Policies and Protocols


Deacon’s Guide for Eucharistic Celebrations                                 

Music Ministers’ Liturgy Guide                                                              

Sacristans’ Liturgy Guide                                                 

School Liturgies
Treaty Land Acknowledgments                                               

Section 5:  Catholic Cemeteries
Cemetery Specific Policy                                                                         
Fees & Perpetual Care Fund    

Funeral Rites                                                                          

Symbols & Other Symbols                                             

Right to Ecclesiastical Funerals & other Special Circumstances  Cremation                                            
Fees  (See your pastor for details)       
Conditions of Burials  & other Special Circumstances
Rite of Committal                                                                   

Section 6:  Administration Policy
Offering of the Faithful
Diocesan Assessment                                                                              

Soliciting funds from Parishioners for Charitable Purpose                    

Vocation Trust                                                            
Property Insurance                                 
Diocesan Finance Committee                                                               


  Section I

 The YOUCAT or Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church poses an interesting question:


“Why does God want there to be a Church?”  

It then gives this answer:

“God wills the CHURCH because he wants to redeem us, not individually, but together. He wants to make all mankind his people. No one gets to heaven by the a-social route. Someone who thinks only about himself and the salvation of his own soul is living a-socially. That is impossible both in heaven and on earth. God himself is not a-social: he is not a solitary, self-sufficient being. The triune God in himself is “social”, a communion, an eternal exchange of love. Patterned after God, we also are designed for relationship, exchange, sharing and love. We are responsible for one another.” (cf. YOUCAT, p. 78)

Another interesting question is:

“Why can there be only one Church?” 

Its answer is:

“Just as there is only one Christ, there can be only one Body of Christ, only one Bride of Christ, and therefore only one CHURCH of Jesus Christ. He is the Head, the Church is the Body. Together they form the “whole Christ” (St Augustine). Just as the body has many members yet is one, so too the one Church consists of and is made up of many particular churches (dioceses).” (cf. YOUCAT, p. 81)

The Diocese of St Paul in Alberta is just such a particular Church, formed “after the model of the universal Church” (Lumen Gentium, no. 23) and entrusted “to a bishop to be guided by him with the assistance of his clergy” (Christus Dominus, no. 11, a).

Responsible for the spiritual development of his flock in truth and holiness, the bishop has a sacred right and duty of legislating for his people and regulating everything that concerns the good order of divine worship and the apostolate (Lumen Gentium, no. 25). Therefore, the policies presented in this Handbook, are anchored in the teachings of the universal Church, and will serve to strengthen our ties of communion among parishes, faith communities and other Catholic institutions of the Catholic Diocese of St Paul in Alberta.


Within the diocese entrusted to him, the Bishop of St Paul in Alberta, under the authority of the Supreme Pontiff, is “the visible source and foundation of unity” (Lumen Gentium, no 23) with “all the ordinary, proper and immediate power required for the exercise of his pastoral office.” (c. 381, no. 1)

The pastoral governance of the Diocese of St Paul in Alberta is conducted under the authority of the Bishop with the assistance of:

●      the Vicar General

●      the Episcopal Vicar(s)

●      the Chancellor

●      Pastors, Parish administrators, Associate pastors organized into deaneries

There are three deaneries:

 North - St John the Baptist, Ft McMurray and Missions; St Paul,

               Ft McMurray and Missions; St Isidore, Plamondon and Mission;

               St Catherine, Lac La Biche and Missions; St Gabriel, Athabasca;

               St Alphonse, Boyle.

 South - St Paul Cathedral, St Paul; St Michael, Elk Point; St Louis of France,

              Bonnyville; St Dominic, Cold Lake; St Raphael, Le Goff and

              Missions; St-Jean-de-Brebeuf, Maillag; St Laurence, Brosseau and 


 West - St Jean Baptiste, Morinville; St Emile, Legal; St Anne, Thorhild and

           Missions; St Mary, Westlock and Missions; St Anne, Barrhead and

           Mission; St Joseph, Whitecourt and Mission.  

The Curia consists of those persons and/or offices who assist the Bishop in the governance of the entire Diocese in guiding the pastoral activities, in caring for the administration of the Diocese and in exercising judicial power.

The Curia, in the service of the Bishop, is coordinated by a Moderator.

The three Deans of the Diocese are elected from their deaneries for five year terms renewable and are members of the Council. As well, two other priests are appointed to the Council by the Bishop. As the “senate of the bishop”, they discuss pastoral programs, issues arising from parish ministry and clergy appointments.

Because the number of clergy is still relatively small and also because of the geographical extension of the Diocese the College of Consultors consists of the three Deans as well as the Vicar General.

The Committee is established according to Canons 492-3 and therefore “composed of at least three of the faithful, experts in financial affairs and civil law, of outstanding integrity and appointed by the Bishop”. The Committee has a membership of: the Bishop, two Chartered Accountants, the Vicar General, the Chancellor, a Permanent Deacon, an investment broker and the Financial Officer of the Diocese.

As the owner of all properties and their contents, the Diocese promotes the appreciation of and respect for our churches and properties as gifts but also requires the services of experts in managing and maintaining such assets. The committee provides expertise and oversight about maintenance issues for both diocesan and parish properties as well as Catholic cemeteries. It is presided over by a Permanent Deacon.


Section II




Priests, transitional and permanent deacons in our parishes must uphold Christian values and conduct as they minister to, or work with the People of God. Imitating Christ, the servant-leader, all who serve in these ministries must follow practices that meet the needs of God’s people and promote the highest respect for the dignity of individuals and especially for the most vulnerable members of the community.


All who minister on behalf of the Church must recognize that their public and private good conduct can inspire others but also that their misconduct can lead to scandal which could seriously undermine the faith of the people they serve. With the help of the Holy Spirit, our clergy must be constantly aware of the responsibilities that accompany their ministry in the Church.


This policy provides clear directives to protect our clergy and those with whom they interact.


Living Arrangements

         transitional deacons and seminarians.

          in a rectory.


Work Environment and Boundaries

Clergy are to provide a work and ministerial environment that is free from physical, sexual, psychological, verbal intimidation, bullying or harassment.


Harassment encompasses a broad range of physical, written or verbal behavior including the following:


Harassment can be a single severe incident or a persistent pattern of milder behavior where the purpose or effect is to create a hostile, offensive or intimidating environment.

Allegations of harassment should be taken seriously and reported immediately to the appropriate person in the parish or the diocese.

Clergy assume the full burden of responsibility for establishing and maintaining clear, appropriate boundaries in all relationships, including spiritual direction and counselling-related ministry.

How clergy represent themselves to the public reflects their identity as Disciples of Christ in the service of the Church. The standards of ethical conduct and personal integrity extend to all forms of written, verbal and electronic communication.

          including links, third-party postings and comments, may be evaluated by readers in light of that priest or deacon’s position in the Church.

          programs nor to communicate directly with people to whom they minister.

          hides their identity.


To avoid confusion about the nature of the relationship, spiritual direction, pastoral sessions such as interviews or counselling, etc. must be conducted in appropriate settings and at appropriate times.

perceptions of the same.


 Clergy are to be responsible and attentive to their own spiritual, physical, emotional well-being. Consequently, they:


 Canon Law (Can 533, no. 2) specifies that a priest’s annual vacation is a period not exceeding one month, taken continuously or incrementally.


 Ministry is pastoral service and clergy must neither ask for, nor expect, financial compensation other than that outlined in other Diocesan policies and protocols. 


 Canon 268 states:

A cleric who has lawfully moved from his own particular Church to another is, by virtue of the law itself, incardinated in the latter Church after five years, if he has declared this intention in writing to both the Bishop of the host diocese and his own diocesan bishop, and neither of the two bishops has indicated opposition in writing within four months of receiving the cleric’s written request.” 

