I. Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions
- Since the liturgy of the Sacraments and Sacramentals has as its effect that for the faithful who are properly disposed almost every event in life is sanctified by the divine grace that flows from the Paschal Mystery, and because the Eucharist is the Sacrament of Sacraments, the Missal provides examples of Mass formularies and orations that may be used in the various occasions of Christian life for the needs of the whole world or for the needs of the Church, whether universal or local.
- In view of the rather broad possibilities of choice among the readings and orations, it is desirable that Masses for Various Needs and Occasions be used in moderation, that is, when truly required.
- In all the Masses for Various Needs and Occasions, unless expressly indicated otherwise, it is permissible to use the weekday readings and also the chants between them, if they are suited to the celebration.
- Among Masses of this kind are included Ritual Masses, Masses for Various Needs and Occasions, and Votive Masses.
- Ritual Masses are connected to the celebration of certain Sacraments or Sacramentals. They are prohibited on Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter, on Solemnities, on the days within the Octave of Easter, on the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day), on Ash Wednesday, and during Holy Week, and furthermore due regard is to be had for the norms set out in the ritual books or in the Masses themselves.
- Masses for Various Needs and Occasions are used in certain situations either as occasion arises or at fixed times.
Days or periods of prayer for the fruits of the earth, prayer for human rights and equality, prayer for world justice and peace, and penitential observances outside Lent are to be observed in the Dioceses of the United States of America at times to be designated by the Diocesan Bishop.
In all the Dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life and of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion. The liturgical celebrations for this day may be the Mass “For Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life” (no. 48/1 of the Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions), celebrated with white vestments, or the Mass “For the Preservation of Peace and Justice” (no. 30 of the Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions), cele-brated with violet vestments.
- If any case of a graver need or of pastoral advantage should arise, at the direction of the Diocesan Bishop or with his permission, an appropriate Mass may be celebrated on any day except Solemnities, the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter, days within the Octave of Easter, the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day), Ash Wednesday, and the days of Holy Week.
- Votive Masses of the mysteries of the Lord or in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary or of the Angels or of any given Saint or of all the Saints may be said in response to the devotion of the faithful on weekdays in Ordinary Time, even if an Optional Memorial occurs. However, it is not permitted to celebrate as Votive Masses those that refer to mysteries related to events in the life of the Lord or of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the exception of the Mass of the Immaculate Conception, since their celebration is an integral part of the course of the liturgical year.
- On days when there occurs an Obligatory Memorial or on a weekday of Advent up to and including December 16, of Christmas Time from January 2, and of Easter Time after the Octave of Easter, Masses for Various Needs and Occasions and Votive Masses are in principle forbidden. If, however, some real necessity or pastoral advantage calls for it, in the estimation of the rector of the church or the Priest Celebrant himself, a Mass appropriate to the same may be used in a celebration with the people.
- On weekdays in Ordinary Time when an Optional Memorial occurs or when the Office is of the weekday, it is permissible to celebrate any Mass for Various Needs and Occasions, or use any prayer for the same, but to the exclusion of Ritual Masses.
- Particularly recommended is the Saturday commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, because it is to the Mother of the Redeemer that in the Liturgy of the Church firstly and before all the Saints veneration is given.
II. Masses for the Dead
- The Church offers the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Christ’s Pasch for the dead so that, since all the members of Christ’s Body are in communion with one another, what implores spiritual help for some, may bring comforting hope to others.
- Among the Masses for the Dead, the Funeral Mass holds first place. It may be celebrated on any day except for Solemnities that are Holydays of Obligation, Thursday of Holy Week (Holy Thursday), the Paschal Triduum, and the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter, with due regard also for all the other requirements of the norm of the law.
- A Mass for the Dead, on receiving the news of a death, for the final burial, or the first anniversary, may be celebrated even on days within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas), on days when an Obligatory Memorial occurs, and on weekdays other than Ash Wednesday or the weekdays of Holy Week.
Other Masses for the Dead or “daily” Masses, may be celebrated on weekdays in Ordinary Time on which Optional Memorials occur or when the Office is of the weekday, provided such Masses are actually applied for the dead.
- At Funeral Masses there should usually be a short Homily, but to the exclusion of a funeral eulogy of any kind.
- The faithful, and especially those of the deceased’s family, should be urged to participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice offered for the deceased person, also by receiving Holy Communion.
- 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.
- In the arranging and choosing of the variable parts of the Mass for the Dead, especially the Funeral Mass (for example, orations, readings, and the Universal Prayer), pastoral considerations bearing upon the deceased, the family, and those attending should be kept in mind.
Moreover, pastors should take into special account those who are present at a liturgical celebration or who hear the Gospel on the occasion of the funeral and who may be non-Catholics or Catholics who never or hardly ever participate in the Eucharist or who seem even to have lost the faith. For Priests are ministers of Christ’s Gospel for all.
 Cf. Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 61.
 Cf. Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium, no. 54; Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation, Marialis cultus, February 2, 1974, no. 9: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 66 (1974), pp. 122-123.
 Cf. particularly Code of Canon Law, cc. 1176-1185; Rituale Romanum, Ordo Exsequiarum, editio typica, 1969.
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