topLiturgy Line                                         
A Seasonal Liturgical Resource
from the Archdiocese of Seattle Liturgy Office
                                                                                          Fall 2012
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Patronal Feastday of the United States of America is celebrated on Saturday,December 8, 2012.

Except when transferred to December 9 due to an Advent Sunday, this solemnity is always a Holy Day of Obligation in the United States.

As Sundays of Advent rank higher in the Table of Liturgical Days, Masses on Saturday evening, December 8, are that of the Second Sunday of Advent.

Mark Kiszelewski Ordained a Deacon

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S. ordained Mark Kiszelewski to the Sacred Order of the Diaconate on Saturday, August 18th at St. Therese Church in  Seattle. Mark, a seminarian for the Archdiocese, currently studies at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Wisconsin.


Let us keep Deacon Mark Kiszelewski and all of the seminarians in our prayers. 

22 Candidates to be Ordained as Deacons
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Remembering Vatican II: Talking About LIturgy
The Second Vatican Council opened on October 11, 1962, and on October 12, 1962 the Council Fathers got to work. The first topic they tackled was the liturgy.

What was the day-to-day experience of the Council like? The bishops assembled in St. Peter's Basilica, sitting in bleachers facing each other across the nave. They did not sit with their national groups, but in order of precedence (that is, the date they were ordained bishops), which meant that many new friendships were formed across national and linguistic divides. The discussion of each topic began with a draft document called a "schema." Any Council Father was free to critique, defend, or comment on any aspect of each schema. At various points, the moderator of the session (the Cardinals took turns serving as moderator) would call for a vote and move the conversation forward.


The Council was not, therefore, a free-form, open-ended discussion, but something more like a parliamentary debate. All the proceedings were conducted in Latin, which meant that the Bishops had to plan and prepare their "interventions," as their responses were called, well in advance. Even though Latin was the universal language of the Church, the Fathers soon found that Latin as pronounced by a German sounded quite different from Latin as pronounced by an Englishman, a Roman, or an American.


Liturgy was the first topic the Council tackled, partly because of the importance of the liturgy in the life of the Church, and partly because it was clear that the liturgical renewal had already begun. In 1947, Pope Pius XII published Mediator Dei, an encyclical on liturgy which anticipated many of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. In 1955, the same Pope reformed the liturgies of Holy Week, restoring the Holy Thursday Mass and the Easter Vigil to the evening (they had been celebrated in the morning since the Council of Trent).


The Church was ready for liturgical reform, but that didn't mean that there wasn't considerable debate. Some of the issues that emerged were the use of Latin, communion under both kinds, and the importance of the liturgy in forming and teaching the faithful and seekers alike. In listening to each other and responding to each other, the Council Fathers gradually revised and enhanced the liturgy schema. At the end of the second session of the Council, on December 4, 1963, the final document was presented for a vote. It was approved by a landslide: 2,147 bishops voted in favor; only 4 voted against it.


In subsequent issues of Liturgy Line, we'll explore some of the key teachings of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.


Corinna Laughlin

Pastoral Assistant for Liturgy

St. James Cathedral, Seattle


When there is a deacon present at the Eucharistic celebration, he should exercise his ministry wearing sacred vestments. (1) The Deacon:
  1. assists the priest and processes at his side (unless he is carrying the Book of the Gospels, in which case, he precedes the priest) (GIRM 171a)
  2. ministers the chalice and the Roman Missal at the  altar;
  3. proclaims the Gospel and, at the request of the priest celebrant, may preach the homily (GIRM 55);
  4. gives timely directions to the faithful and announces the intentions in the Universal Prayer;
  5. assists the priest celebrant in distributing Communion, especially as minister of the Precious Blood, and cleanses and arranges the sacred vessels;
  6. as needed, performs the offices of other ministers when none of them are present (GIRM 171).