The diocese of St Paul requires all incardinated priests to have a Last Will and Testament to provide the diocese and the priest’s family direction for the administration of the priest’s estate in the event of death. When a diocesan priest dies without a Last Will and Testament a legal probate process for his estate is required which is costly and detrimental to the diocese as well as any family members. 


The diocese of St Paul encourages all priests to write a personal directive which states his wishes about non-financial decisions, including medical care, should he no longer be able to make decisions on his own.


 In the case where a priest, for reasons deemed justified by the bishop and in accord with canon law, is given a leave of absence from ministry, the following will apply:


Priests are eligible for retirement, according to Canon 538, at the age of seventy-five (75) years.

The Diocese of St Paul in Alberta has both international seminarians and seminarians who are Canadian citizens.

Canadian born seminarians shall undertake their philosophy and theology studies normally at St Joseph Seminary and Newman Theological College in Edmonton.

Seminarians attending St Joseph Seminary/Newman Theological College have their study costs and room and board paid by the diocese. They also receive a monthly stipend of $200.00

International seminarians without philosophy/theology studies will either study in Edmonton at the above mentioned institutions or they shall undertake or complete such studies in the native country.

Each seminarian’s program of formation and studies will be individually elaborated in consultation with the chancellor before being approved by the bishop.

All seminarians must complete a yearlong pastoral internship in a parish of the diocese under the supervision and guidance of the parish pastor.

The support of seminarians on internship is as follows:


Section III


The following directives are highlighted here in this protocol in order to assure a consistent practice in the Diocese of St. Paul and conformity with the universal law of the Church.  The oneness of our faith is to be apparent in the unity of our gestures and postures at the Sacred Liturgy (cf. GIRM, 96).


      o  Standing from the invitation Pray, brethren before the Prayer over the Gifts.

o  It is not necessary for all to remain standing throughout the entire Communion rite until all have received. Paragraph 43 is intended to 

    ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture within the congregation for the various parts of the celebration of the Holy Mass, 

    but this is not to be interpreted so rigidly that people wishing to sit or kneel immediately after receiving the Lord in Holy Communion are 

    not free to do so.







o   The altar candles are to be lit prior to the beginning of Mass. They are to remain lit until after the recessional.

o   The number of lighted candles can vary in accordance with the nature of the celebration, but there are to be at least two lit candles in any celebration of the Mass.

o   On the altar or near it is to be a Cross adorned with a figure of Christ crucified. If the processional Cross is placed near the altar then a Cross need not be placed on the altar.

o   The processional Cross is to be adorned with a figure of Christ crucified.









o   The lay faithful are not to take the Host or the chalice by themselves. Neither may they pass the paten or chalice among themselves. They are to receive Communion from the Priest, Deacon, or deputed lay minister.

o   The posture for receiving Communion is standing. Allowance is made in the GIRM for those who wish to receive kneeling to do so.

o   While standing before the minister of Communion, the recipient makes a bow of the head before reception.

o   Reception of the Host may be either in the hand or on the tongue.

o   When receiving on the hand, one hand is to be placed over the other, so that the Host may be placed by the minister in the hand. The practice of the recipient taking the host from the minister is to be discontinued. The Host is to be consumed immediately upon receiving it.

o   When receiving on the tongue, the recipients' hands are to be reverently joined.



      o   It is the Priest or Deacon who carries any remaining hosts to the tabernacle.

o   It is the Priest who purifies the vessels. This may occur at the altar immediately after Holy Communion or at the credence table after the conclusion of Mass. In the case of Mass with a Deacon, it is the Deacon who purifies the vessels (cf. 183).


            o   Note that the Deacon may minister at the altar as regards both the chalice and the book. The Priest may decide to attend to the book himself 

             at the altar, in which case he need simply let the Deacon know beforehand.

o   The practice of having the adult server stand at the altar and turn the pages of the Missal is to be discontinued. He or she takes their place with the other servers at the side of the sanctuary.

o   It is the Deacon who prepares the altar, assisted by a server(s). In the absence of a Deacon, a server prepares the altar.

o   The Deacon kneels at the epiclesis until the elevation of the chalice. If he is not attending to the Missal, he kneels at the same time as the congregation.

o   When a Deacon is exercising his functions at the altar, he receives Holy Communion under both kinds immediately after the Priest has communicated and before Holy Communion is given to deputed lay ministers.



      o   This describes the distribution of Holy Communion by intinction. In the Diocese of St. Paul permission is not given for the distribution of 

       Holy Communion to take place in this manner.

      o   The bread used from the celebration of the Eucharist must be made from wheat. Please note that so-called "gluten-free" hosts, if they are, 

            in fact, entirely gluten free, are not valid matter for the Eucharist. To be valid matter such hosts must have at least a small amount of gluten. 

            People unable to receive hosts with even a small amount of gluten due to celiac disease may be invited to receive solely the Precious Blood

            according to the doctrine of concomitance (cf. 282).


o   The albs worn by servers exercising their function in the same Mass should be uniform in design insofar as possible.

o   Readers and lay ministers of Holy Communion do not wear albs. Their clothing should be modest and dignified, in keeping with the sacred nature of the Eucharistic celebration.



      †Bishop Paul Terrio

        Bishop of St. Paul




 (see GIRM #171-186)



1. The Deacon gives the instructions regarding a uniformity of gestures and postures to the people.  (GIRM #43 & 94)


Introductory Rites:

1. The Deacon walks at the side of the Priest during the Procession, unless he is carrying the Book of Gospels in which case he may precede 

              the Priest.  (GIRM #171 & 172)

2. The Deacon may lead the Penitential Rite form III following the introduction by the Priest. The Priest says the absolution. (OM #6)


Liturgy of the Word: 

1. The Deacon proclaims the Gospel. He greets the people with hands joined and may incense the book.  (GIRM #175 & OM #14)

2. If the Bishop is presiding, after reading the Gospel, the Deacon brings the Book of Gospels to the Bishop who then kisses the book. He 

              then places the book on the credence table or another dignified place.  (GIRM # 175 & CB #141)

3. If the Deacon venerates the Book of Gospels, he leaves it closed on the AMBO.

4. The Deacon may preach the Homily.  (GIRM #66 & OM #17)

5. The Deacon announces the Universal Prayer of the Faithful from the ambo.  (GIRM #71 & 177)


Incensation:  (GIRM #178)  

1. The Deacon receives the thurible from the thurifer.

2. The Deacon assists the Priest during the incensation of the offerings, the cross and the altar.

3. The Deacon incenses the Priest and then, the people.


Liturgy of the Eucharist: 

1. The Deacon prepares the altar with the assistance of the acolyte. (GIRM #178)

2. The Deacon assists the Priest in receiving the people’s gifts. (GIRM #178)

3. The Deacon prepares the chalice. (GIRM #178; 215 & OM #24)

4. The Deacon stands near the Priest for the Eucharistic Prayer and usually kneels with the congregation from the epiclesis until the Priest 

         shows the chalice. (GIRM #179)

5. The Deacon may assist with the Roman Missal during the Eucharistic Prayer with the consent of the presider. (GIRM #179 & 215)

6. The Deacon elevates the chalice at the doxology. (GIRM #180)


Communion Rite: 

1. The Deacon says the invitation to the Sign of Peace.  (GIRM #181 & OM #128)

2. The Deacon may assist with the breaking of the Eucharistic Bread.  (GIRM #83)

3. The Deacon distributes Communion as an ordinary Eucharistic minister along with the Priest.  When Communion is given under both kinds, 

  he normally administers the chalice to the communicants. (GIRM #182)

4. The Priest himself is to carry the remaining hosts to the place of reposition. (GIRM #163)

5. The Deacon clears the altar and may purify the vessels.  (GIRM #183)


Concluding Rites: 

1. The Deacon may say “Bow down for the blessing.” if the formal blessing is used. (GIRM #185 & OM #142)

2. The Deacon says the dismissal with hands joined.  (GIRM #185 & OM #144)



GIRM =      the General Instruction of the Roman Missal

OM=           the Order of Mass

CB=             Ceremonial of Bishops



(see GIRM #194-198)



All readings will be proclaimed in English, unless decided otherwise by the Bishop.

