Other Things Priests Say

One of the most popular posts on this blog is entitled, The Sort of Things Priests Say, and has to do with some of the “shop talk” that a priest may encounter in conjunction with celebrating Mass. Back when there was only one Eucharistic Prayer (namely, what we now call the first one – the Roman Canon), and a priest would form an intention concerning those souls he wanted to remember during the memorial of the living (before the consecration) and the memorial of the deceased (after the consecration), it might happen that another priest in the church would say “Memento” to him as he passed by — asking that the priest going to celebrate Mass remember him at the memorial of the living.

(This sort of thing still happens in places like Rome, and the popularity of the post — now five years old, how time has gone by! — suggests that a lot of priests and lay people are interested in knowing about and understanding these old traditions.)

Well, a search term that regularly lands people on my blog — but for which, until now, I did not have a post — has to do with what a priest says at the end of Mass. This would typically happen either back in the sacristy, if the procession ended there, or perhaps outside, if the priest went out to greet people after.

Upon arriving to whatever stopping point, the priest turns toward the crucifix, bows, and says Prosit (“May it be of benefit [to you]”). At which point, the servers and other assisting ministers respond, Omnibus et síngulis (“For all and for each one” — or, more simply, “For everyone” or “To one and all”). Another response one hears is Tibi quoque (“And also to you”). After whatever response, it’s not uncommon for the priest or bishop to give a blessing to all the ministers.

We observed this tradition in seminary; I have encountered it in many places since; and I found it upon arriving to my present assignment also. The blessing that I give after the above back-and-forth is Benedíctio Dei omnipoténtis, Patris, et + Fílii, et Spíritus Sancti descéndat super vos et máneat semper. Amen. — May the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and + the Son, and the Holy Spirit descend upon you and remain with you for ever. Amen.

Of course, if that’s how the procession at the conclusion of Mass ends, the question arises: Is there something in particular that is said before Mass begins? Of course, there is.

Before departing the sacristy for the opening procession of the Mass, the priest should say, Procedámus in pace (“Let us go forth in peace”). To which the servers should respond, In nómine Christi. Amen. (“In the name of Christ. Amen.”).

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