Introductory Rites

  • Vested and carrying the Book of the Gospels slightly elevated, the deacon precedes the priest on the way to the altar or else walks at the priest's side if the Book of the Gospels is already enshrined on the altar (GIRM 172).
  • Upon arriving at the altar, if he is carrying the Book of the Gospels, the deacon omits the reverence and goes up to the altar.
  • After placing the Book of the Gospels on it, along with the priest, he venerates the altar with a kiss. However, if he is not carrying the Book of the Gospels, he customarily makes a profound bow to the altar with the priest alone, and then with him venerates the altar with a kiss. If, however, the tabernacle is located in the sanctuary, all the ministers genuflect to it only when they first approach the altar and when they leave the sanctuary, but not during the celebration of Mass itself (GIRM 274). Finally, if incense is used, he assists the priest in putting some in the censer and incensing the cross and the altar (GIRM 173).
  • After the incensation, the deacon goes to the chair with the priest, sits next to him, and assists him as required (GIRM 174).

Liturgy of the Word

  • If incense is used, the deacon assists the priest when he puts incense in the censer during the singing of the Alleluia or other chant.
  • Then he makes a profound bow before the priest and asks for the blessing, saying in a low voice: "Your blessing, Father." The priest blesses him: " May the Lord be in your the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." The deacon signs himself with the sign of the cross and responds: Amen.
  • Then he takes the Book of the Gospels which was fittingly laid on the altar and, with a bow to the altar, processes to the ambo, slightly elevating the book, with the censer bearer preceding him, while the censer is smoking, and with ministers holding lighted candles.
  • There he greets the people, saying, with his hands joined: " The Lord be with you," The people reply "And with your spirit" and then the Deacon says, " A reading from the Holy Gospel according to N." signing the book with his thumb and afterwards, himself on his forehead, mouth and breast.
  • He incenses the book and proclaims the Gospel reading.
  • After the reading, he acclaims without raising the Book of the Gospels: "The Gospel of the Lord," to which all respond: "Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ."
  • Then he venerates the book with a kiss and the deacon says inaudibly: " Through the words of the gospel may our sins be washed away." He then returns the book to the priest or places it in another suitable place.
  • When the deacon is assisting a Bishop, he may carry the book to him to be kissed.
  • In more solemn celebrations, as circumstances allow, the Bishop may impart a blessing to the people with the Book of the Gospels.
  • Then the deacon carries the Book of the Gospels to the side table or another dignified and appropriate place (GIRM 175). If there is no other qualified reader present, then the deacon may deliver the other readings as well (GIRM 176). However, every effort should be made to insure the presence of lectors for the celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy.
  • After the priest introduces the Universal Prayer, that is, the Prayer of the Faithful, the deacon announces the prayers from the ambo or another suitable place (GIRM 177). At the conclusion of this prayer, the deacon begins the preparation of the altar.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

  • After the Universal Prayer, while the priest remains at the chair, the deacon prepares the altar, assisted by the acolyte(s), but the care of the sacred vessels belongs to the deacon. He assists the priest in receiving the people's gifts in a suitable place.
  • Next, he hands the priest the paten with the bread to be consecrated, pours wine and a little water into the chalice saying inaudibly: " By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity." then passes the chalice to the priest.
  • He may also make this preparation of the chalice at the side table.
  • If incense is used, the deacon assists the priest with the incensation of the gifts, the cross and the altar; afterward he, or the acolyte, incenses the priest and the people (GIRM 178).
  • During the Eucharistic Prayer, the deacon stands near but slightly behind the priest, so that when needed he may assist the priest with the chalice or the Roman Missal
  • As a general rule, from the epiclesis until the elevation of the chalice the deacon remains kneeling. If there are several deacons present, one of them goes to place  incense in the censer for the consecration and then incenses at the elevation of the host and the chalice (GIRM 179).
  • At the final doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer, the deacon stands next to the priest, and after the priest (or Bishop) hands him the chalice, he elevates the chalice as the priest raises the paten with the Eucharistic bread, until the people have responded with the acclamation Amen (GIRM 180).
  • After the priest has said the prayer for peace and the greeting " The peace of the Lord be with you always" and the people have made the response " And with your spirit," the deacon may invite all to exchange the sign of peace, saying, with hands joined and facing the people: "Let us offer each other the sign of peace." He himself receives the sign of peace from the priest and may offer it to the other ministers near him (GIRM 181).
  • After the priest's communion, the deacon receives under both kinds from the priest himself and then assists the priest in giving communion to the people. But if communion is given under both kinds, the deacon ministers the chalice.
  • When the distribution is completed, the deacon immediately and reverently consumes at the altar all of the Blood of Christ which remains; he may be assisted, if needs dictate, by other deacons and priests (GIRM 182) or, in their absence, by Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion in the Dioceses of the United States of America,  37).
  • After communion, the deacon returns to the altar with the priest and collects any remaining fragments. He then takes the chalice and other vessels to the side table, where he cleanses them and arranges them in the usual way; the priest returns to the chair. But it is permissible to leave the vessels to be cleansed, suitably covered and at a side table on a corporal, immediately after Mass following the dismissal of the people (GIRM 183).