Preparation Prior to the Celebration:

1. All ministers should properly know the readings that they are to proclaim for any given Mass.  There should be no last minute improvisation 

 where at all possible. (GIRM #352)

2.   Everyone who exercises the ministry of reader must not only be prepared technically but also spiritually, which includes biblical and liturgical

          preparation.  Please see Introduction to the Lectionary [LM] #55 quoted below.

3.       The Lectionary should be placed on the ambo before Mass begins.  (GIRM #118b)



1. Ministers should wear an alb or other lawfully approved attire.  (GIRM #119c)

2. In the Diocese of St. Paul, albs are not required. 

3. It is a praiseworthy practice to maintain an atmosphere of prayerful silence in the sacristy and vesting room prior to the celebration so as to 

    allow ministers to properly dispose themselves for their ministry. (GIRM #45)


The Procession:

1. The reader, in the absence of a Deacon, processes with the Book of Gospels, slightly elevated.  If the reader is carrying the Book of Gospels,

              he/she walks in front of the Priest, otherwise he/she walks with the other ministers.  The Lectionary is not to be carried in procession. If the Book

              of Gospels is not used then no book is brought up in procession.  (GIRM #118b, 120d & 194)

2.           If the Book of Gospels is carried in procession, it is to be placed on the altar; (flat on the altar, on the front side, the side of the people, if 

     possible). (GIRM #117,122, 273 & 306; IL #17)

3. The reader takes his/her place in the sanctuary with the other ministers. (GIRM #195)

4. The Book of Gospels is not carried in the procession at the end of Mass (IBG #22)


The Liturgy of the Word: 

1. The readings are always to be read from the ambo.  (GIRM #58)

2. The function of proclaiming the readings is by tradition not presidential but ministerial.  Therefore the readings are to be read by a reader, but the

  Gospel by the Deacon, or, in his absence, by a Priest. (GIRM #59)

3. Periods of silence help to foster a spirit of meditation and should be exercised at the beginning of the Liturgy of the Word, after each of the

  readings and at the end of the Homily.  (GIRM #56, 128 & IL #28)

4. In the absence of a psalmist, the reader may also proclaim the Responsorial Psalm after the First Reading. (GIRM #196)

5. When there is more than one reading, it is better to assign the readings to different lectors, if available. (IL #52)

6. In the absence of a Deacon, the reader may announce the Universal Prayer of the Faithful from the ambo. (GIRM #197 & IL #53)

7. The Book of Gospels is to be left on the ambo or brought to the credence table or to another suitable place.

The Importance of Preparation:

“‘It is necessary that those who exercise the ministry of lector … be truly suited and carefully prepared, so that the faithful may develop a warm and living love for Sacred Scripture from listening to the sacred readings.’


“Their preparation must above all be spiritual, but what may be called a technical preparation is also needed.  The spiritual preparation presupposes at least a biblical and liturgical formation.  The purpose of their biblical formation is to give lectors the ability to understand the readings in context and to perceive by the light of faith the central point of the revealed message.  The liturgical formation ought to equip the lectors to have some grasp of the meaning and structure of the Liturgy of the Word and of the significance of its connection with the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  The technical preparation should make the lectors more skilled in the art of reading publicly, either with the power of their own voice or with the help of sound equipment.” (IL #55)



GIRM =      the General Instruction of the Roman Missal

IL=              the Introduction to the Lectionary

IBG=           the Introduction to the Book of Gospels




For Pastors and Eucharistic Ministers.

“In the absence of an instituted acolyte, there may be deputed lay ministers to serve at the altar and assist the Priest and the Deacon; these carry the cross, the candles, the thurible, the bread, the wine, and the water, or who are even deputed to distribute Holy Communion as extraordinary ministers.” (GIRM #100)


Preferred Order of choosing Extraordinary Ministers


·   Bishop,

·   Priests,

·   Deacons,

·   Instituted Acolytes,

·   Instituted Readers/Lectors,

·   Major Seminarians, Religious (Men & Women),

·   Catechists,

·   Catholic Men & Women. (Immensae Caritatis)  



1. Ministers should wear an alb or other lawfully approved attire.  (GIRM #119c) 

2. In the Diocese of St. Paul, albs are not required. 

3. It is a praiseworthy practice to maintain an atmosphere of prayerful silence in the sacristy and vesting room prior to the celebration so as to

              allow ministers to properly dispose themselves for their ministry. (GIRM #45)


The Ministry:

1. Eucharistic ministers are to go in procession after the altar servers and before the Deacon or reader carrying the Book of Gospels.   

              (GIRM #120)

2. Eucharistic ministers are not to approach the altar until after the Priest has received Communion. (GIRM #162)

3. The breaking of the bread is reserved to the Priest and Deacon. (GIRM #83)

4. The Priest himself is to go to the tabernacle to bring the hosts to the altar.  (see GIRM #160, 162)  However, the practice of using hosts

  consecrated at another Mass is to be avoided.  The faithful should receive hosts consecrated at the same Mass at which they attend.  It is also

  desirable that they also partake of the chalice so that the signs of Communion stand out more clearly as a participation in the sacrifice

                          actually being celebrated in their presence.  Therefore, the distribution of hosts that have already been consecrated at a previous Mass should

    be avoided, or at least limited, as much as possible. (GIRM #85) 

5. The Priest himself is to distribute the Body and Blood of Christ to the extraordinary ministers of Communion.  They are not to take the host

  or the chalice for themselves.  (GIRM #160)

6. Care should be taken to ensure that the music ministers are able to receive Communion with ease.  (GIRM #86) 

7. If a host or any particle should fall, it is to be picked up reverently; and if any of the Precious Blood is spilled, the area where the spill

  occurred should be washed with water, and this water should then be poured into the sacrarium* in the sacristy.  (GIRM #280)

8. The Priest himself is to carry the remaining hosts to the place of reposition.  (GIRM #163) 

9. The vessels are to be purified by the Priest, the Deacon, or an instituted acolyte after Communion or after Mass, insofar as possible at the

  credence table, otherwise the vessels are to be purified at the altar.  (GIRM #270 & 279, see also #163, 192, 247, 249, 284b)

GIRM =      the General Instruction of the Roman Missal




Diocesan Liturgies:

 Unless decided otherwise by the Bishop, the readings are proclaimed in English.  All hymns, the psalm and the Gospel acclamation are proclaimed in English.  The “Our Father” is to be recited.


The Church places great importance on liturgical singing.  (GIRM #39-41)


If you want to introduce a new song or mass part, a good rule of thumb is to take the five minutes or so before the liturgy begins to teach the congregation.  This will allow for the full participation of the congregation. The goal of Catholic music ministry is congregational singing, and, therefore, try to use songs that are found within your hymnals.  If you use something from another source, please take extra care to teach it to the congregation, especially the refrain. These songs should be easy to sing.  Please also ensure that your parish has the proper copyrights for the music that is used.


Mass Setting:

For Diocesan Masses, the Mass setting B, by John Dawson, in Celebrate and Song is to be used.


Gathering Song:

Its purpose is to open the celebration, foster the unity of those who have been gathered, introduce their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical time or festivity, and accompany the procession of the Priest and ministers.  (see GIRM #47-48)


Lord Have Mercy:

Please check with presider as to which form of the penitential rite will be used.  This will allow you to know when you ought to begin singing, if at all.  (OM #4-7)



The Gloria is omitted during Advent and Lent and may not be replaced by any other text.  (GIRM #53 & OM #8)



The psalm ought to be sung from the ambo or another suitable place.  It is preferable for the Responsorial Psalm to be sung.  (GIRM #61 & IL #20)  While it is preferred that the psalm found in the lectionary for a specific Sunday be used, it is possible to choose a seasonal psalm that may be used several times throughout the course of a particular liturgical season.  (IL #89)  Choosing a seasonal psalm can ease the difficulty of learning a new piece of music each week and provide a level of familiarity with the congregation. Seasonal Psalms are found in your Sunday Lectionary.  


