharist

Excerpts from Chapter I:

Chapter II: The Structure of the Mass, Its Elements, and Its Parts

This section treats each part of the Mass in order.

Excerpts from Chapter II:
After the Penitential Act, the Kyrie, eleison (Lord, have mercy), is always begun, unless it has already been part of the Penitential Act. Since it is a chant by which the faithful acclaim the Lord and implore his mercy, it is usually executed by everyone, that is to say, with the people and the choir or cantor taking part in it.
Each acclamation is usually pronounced twice, though it is not to be excluded that it be repeated several times, by reason of the character of the various languages, as well as of the artistry of the music or of other circumstances. When the Kyrie is sung as a part of the Penitential Act, a “trope” precedes each acclamation.

Chapter III: Duties and Ministries in the Mass

Excerpts from Chapter III:

Chapter IV: The Different Forms of Celebrating Mass

Excerpts from Chapter IV:

Chapter V: The Arrangement and Ornamentation of Churches for the Celebration of the Eucharist

Excerpts from Chapter V:

Chapter VI: The Requisites for the Celebration of Mass

Excerpts from Chapter VI:

Chapter VII: The Choice of the Mass and Its Parts

Excerpts from Chapter VII:

Chapter VIII: Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions and Masses for the Dead

Excerpts from Chapter VIII:

Chapter IX: Adaptations within the Competence of Bishops and Bishops’ Conferences

Excerpts from Chapter IX:

Postures and Gestures at Mass

Excerpts from "Praying with Body and Mind and Voice":


"Standing is a sign of respect and honor, so we stand as the celebrant who represents Christ enters and leaves the assembly. This posture, from the earliest days of the Church, has been understood as the stance of those who are risen with Christ and seek the things that are above. When we stand for prayer we assume our full stature before God, not in pride, but in humble gratitude for the marvelous thing God has done in creating and redeeming each one of us. By Baptism we have been given a share in the life of God, and the posture of standing is an acknowledgment of this wonderful gift. We stand for the Gospel, the pinnacle of revelation, the words and deeds of the Lord, and the bishops of the United States have chosen standing as the posture to be observed in this country for the reception of Communion, the sacrament which unites us in the most profound way possible with Christ who, now gloriously risen from the dead, is the cause of our salvation."


"The posture of kneeling signified penance in the early Church: the awareness of sin casts us to the ground! So thoroughly was kneeling identified with penance that the early Christians were forbidden to kneel on Sundays and during the Easter Season when the prevailing spirit of the liturgy was that of joy and thanksgiving. In the Middle Ages kneeling came to signify the homage of a vassal to his lord, and more recently this posture has come to signify adoration. It is for this reason that the bishops of this country have chosen the posture of kneeling for the entire Eucharistic Prayer."


"Sitting is the posture of listening and meditation, so the congregation sits for the pre-Gospel readings and may also sit for the period of meditation following Communion."

Sign of the Cross

"Gestures too involve our bodies in prayer. The most familiar of these is the Sign of the Cross with which we begin Mass and with which, in the form of a blessing, the Mass concludes. ... Fr. Romano Guardini, a scholar and professor of liturgy wrote of this gesture:
"'When we cross ourselves, let it be with a real sign of the cross. Instead of a small, cramped gesture that gives no notion of its meaning, let us make a large, unhurried sign, from forehead to breast, from shoulder to shoulder, consciously feeling how it includes the whole of us, our thoughts, our attitudes, our body and soul, every part of us all at once, how it consecrates and sanctifies us ... (Romano Guardini, Sacred Signs, 1927)'"


"Finally, with the new General Instruction, we are asked to make a sign of reverence, to be determined by the bishops of each country or region, before receiving Communion standing. The bishops of this country have determined that the sign which we will give before Communion is to be a bow, a gesture through which we express our reverence and give honor to Christ who comes to us as our spiritual food."