Concluding Rite

  • Following the Prayer after Communion, if there are any brief announcements, the deacon may make them, unless the priest prefers to do so himself (GIRM 184).
  • If a more solemn formula for the blessing is used, or even a prayer over the people, the deacon says: "Bow down for the blessing."
  • After the priest's blessing, the deacon, with hands joined and facing the people, dismisses them, saying: "Go forth, the Mass is ended." or using one of the other formulas of the Roman Missal (GIRM 185).
  • Along with the priest, the deacon venerates the altar with a kiss, makes a profound bow, (2) and leaves in the manner prescribed for the entrance procession (GIRM 186).


  1. See Paul VI, Apostolic Letter, Sacrum diaconatus ordinem, AAS 59 (1967), 697-704; Roman Pontifical, De Ordinatione Episcopi, presbyterorum et diaconarum, editio typica altera, 1989, no. 173.
  2. If there is a tabernacle in the sanctuary, all genuflect. 
Based upon Roman Missal Formational Materials provided by the Secretariat for the Liturgy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2010.

We've passed the midway point now of the longest stretch of Ordinary Time. School has started and we are beginning to look forward, just a little bit, to a change in the seasons.   How might our church environment reflect that? Should it be a gradual change from what we have experienced in the summer months or a dramatic shift to what we know as autumn?


Either way will work, really, but I think a more gradual change from summer to autumn is a natural linking with the beautiful world around us. It might begin by placing flowers we more easily associate with autumn. Chrysanthemums are large and plentiful now, coming in a wonderful array of  purples, golds, oranges, and reds. Hydrangea blooms are turning color and can be easily dried. Placing these plants or dried flowers in baskets furthers the transformation to fall. Once these flowers become part of the environment, I'm already yearning for the more olive tones of green in the textiles we place in the space.


Summer grasses, having turned yellow, can provide a distinct look as we approach All Saints and All Souls Day, when the autumn harvest can be brought more fully into the sacred space. I enjoy using pumpkins, gourds, even corn stalks in the right place. It's all in how it's used. Cornstalks neatly tied at the entry or by the font remind us that we all will die one day, harvested one might say, and be raised to live anew. Deciduous tree branches are beautiful this time of year with their range of color. Find a way to use them in shrines or areas where they can be enjoyed up close. Baskets or groupings of pumpkins and gourds, nuts and cones suggest that the harvest is plenty and that our hearts are full of gratitude. Be mindful that our Sacrificial Giving Campaign is in November. We will be asked to give out of a sense of gratitude and blessing.


If a more dramatic shift in the environment is in order take your cues from the lectionary and the array of feasts in the month of September and October. The Exaltation of the Holy Cross is a significant feast. We reflect on the glory of the cross as a means of our redemption. Following this feast is the time I would make the shift in textiles. Along with the olive tones, burgundy, gold, burnt orange and russet speak fall to us. Be sure they coordinate well with the green used for vestments.

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe wraps up ordinary time with resplendent gold and white. Let this shine even through your fall environment. It may be as simple as adding in some metallic gold and ivory rather than changing out the entire environment. With Thanksgiving celebrated just days before, leaving the environment intact can be especially useful.