·   Advent: p. 44

·   Christmas: p. 107

·   Lent: p. 251

·   Easter: p. 433

·   Ordinary Time: p. 768-769

Gospel Acclamation:

Keep singing the acclamation until the Priest/Deacon is at the ambo to proclaim the Gospel. At special celebrations, when incense is used, we would need to sing it longer.  The Alleluia is sung every time of the year outside of Lent.  During Lent, use the verse from the Lectionary.  (GIRM #62)


Preparation of the Gifts: 

Continue singing until just before the preparation of the gifts or until just after the washing of the hands. Instrumental music can be played if the song finishes early. (GIRM #74)  The offertory song should be reflective and a link between the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.


Mass Parts during the Eucharistic Prayer:

It is good to have a similar setting of the “Holy, Holy”, the “Memorial Acclamation” and the “Great Amen” because it helps give a sense of unity to the whole Eucharistic Prayer.  We are asked to only use settings that have been written for the new translation.  The use of Canadian sources is to be preferred. 


The Lord's Prayer:

It is better for everyone to recite the “Our Father” than to have only a few people sing while the rest listen. (GIRM #41 & 81)  If you wish to sing the Lord’s Prayer, please check with the presider and make sure that everyone can sing along.


Lamb of God:

Begin the “Lamb of God” when the Priest begins to break the bread. The singing of the “Lamb of God” is meant to accompany the breaking of the bread and is not a conclusion to the sign of peace. Continue singing until the breaking of the bread is finished. That might mean singing “Lamb of God ... have mercy on us” three or four times before “grant us peace”.   (GIRM #83 & OM #130)


Communion Hymns:

Please begin the communion hymns when the Priest is receiving Communion.  Do not wait until all of the Eucharistic ministers have received from the cup and have gone to their places to begin singing.  This hymn is meant to express the spiritual union of all those who receive Communion from the one table.  (GIRM #86-88)


NOTE: For ease of receiving Communion for yourselves, you may wish to take turns going up for Communion while others remain behind to lead the singing or wait until after everyone else has received to go up yourselves.


Recessional Hymn: 

 Its purpose is to send out the faithful in mission and service.  It should affirm the call of God that we are to preach the Gospel with our lives.


Other notes:

1. In Advent, the use of musical instruments should be marked by a moderation suited to this time of year so as not to express the full joy of

    Christmas.  (GIRM #313)

2. In Lent, the playing of musical instruments is allowed only in order to support the singing, except on the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare

  Sunday), Solemnities and Feasts.  (GIRM #313)

3. It is not permitted to substitute other chants for those found in the Order of Mass, for example, the Gloria, or the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei). 

  (GIRM #53 & 366)

GIRM =      the General Instruction of the Roman Missal

OM=           the Order of Mass

IL=              the Introduction to the Lectionary




(GIRM # 117-119 & 288-351)


A guide for Pastors and Sacristans


The sacristan arranges all that is necessary for the celebration of the Mass.  (GIRM #105a)




The Altar (GIRM #117)

1. The altar is to be covered with a white cloth.  This does not exclude the possibility of using colors that are seasonally determined, this only

  prescribes that at least one cloth be white.  Therefore, it is possible, for instance, to have a white altar along with another cloth indicative of the

  liturgical season.

2. At least two candles are to be placed on or near the altar.  If the processional candles are to be placed on or near the altar than this preparation is not


3. A crucifix is to be placed on or near the altar.  The processional cross (adorned with Christ crucified) may serve as the altar cross and be placed near

    the altar.  If the processional cross is used for this purpose, it should be the only cross at the altar. Otherwise, if another cross is used, it is to be put

      away in a dignified place.  (GIRM #122 & 188)

4. The Book of Gospels is placed on the altar (flat on the altar, on the front side, the side of the people, if possible).  It may be placed on the altar

  before the beginning of Mass if it is not carried in the Entrance Procession.  


NOTE:  If Mass is to take place outside of a sacred space (i.e. church or chapel), it may take place on a suitable table, always with the use of a cloth, a corporal, a cross and candles.  (GIRM #297)


The Presider’s chair (GIRM #118a)

The following items should be placed near the chair:

1.        The Roman Missal

2.        A hymnal (if appropriate)


The Ambo (GIRM #118b)

The Lectionary should be placed on the ambo prior to the celebration. 

The Credence Table (GIRM #118c)

The following items ought to be placed on the credence table:

1. The chalice (or chalices for communion under both species) 

2. The corporal

3. The purificator (or purificators for communion under both species)

4. The pall (or palls for a larger number of chalices), if appropriate.  (For example, they should be used when there is a potential risk of flies and other

  insects getting into the chalices during Mass.

5. Water, towel and wash bowl for the washing of the Priest’s hands.

6. The paten and ciboria with the bread for communion and the wine may be on the credence table if they are not to be brought up in procession at the

    Offertory.  It is preferable that these be brought up in procession. This includes the main host of the presider.


A Table at the back of the Church (GIRM #118c)

The items mentioned above (ciboria, wine cruet) are to be placed on a table at the back of the church rather than on the credence table if they are to be brought up at the Offertory procession.



The decor of the church should bring about a close and coherent unity that is clearly expressive of the unity of the entire holy people, while acknowledging the hierarchical structure and the diversity of functions.  The nature and beauty of the place and all its furnishings should foster devotion and express visually the holiness of the mysteries celebrated there. (GIRM #294)


The Altar (GIRM #296-308)

1. The altar should occupy a place where it is truly the centre toward which the attention of the whole congregation of the faithful naturally turns.  It is desirable that each church has an unmovable altar rather than a movable one.  (GIRM #298-299)

2. The altar should be covered with at least one white cloth whose shape, size and decoration are in keeping with the altar’s structure.  (GIRM #304) 

      Altar cloths with the color of the liturgical season may be used along with the white altar cloth.

3. Moderation should be observed in the decoration of the altar.  During Advent the floral decoration should be marked with moderation so as not to express the full joy of Christmas.  During Lent it is forbidden to decorate the altar with flowers, except on the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare

  Sunday), Feasts and Solemnities.  Floral decorations should be arranged around the altar rather than on the altar table.  Plastic flowers should not be

  used to decorate the altar.  (GIRM #305)

4. Only what is required for the celebration of the Mass may be placed on the altar table.  (GIRM #306)


The Ambo (GIRM #309)

1. It is appropriate that the ambo be stationary and not simply a movable lectern.  (GIRM #309) 

2. From the ambo, only the readings, the Responsorial Psalm, and the Easter Proclamation (Exsultet) are to be proclaimed; likewise it may be used for giving the Homily and for announcing the intentions of the Universal Prayer of the Faithful. (GIRM #309)

3. Announcements are made from the lectern.


The Priest’s Chair and Seats in the Sanctuary (GIRM #310)

1. The chair of the Priest must signify his function of presiding over the gathering and directing the prayer.  However, it should not appear as a throne. 

  (GIRM #310)

2. The seat for the Deacon should be placed near that of the celebrant.  (GIRM #310)

3. Seats for other ministers should be arranged as to distinguish them from seats of the clergy and to allow them to easily carry out the function

  entrusted to them.  (GIRM #310)


Sacred Images (GIRM #318)

Sacred images should be displayed for the veneration of the faithful but in a proper order so as not to take away from the celebration itself



All ritual books, vestments and sacred vessels should be stored in a dignified place in the sacristy.  The sanctuary is not to be used as a place of storage.  The altar is a sign of Christ, the Living Stone.  (GIRM #298)  The ambo is the place reserved for the proclamation of the Word of God and should not be used as a convenient place for storage.




