The General Instruction of the Roman Missal
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326. For well-disposed Christians the liturgy of the sacraments and
sacramentals causes almost every event in human life to be made holy
by divine grace that flows from the paschal mystery. The
eucharist, in turn, is the sacrament of sacraments. Accordingly, the
Missal provides formularies for Masses and prayers that may be used
in the various circumstances of Christian life, for the needs of the
whole world, and for the needs of the Church, both local and
327. In view of the broad options for choosing the readings and
prayers, the Masses for various needs and occasions should be used
sparingly, that is, when the occasion requires.
328. In all the Masses for various needs and occasions, unless
otherwise indicated, the weekday readings and the chants between them
may be used, if they are suited to the celebration.
329. The Masses for various needs and occasions are of three types:
a. the ritual Masses, which are related to the celebration of certain
sacraments or sacramentals;
b. the Masses for various needs and occasions, which are used either
as circumstances arise or at fixed times;
c. the votive Masses of the mysteries of the Lord or in honor of Mary
or a particular saint or of all the saints, which are options
provided in favor of the faithful's devotion.
330. Ritual Masses are prohibited on the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and
the Easter season, on solemnities, on days within the octave of
Easter, on All Souls, on Ash Wednesday, and during Holy Week. In
addition, the norms in the ritual books or in the Masses themselves
331. From the selection of Masses for various needs and occasions,
the competent authority may choose Masses for those special days of
prayer that the conferences of bishops may decree during the course
of the year.
332. In cases of serious need or pastoral advantage, at the direction
of the local Ordinary or with his permission, an appropriate Mass
maybe celebrated on any day except solemnities, the Sundays of
Advent, Lent, and the Easter season, days within the octave of
Easter, on All Souls, Ash Wednesday, and during Holy Week.
333. On obligatory memorials, on the weekdays of Advent until 16
December, of the Christmas season after 2 January, and of the Easter
season after the octave of Easter, Masses for various needs and
occasions are per se forbidden. But if some real need or pastoral
advantage requires, at the discretion of the rector of the church or
the priest celebrant, the Masses corresponding to such need or
advantage may be used in a celebration with a congregation.
334. On weekdays in Ordinary Time when there is an optional memorial
or the office is of that weekday, any Mass or prayer for various
needs and occasions is permitted, but ritual Masses are excluded.
335. The Church offers Christ's paschal sacrifice for the dead so
that on the basis of the communion existing between all Christ's
members, the petition for spiritual help on behalf of some members
may bring others comforting hope.
336. The funeral Mass has first place among the Masses for the dead
and may be celebrated on any day except solemnities that are days of
obligation, Holy Thursday, the Easter triduum, and the Sundays of
Advent, Lent, and the Easter season.
337. On the occasions of news of a death, final burial, or the first
anniversary, Mass for the dead may be celebrated even on days within
the Christmas octave, on obligatory memorials, and on weekdays,
except Ash Wednesday and during Holy Week.
Other Masses for the dead, that is, daily Masses, may be celebrated
on weekdays in Ordinary Time when there is an optional memorial or
the office is of the weekday, provided such Masses are actually
offered for the dead.
338. At the funeral Mass there should as a rule be a short homily,
but never a eulogy of any kind. The homily is also recommended at
other Masses for the dead celebrated with a congregation.
339. All the faithful, and especially the family, should be urged to
share in the eucharistic sacrifice offered for the deceased person by
340. If the funeral Mass is directly joined to the burial rite, once
the prayer after communion has been said and omitting the rite of
dismissal, the rite of final commendation or of farewell takes place,
but only when the body is present.
341. In the planning and choosing of the variable parts of the Mass
for the dead, especially the funeral Mass (for example, prayers,
readings, general intercessions) pastoral considerations bearing upon
the deceased, the family, and those attending should rightly be
Pastors should, moreover, take into special account those who are
present at a liturgical celebration or hear the Gospel only because
of the funeral. These may be non-Catholics or Catholics who never or
rarely share in the eucharist or who have apparently lost the faith.
Priests are, after all, ministers of Christ's Gospel for all people.
This translation of the GIRM is not based on the Latin text
accompanying the 1969 <Ordo Missae>, but rather that in the 1975
<editio typica altera> of the <Missale Romanum>. Three versions of
the GIRM preceded that accompanying the <editio typica altera>: 1)
The GIRM issued with the new <Ordo Missae> promulgated 6 April 1969;
2) The GIRM as emended in the <editio typica> of the <Missale
Romanum>, promulgated 26 March 1970; 3) The GIRM as emended by the
variations published by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship 23
December 1972, following the suppression of the diaconate and minor
orders by the <motu proprio Ministeria quaedam>, 15 August 1972.
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