Michelle Clinton

Steward for Liturgical Ministries

St. Michael, Seattle


On October 21, 2012, at St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Benedict  XVI will canonize a Native American woman who has been beloved by people in North America and beyond for nearly four hundred years: Kateri Tekakwitha.


How do you get from blessed to saint?


The road to sainthood begins when a holy person's name is brought before the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican. Careful review of the candidate's biography and writings and extensive interviews with any living eyewitnesses follow. If the cause is accepted, the holy person is declared "Venerable" and prayer asking the holy person's intercession is encouraged.  

At this point in the process, the Church waits for miracles. A miracle is needed for beatification ("Blessed") and another miracle for canonization ("Saint"). For centuries, the Church has seen miracles worked through the intercession of the holy person as a sign that the person is truly with God in heaven. Just as the life, writings and impact of the holy person are carefully investigated, the miracles are subject to intense scrutiny. Medical records are submitted, doctors, nurses, family, and friends are interviewed, and the complete dossier is then submitted to Rome. When the miracle has been admitted by the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, the road is open for the canonization of the holy person.


What miracle led to Blessed Kateri's canonization?


The canonization of Blessed Kateri has special meaning for the Church in Western Washington because the miracle that opened the way for her canonization took

Jake Finkbonner pictured with
Father Michael G. Ryan and the Cathedral Choir Camp.

  place in our own Archdiocese, with the miraculous healing of Jake Finkbonner, a young Ferndale boy who was attacked by flesh-eating bacteria in 2006.

(Read Jake's story at the family website) Jake, who is now 12, is a normal kid and a student at Assumption School in Bellingham. He and his family will be present when Kateri is canonized on October 21.


The story of Kateri Tekakwitha


Tekakwitha was born in 1656 in what is now New York to a Algonquin mother, a convert to Christianity, and an Iroquois father. When she was four years old, smallpox devastated her family and her tribe: in a few days, Kateri lost her mother, her father, and her brother. The disease left her severely scarred and almost blind (her name, "Tekakwitha" or "Tegahkouita" as it is variously spelled, is said to mean "the one who bumps into things"). She was raised by her aunts and uncles. Her situation became difficult when, as a teenager, she refused to marry the young man who had been chosen for her, and even more when, touched by the preaching of the "Blackrobes," the Jesuit missionaries, she converted to Christianity. At her baptism, Tekakwitha was given the name "Catherine" - Kateri.

Kateri endured much mockery and maltreatment for her faith. When she heard of the Mission of St. Francis Xavier du Sault, where she could practice her faith in peace, she left her home and set out on foot. There she spent the rest of her life, living among other Christian converts. She longed to enter religious life, but was not permitted to do so, though the Jesuit Fathers did allow her to make private vows. She lived a life of profound prayer and severe mortification until her death from tuberculosis at the age of 24, on April 17, 1680. Because of her love of chastity, Kateri came to be known as "the lily of the Mohawks." She was beatified by Blessed John Paul II in 1980, three hundred years after her death.


Marking the Canonization


As we celebrate the canonization of the new saint, parishes may wish to mark the moment in the Sunday liturgy. While the readings and prayers on October 21 must be those of the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, there are many ways to mark the moment. You might prepare a special bulletin insert for that weekend (you are welcome to reprint this article if you wish). If you have an icon or image of Kateri or one of the other new saints (Pedro Calungsod, a Filipino lay catechist and martyr, and Mother Marianne Cope, who worked among the lepers at Molokai, will be canonized at the same time as Kateri), you could either carry it in the procession, or place it in a dedicated area with candles and flowers. The Prayer of the Faithful is an appropriate time to make mention of the new saint as you include a petition for Native American people, especially those in our own Archdiocese. The intercessions could conclude with this prayer or with the Missal prayer for Saint Kateri.


O God,
we thank you for your saint,
Kateri Tekakwitha,
and for all the wonders you have worked
in answer to her prayers.

Through her intercession,
gather people from every nation, tribe, and language,
to praise you in your Church
in one canticle of praise.
Through Christ our Lord.


Corinna Laughlin

Pastoral Assistant for Liturgy

St. James Cathedral, Seattle