The Bread and Wine for celebrating the Eucharist

1. The bread to be used at Mass ought to be large enough for the Priest to be able to break into parts and share with at least some of the faithful.  

 Small hosts may be used when distributing communion to a large number of people or for pastoral reasons. (GIRM #321)

2.       There should be enough hosts prepared for consecration as there people receiving communion.  “It is most desirable that the faithful … receive the

    Lord’s Body from hosts consecrated at the same Mass … so that even by means of the signs Communion may stand out more clearly as a

     participation in the sacrifice actually being celebrated.”  (GIRM #85)  Distributing Communion from the tabernacle is to be avoided whenever


3.       Care ought to be taken to ensure that the bread and wine intended for the Eucharist are kept in a perfect state of conservation.  (GIRM #323)


Sacred Vessels

1. Sacred vessels should be made from precious metal.  Ceramic vessels must be disposed of.  (GIRM #328-329) 

2. The water that has been used for the washing of sacred vessels and linens ought to be poured into a sacrarium*.


Sacred Vestments and Liturgical Colors

The various colors used throughout the liturgical year and in various celebrations are explained and listed in GIRM #346-347   The ORDO also indicates the liturgical colors.



It is a praiseworthy practice to maintain an atmosphere of prayerful silence in the sacristy and vesting room prior to the celebration so as to allow ministers to properly dispose themselves for their ministry.  (GIRM #45)



GIRM =      the General Instruction of the Roman Missal


*Sacrarium - a sink in the sacristy whose drain leads directly into the earth reserved solely for the cleaning of the sacred vessels.








When a deacon is attending, please refer to the St. Paul Diocese Liturgical Guidelines “Deacons’ Guide for Eucharistic Celebrations”.


Should be celebrated in the parish church.  However, if it is not feasible, Mass can take place in a suitable place within the school:  i.e.: the chapel, the auditorium, the gymnasium.  If Mass is to take place outside the church, all in attendance must be made aware of the sacredness of the place.


Proper church etiquette should be observed whether Mass is celebrated in a church or in a school.  One should behave reverently as though one was in the parish church.   One should show respect for the sacred space/place by:


·       Maintaining silence.  If one needs to speak with someone, one can whisper so as not to disturb others in the church.

·       Walking.  Running is not appropriate.

·       Disposing of his/her gum before entering the church.

·       Removing his/her headgear upon entering the church.

·       Avoiding eating or drinking during mass with the exception of Holy Communion.

·      Turning off and putting away his/her cell phone or any other electronic devices before the commencement of Mass. (with the exception of   students requiring the use communication devices).

·       Making the sign of the cross after dipping his/her fingers in the holy water fonts at the entrance of the church.

·       Genuflecting towards the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle as one enters the pews.

·       Maintaining appropriate posture.


The liturgical norms are to be respected.

·       Prepare the Mass in consultation with the parish priest who will be presiding at the Mass. 

·       Active participation by all in attendance should be encouraged as they are not spectators.  It is of the utmost importance that the staff  

         members and other adults in attendance lead by example.

·       Review the appropriate responses and prayers with the students days prior to the Mass.  This will encourage the students to be active


·       Teach the Eucharistic fast of one hour prior to the celebration of Mass.

·       Prepare the students chosen for any prominent role in the Mass – The Choir, The Lectors, The Gift Bearers, The Altar Servers should be

         selected from among those who have been properly trained and commissioned with the parish where the Mass will be celebrated.

·       All copyrights must be obtained if publishing and/or projecting the lyrics for the hymns, for the mass parts and/or the readings, even if 

        the books are available in the church.

·       If singing from the hymnals available in the church, no copyrights licenses are needed. 

·       It is sung or said on Sundays outside Advent and Lent, and also on Solemnities and Feasts, and at particular celebrations of a more

         solemn character.  (GIRM #53)

·       The readings are always read from the ambo.  (GIRM #58) 

·       In the Lectionary for weekdays, readings are provided for each day of the week throughout the entire course of the year. However,

        outside of the Advent, Christmas and Lent-Easter seasons (or in Ordinary time), other Biblical texts may be chosen but in consultation 

        with the priest or bishop celebrant. For a Solemnity, a Feast or Memorial fixed or set proper readings occur.  (IL #82)

·       The Responsorial Psalm corresponds to each reading and is to be taken from the Lectionary.  It is preferable that it be sung at the ambo. 

        (GIRM #61) Seasonal Psalms may be used except on Feasts and Solemnities.  The Psalm cannot be replaced by a hymn.

·       The Acclamation before the Gospel:

a.  The Alleluia is sung in every time of year other than Lent.  The verses are taken from the Lectionary.  (GIRM # 62a)

b. During Lent, instead of the Alleluia, the Verse before the Gospel as given in the Lectionary is sung.  (GIRM #62b)

c.  If the Alleluia is not sung, it and the Verse are omitted.


·       The series of intentions is usually to be:

a.  for the needs of the Church;

b. for public authorities and the salvation of the whole world;

c.  for those burdened by any kind of difficulty;

d. for the local community.


Nevertheless, in particular situations, the series of intentions may be concerned more closely to the particular occasion.  (GIRM #70)


·       They are announced from the ambo by a reader.   (GIRM #71)


·       If there is a monetary collection:

a.  Permission must be obtained from the Bishop;

b. The collection is to be submitted to the Parish Office.

·       The bread and wine are brought up during the procession of the gifts.

·       Gifts for the poor of the Church can be brought by the faithful.  (GIRM #73)

a.  [ie:  non-perishable food, clothing – mitts, socks, tuques, etc.] 

·       Symbols such as books, sports equipment, jerseys, etc. are not to be brought up during the procession of the gifts.


·       Because wine (or its appearances) are unfamiliar to most children, we distribute only the Body of Christ to the Catholic Faithful.

·       Have supervisors observe the distribution of the Holy Communion ensuring that the Catholic students receive the Communion

         appropriately and consume it immediately.

·       Teach the importance of reverence for the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, days prior to the Mass.

·       Select Eucharistic Ministers who have been properly trained and commissioned by the parish.  They may be staff or other adults present.

         High School Students who have been trained and approved by the parish may also distribute Communion.


1.     HYMNS

·       Should be of liturgical nature, offering praise and glory to God.

·       Must be approved by the priest celebrant.

·       Should be familiar to the students and staff.  If not, they should be taught to the students days prior to the Mass.

·       Provide the lyrics of all hymns.  If preparing a booklet/sheets or projecting the lyrics, copyrights licenses must be obtained.

·       Should be led by a music minister.


·       Should be taught/reviewed with the students days prior to the Mass.

·       Should be sung.  If unfamiliar to those present at the Mass, the Mass parts are then recited rather than sung.

·       Provide the responses for all Mass parts.  If preparing booklets/sheets or projecting the responses and/or the readings, the copyright

         policies MUST be respected.





·       The pastor is always invited to participate in liturgies that take place at the school.

·       Readings are introduced as in the Lectionary.  However, a priest is allowed to replace readings, choosing texts more particularly suited 

        to a particular celebration, provided that they are taken from the texts of an approved Lectionary.  (GIRM #359)

·       There is only one reader for each reading.

·       The Gospel is usually proclaimed by a priest or a deacon.  (In their absence, a lay person may read the Gospel.  However, the greeting,

         “The Lord be with you.” is omitted.)

·       Those present are to stand during the Gospel.

·       The “Alleluia” is not used during any liturgies during Lent.

·       Hymns are to be used.

·       Provide the lyrics of all hymns.  If preparing a booklet/sheets or projecting the lyrics, copyrights licenses must be obtained.  If the

        readings are projected, copyright permissions must also be obtained from the CCCB.

·       Other activities such as the dramatic readings using more than one voice, use of stories in addition to the Scripture passage are permitted

         in as long as it does not contradict the teachings of the Catholic Faith.

·       One of the most repeated statements from Vatican II is, “the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life (L.G.15).  The fact

         that many of our fellow Catholic do not understand or appreciate this, is especially evident during some “Graduation Masses” where the

         popular culture’s ideas about completing initial schooling and reaching legal age set the tone for the Mass as well as the whole weekend.     And while it is natural and only to be expected that young people have a fun time for their graduation, we cannot let the Eucharist be 

         marginalized or manipulated for less than faith reasons.  As Catholics for whom the ‘Eucharist is indeed, the source and summit’, we,

         priests and committed parishioners and Catholic educators, cannot passively allow the Eucharist-Mass to be treated as an “add-on” or 

         a mere ‘nice traditional event’ before the real party begins.

·       In the diocese of St. Paul, we have quite a variety of schools among which high school graduation celebrations can be very different from

         each other.  For some Catholic schools, the Eucharist for the graduating class is a faith filled and religious experience to acknowledge an

         important step in the journey of faith and life.  For others, this has not been the case.

·       Therefore, after prayer and consultation, as your Bishop, I have decided, to not ban totally graduation Masses but rather permit them on a

         case by case basis.  In other words, each graduation Mass requires permission from the bishop.



       †Bishop Paul Terrio

                     Bishop of St Paul in Alberta



GIRM =      the General Instruction of the Roman Missal



Recently the practice has arisen of making a public acknowledgement of Treaty land at the beginning of civic events. The motivation generally seems to be the desire to reach out to the Indigenous peoples of Canada in reconciliation and friendship through an acknowledgement that the territory they now share with non-Indigenous people is their ancestral land.

The question of the appropriateness of making such acknowledgments in a church, or at liturgical events hosted in Catholic institutions, has been raised. In response, the Bishops of Alberta offer the following direction.

We must recognize that, for the Indigenous peoples, “land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values” (Pope Francis, Laudato si, n. 146). Furthermore, they understand treaty as a solemn covenant, entered into between equal and sovereign peoples, to confirm and preserve the respective rights of each party.

The Church’s discernment on this issue is governed by theological principles. Of particular relevance are the Church’s doctrine pertaining to the sacred liturgy and its language, and its theology of creation as the gift of God the Creator to all peoples. Fidelity to these principles, and respect for the profound significance attributed to both land and treaty by the Indigenous peoples, means that great care must be exercised not only in determining the formulation of any treaty land acknowledgement, but also in ascertaining the fittingness of its use in any particular instance or venue. We wish also to insist that a verbal land acknowledgement must be reflective of genuine respect for the Indigenous peoples, and of earnest efforts to walk with them toward lasting reconciliation; words alone are insufficient.

Many of the acknowledgements used in our day are forms of political speech. While they have their place, such formulations would not be appropriate at a Catholic liturgy, whose ritualized language aims uniquely at the praise of Almighty God. Neither would they be fitting for use in a church, since it is sacred space, solemnly consecrated for the worship of God.

To be suitable for use in a church, outside of the sacred liturgy, or at a liturgical event in a Catholic institution, the formulation of acknowledgement must be not a political but a theological statement. In this regard, we recognize that the Church’s theology of creation finds an echo in the Indigenous respect for the land as gift of the Creator. Acknowledging God as giver of the gift is in itself an act of praise. Therefore, where it is deemed appropriate to offer a treaty land acknowledgment at an event held in a Catholic church or at a liturgical event hosted in a Catholic institution, the following formulation is to be used:

“We acknowledge that [Treaty N.] territory, on which we stand, is the ancestral land of the Indigenous peoples, and is common home to everyone in virtue of God, our Creator’s, gracious gift.”


Oct 28, 2019



In December 2006, the original order of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation was restored: Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion.   However, in order for the children “to have sufficient time to assimilate the preparation for Holy Communion and therefore appreciate the great gift of the Eucharist (Bishop Paul Terrio – Pastoral Letter May 1, 2017), it was decided that the celebration of these two sacraments would no longer be together in one liturgy. 


If the candidates for Confirmation are children who have not received the Most Holy Eucharist and are not being admitted to First Communion at this liturgical celebration, Confirmation should be conferred outside Mass.  Whenever Confirmation is conferred without Mass, a celebration of the word of God should precede it. (The Order of Confirmation #13)



The presider will wear during:

·   Advent Season – purple 

·   Christmas Season – white

·   Ordinary Time – green



If there are Deacons in the parish, it is normal that they assist the Bishop during the Confirmation.



·   During Advent and the Christmas Season, the readings must be the readings of the day.

·   During Ordinary Time, readings with the theme of the Holy Spirit may be selected from the attached list


5.     HYMNS

·   Gathering Hymn:  on the Holy Spirit

·   During Confirmation:  on the Holy Spirit

·   Final Hymn:  A sending forth hymn



The Baptismal Candles will not be used by the candidates during the Profession of Faith.



The names of those confirmed, the minister, the parents, the sponsors and the place and date of the confirmation are to be recorded in the register of the parish of the place of baptism.  The parish priest must notify the parish of the place of baptism that the confirmation was conferred, so that it be recorded in the baptismal register, in accordance with can. 535 § 2.  See also can. 895.



The Godparents usually are to be the same as at Baptism (for questions of other circumstances refer to the parish priest).  The option of choosing a special sponsor for Confirmation is in no way excluded. (O.C.)


9.     NAME TAG

The children should wear a name tag.  The children are to use their baptismal name.



The children are to be seated in their pews before the celebration starts.  Children should be seated on the side of the pew with parents and the godparents in the same pew.



The Bishop will be available after the celebration for group and individual photos with each of the confirmands. Therefore photos during the celebration are not necessary.



Certificates and any other gifts should be handed out after the photo session.                   

Section IV


Policy Regarding Funerals, Burials, Cemeteries in the Diocese of St. Paul


At the funerals of its children, the Church confidently celebrates Christ’s paschal mystery.  Its intention is that those who by baptism were made one body with the dead and risen Christ may with him pass from death to life.  In soul, they are to be cleansed and taken up into heaven with the saints and elect; in body, they await the blessed hope of Christ’s coming and the resurrection of the dead.

 (quote from 2016 Rituals XIV)


All arrangements for Funeral celebrations

Vigil Service, Funeral Mass, Funeral Liturgy outside Mass or Memorial Mass is to be made through the pastor of the parish by the family.


1. Time

Funeral Mass are to be celebrated any day except Sundays, Holy Days of Obligation, Holy Thursday, and during the Easter Triduum.


2. Place

Generally, funerals are to be celebrated in the parish church of the deceased.  However, another parochial church may be chosen.  In such cases, permission must be sought from the pastor of the parish where the funeral is to be held and the pastor of the parish to which the deceased belonged must be notified.


3. Presiding Minister

The Funeral Liturgy is entrusted to the parish priest (pastor) and he presides at the Funeral Rites, especially the Mass. When no priest is available. the deacon assigned to that parish may preside at the Vigil, the Funeral Liturgy outside Mass or the Rite of Committal. When no priest or deacon is available for the Vigil, Funeral Liturgy outside Mass or the Rite of Committal, a lay minister may preside.


It is the pastor of the parish, where the funeral is held, who is to give permission to another priest, deacon or lay minister to preside at the Funeral Rites.


Through the Funeral Rites, the Church commends the dead to the merciful love of God and pleads for the forgiveness of their sins.


4.1. Vigil Service

 A Vigil for the deceased may be held, where the faithful, joined together, can listen to the scriptures and pray.


The usual place for this service is the church.  However, it may be celebrated in some other suitable place such as a funeral home or in the home of the deceased. When the Vigil is celebrated in the church, it begins with the reception of the body. This service is held the evening before the Funeral Liturgy.


4.2. Funeral Mass

 The Church encourages celebrating the Mass for its members. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist gives the faithful an opportunity to be nourished with the Word of God and the Bread of Life as they express the belief in the communion of saints.

The usual place to celebrate a Funeral Mass is in the church. However, if there is a good pastoral reason, the funeral service may be held in other suitable place.


The Funeral Mass is to include:

  ·       Receiving of the body if it did not take place at the Vigil

  ·       Liturgy of the Word

  ·       Liturgy of the Eucharist

  ·       Final Commendation and Farewell. 


4.3. Funeral Liturgy Outside Mass

This Rite is to take place when the Funeral Mass is not permitted (for example on Holy Days of Obligation, etc.) or when, for pastoral reasons, the pastor and the family judge that this is a more suitable form of celebration. In special circumstances, (for example when presided by deacons or lay ministers) the celebration may also include Holy Communion.


4.4. Memorial Mass

 In some circumstances, in the absence of the Body or Ashes, a Memorial Mass without the greeting and Commemoration Rites may be celebrated in the church.


Christian symbols may be used during the Funeral Liturgy and during the Vigil when they are celebrated in the church.

·      Paschal Candle: it recalls Christ’s resurrection and His victory over sin and death. By having the Paschal Candle lit we acknowledge the presence 

       of Christ among the faithful, who gather to pray for the deceased person expressing the faith and hope for eternal life. Christ is our light who leads us

       through the darkness.

·      Holy Water:  it reminds the faithful of their baptism. When it is used in the reception of the body at the church – it is to recall that through baptism  

       the deceased was welcomed into the community of faith. It is also used in the rite of commendation.

·      Incense:  it is a sign of honor of the body of the deceased which through baptism became the temple of the Holy Spirit.  It is also the sign of farewell

       and prayer for the deceased.

·      The Pall:  it is the reminder of the white baptismal garment that the deceased received in baptism as a sign of Christian dignity. It signifies also that

        all are equal in the eyes of God.  The pall may be placed over the coffin when it is brought to the church as a sign that in Baptism the believer

       “clothed himself/herself in Christ” by sharing the new life and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

·       A Book of the Gospel (or Bible):  it is a sign that Christians live by the word of God and that faithfulness to that word leads to eternal life.

·       A Cross:  it is a reminder that the Christian receives the sign of the cross at Baptism and that through Jesus’ suffering on the cross we are invited to

        share in His victory and resurrection.  These symbols are very meaningful and can help the faithful to celebrate more deeply the Funeral Liturgy.


Other Symbols:

Only Christian symbols may rest on or be placed near the coffin during the Funeral Liturgy. Any other symbols, that can be meaningful to the family and show the dedication and service of the deceased, for example, national flags, or flags or insignia of associations, may be placed on the coffin, except during the Funeral Liturgy when the coffin is brought into the Church. Family members may wish to be involved in placing these symbols or flowers on or near the coffin. If so, this should be arranged during the planning.


If the family wishes to speak a few words of remembrance and give thanks to God for the life of the loved one, they may do so. The wake service at the funeral home or somewhere else is a very good place for a eulogy as is the reception after the Funeral Mass. To include a written text in a funeral program itself could be a satisfactory way to share words of remembrance.

There may sometimes be provision for someone to speak of the deceased at the church, but this does not form part of the Funeral Liturgy. In such cases, the eulogy shall be held immediately prior to the specified time of the service to allow the priest and the faithful to begin the liturgical celebration at the scheduled time.


PowerPoint presentations, videos and slideshows are not to be shown within the worshipping space of the church effective January 1, 2012. (cf.  Pastoral Note  dated Dec 16, 2011)



Funeral rites can be held for the following:

·       any baptized Roman Catholic;

·       catechumens;

·       infants who died before baptism;

·       with the permission of the Chancery Office; baptized persons belonging to other Christian faiths may be granted that privilege.                    


8. Other Special Circumstances

If a Catholic has made arrangements to donate his/her body to science, there should be reasonable assurance that the donor’s body will be treated with respect and disposed of in a reverent manner. A Memorial Mass should be held for the deceased as soon as possible.


The presence and participation of another Christian minister is acceptable, and they must follow the norms of participation in Roman Catholic liturgies.

Traditional native rites can be added to the liturgy with the approval of the priest.


Although cremation is permitted, Catholic teaching continues to stress the preference that the body be present for the Funeral Rites. This is done in imitation of the burial of Jesus’ body. The faithful then are encouraged to delay cremation after the Funeral Rites have been celebrated.


If cremation has taken place, cremated remains may be brought to the church and Funeral Mass may be celebrated.


It is important that the cremation be not inspired by motives that are contrary to Christian teachings.


It is most important that cremated remains be treated with respect and are not left at the funeral home or in the home of a family member. The ashes are to remain intact and are not to be divided or mixed with the remains of another person, or scattered on the land, but are in a timely manner to be reposed in the ground in a cemetery.


10. Fees  (Consult your pastor for details)

Fees to be charged for these rites are two-fold: fees for the actual church that is used for the service and fees for the one providing the service. 


For a graveside service, an offering can be accepted.


Note that all fees may be collected by the Funeral Home and remitted to the parish where the services are held.  This has to be done prior to the services.


In some cases, this may not be possible; therefore the parish will collect the fees from the family.


11.  Burials

Burial services will be provided to any Catholic of the parish or to any Catholic from other parishes that because of historical or family reasons wish to be buried in a cemetery in our Diocese.


If the funeral for the deceased was celebrated in his/her parish, but the burial is to take place at the catholic cemetery in another parish, that parish must be notified prior to the burial.  If the family wishes to be assisted with the burial service at the gravesite, the pastor of that parish must be notified in order to either be present or make sure someone else is there. Revised October 6, 2020

·       that the burial permit has been granted and transmitted to the parish

This is required for a burial of body or cremated remains. It is to be retained in the parish archives on file in perpetuity.

·       that all information has been given in order to fill the parish Cemetery Register

·       that the usual fee for the plot has been paid.

·       note that in order to meet the conditions of burial, everyone also has to obtain the permission from the parish for the burial of a body or cremated

         remains in its Catholic cemetery.


Other Special Circumstances

·       A non-Catholic spouse can be buried in our cemeteries with his/her spouse. This is also applicable to their children.

·       Even though, as a general rule, the body or the cremated remains of the faithful Catholics should be buried in a Roman Catholic cemetery, the mortal

         remains of a Roman Catholic in some circumstances may be buried in a non-Catholic cemetery or in a civil cemetery. In such cases, the priest or

         deacon can bless the grave.

·       The Church urges that stillborn and fetuses be given reverent Christian burial in a Catholic cemetery, or another cemetery that the parents choose.

·       Similarly, it is recommended that amputated limbs be treated in the same way and be buried in a blessed place.


This Rite is the conclusion of the Funeral Rites. Whenever possible, this Rite is to be celebrated at the site of committal: at the grave, tomb or crematorium.


14.  Register

Funerals shall be inscribed in the parish register where they are celebrated.


 Section V

“We prepare the living for the life to come; we bury the dead in the Catholic tradition; and we comfort the living with compassion and care.”


The Catholic funeral provides courage and comfort for those mourning the death of a loved one. The Mass of Christian Burial especially expresses our faith in Jesus’ victory over death and our personal share in the resurrection. This is done through prayers and blessings, through scripture readings and music,  through rituals and symbols. The more actively a family plans the ceremony, the more they are able to participate in the ceremony and therefore experience its consolation and strength.


“A Catholic cemetery is also a visible sign of our belief in the in the resurrection and recalls the unity of the living and the dead. Within this blessed environment, the love of Christ is manifested for all to see.”


In our mainly rural Diocese we have nineteen (19) parish communities with resident priest/pastors (three of them also have a priest/associate pastor). However, chancery documents indicate that we have some eighty (80) Catholic cemeteries within the territory of the Diocese.


Some of these cemeteries belong to larger parishes and are pastorally and administratively well managed from either the parish office or parish volunteer cemetery committees. But there is a majority of these cemeteries which were connected to small rural mission chapels which no longer exist. Therefore their usage for Catholic burials and their maintenance devolves to, either the nearest active parish or in some cases, the Diocese.


1. Church Ownership

 Cemeteries remain under the control of the parish, which remains in general charge of the land. All Catholic cemeteries are blessed so that all graves are considered to be in blessed grounds. Individual graves in a municipal or rural cemetery should be blessed if no portion of the land has been designated as a Catholic burial ground.


2. Plot size and encasements

 As a general rule, the burial plot should be at least four feet six inches by nine feet six inches (137x290cm) and a plot for the burial of ashes should be at least two feet by two feet (60x60cm).  Two sets of ashes may be buried on top of an existing grave with the permission of the family of the deceased.  Ashes should be buried a minimum of eighteen inches (46cm) below the surface level of the soil.  However, note that some families may choose to buy a plot for the burial of ashes.


Encasements are required for the burial of the body of the deceased.  They may be available for the burial of ashes.


3. Decorations and Memorial Items

 Families may place flowers, wreaths or other memorial items near the grave of a loved one.  These should not interfere with the maintenance of the cemetery.  Real or artificial flowers in good condition will remain at the graveside or the tombstone until such time as family members determine that they should be removed.  However, flowers, wreaths or other memorial items that are a detriment to proper grass cutting or maintenance or are faded will be removed as a regular part of cemetery maintenance. All artificial flowers that are to be permanent should be affixed to the monument where it will be the responsibility of the family should these have to be removed or replaced.


4. Markers and Monuments

 Markers are owned and are the responsibility of the family of the deceased.  The markers may be re-aligned or leveled by the cemetery maintenance staff but the family must do any repairs or modifications.  Unsafe markers may be removed only after the deceased’s family has been contacted and has refused to correct the situation.


The only markers allowed in most our cemeteries are the type known as pillow monuments or the flat types that must fit on the runner or sidewalk at the head of the graves. These markers are the safest and require minimum maintenance over the years and families should be encouraged to use these. Monuments may be up to a maximum height of 40 inches (100 cm.).  These do not encourage vandalism and facilitate the care and maintenance of our cemeteries. However, the monuments must at all times be assessed for safety and should not present any hazard to those who may visit the cemetery. If the parish council so desires, it may allow other markers or monuments.


5. Cemetery Register

 Each cemetery is to have a complete cemetery record, which should include a map of the plots, the names and owners of grave easements, notations of the amount paid and entries of burials (indicating the physical location where the deceased is buried and the plot number of the grave).


It is the parish priest (pastor) or his delegate who is responsible for maintaining cemetery registers and maintaining plot maps of the cemetery in order to identify burial plots.  Note that cemetery plots are not sold, but the cemetery owner grants the right of burial to the owner of the easement.


6. Exhumation

 No disinterment from the grave or removal of a body or cremated remains from a Catholic cemetery may be allowed without the consent in writing of the surviving husband, wife, or next to kin. Also required is the written permission or order from the owner of the easement of the grave, or his lawful representative, the approval of the Bishop or Vicar General or Chancery Office and the proper documents required by civil law.


7. Fees

 There shall be no fee charges for plots that had already been reserved and paid.  


8. Perpetual Care Fund

 Half of the fees collected from the sale of the plots are for the perpetual care of the cemetery and should be set aside in a Perpetual Care Fund, the interest of which shall be used only for the maintenance of the cemetery. 



More information and guidance in regards of Funerals can be found in the Order of Christian Funeral published by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Further regulations regarding the sale of cemetery supplies, disposition of remains, operation of cemeteries, mausoleum or columbarium can be found in the Cemeteries Act available at the diocesan offices or through the Queen’s Printer.

Section VI 


 1.     The following policy has been determined concerning the offerings of the faithful in the Diocese of St. Paul.

 1.2   Ordinary collections:

1.2.1   It is through the Sunday collections that the diocesan and parish church draws the resources necessary to meet all its needs.

1.2.2   Therefore all the faithful who receive any revenue are encouraged to contribute as a minimum offering to the parish church, the first 

          hour of each week from all sources of revenue.  This represents approximately 2.5% of their revenue.

1.2.3   This request is addressed to all those earning a salary, to those retired and/or pensioned and to those receiving interest on their investments.  

It includes young single adults working either full-time or part-time, seasonally or permanently.

1.2.4   It is from the ordinary funds of the parish that monies are withdrawn to meet emergencies and special projects as well as the care of 

pastoral responsibilities.

1.3 Prescribed collections:

1.3.1  These collections are established to permit help to the Universal Church, and the Canadian and Diocesan Church.  They are the means 

by which people express their response to special needs beyond those of the parish.

These are:

·       Catholic Missions in Canada

·       Needs of the Church in the Holy Land

·       Pope’s Pastoral Works

·       Needs of the Canadian Church

·       World Mission Sunday or  Propagation of the Faith

·       Youth Camp

·       St Paul Diocesan Caritas

·       Vocations – Collection for seminarians (Good Shepherd Sunday)

·       Northern Mission Support

·       Youth Ministries / Camp St Louis / Vocations


2.  The biblical attitude of giving the first fruits of one's labour (revenue) goes far beyond the duty of giving towards the administrative needs of the parish.  It flows from the duty of ADORATION (acknowledging that God comes first in one's lives) and from one's RELIGIOUS DUTY (returning to God a part of the 100% one has received from Him).  The cooperation of everyone, clergy and laity, is needed to become knowledgeable regarding our indebtedness to God and to his church.                                                                               

3.  This rule well applied in one's life, will not normally require other contributions.  It is in giving regularly the required portion that the faithful fulfill their duty to support the church in all its aspects.

4.  A yearly budget, would demonstrate the anticipated expenses and revenues; and to appeal to one's Christian sense of belonging, ought to suffice to arouse a generous response to these needs.

5.    The members of the Parish Pastoral Council and of the Parish Finance Committee, with their pastor, will plan to renew in January of each year, the task of educating the faithful in their stewardship responsibility.


1.  Some parish revenues are subject to diocesan assessment, others are exempt.

  1.1   Taxable revenues:

1.1.1  All revenues received from the parishioners through ordinary Sunday collections and dues, no matter where or when these contributions are   

         made.  This includes Christmas, Easter and New Year collections. 

1.1.2  All general donations received from the parishioners.

1.1.3 The diocesan assessment is calculated at 12% of all general collections and non-specific donations.

1.2   Non-taxable revenues:

1.2.1 All other revenue is exempt from imposition.  The parish is encouraged to set up a building/maintenance fund.  All maintenance fund spending 

        in the excess of $5,000.00 are to be approved by the Bishop.

1.3   Exceptions:

1.3.1 The parishes authorized in writing by the Bishop to raise non-taxable funds to realize capital projects, contribute in diocesan assessment for 

   the current year, an amount not less than the amount paid the preceding year. 

1.3.2 When donations are requested from outside of the parish, a written approval from the Bishop must accompany the request.



All priests, pastoral agents and all parishioners involved in the administration of finances and Sunday collections in the Diocese of St. Paul are to be reminded that, with respect to soliciting, receiving and disbursing funds for charitable purposes, beyond regular and special Sunday collections already approved, the explicit and written permission of the diocesan Bishop is absolutely required before undertaking any such solicitation or reception of funds.  A written indication of the purpose of each collection, with the name of the charity and its administrator, address, telephone and fax numbers, and any other pertinent information that may be required, are to be included with all such requests.


All funds collected are to be sent directly to the Diocesan Financial Office.  These directives are in conformity with canon 1265-1267 quoted for your benefit, as well as other norms of universal law found in canon 1273-1289.


Canon 1265

§1. Without prejudice to the right of mendicant religious, all private juridical or physical persons are forbidden to make a collection for any pious or ecclesiastical institute or purpose without the written permission of their Ordinary and of the local Ordinary.

§2.  The Episcopal Conference can draw up rules regarding collections, which must be observed by all, including those who from their foundation are called and are “mendicants”.