Placement of the Book of the Gospels on the altar?


On what side of the altar are we to place the Book of the Gospels inthe entrance procession?

--Beaming in Birmingham


Technically, there is no exact statement in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal 2002 (GIRM) or the Book of the Gospels (BG) mentioning a side or place on the altar. While the clergy are directed to go around and kiss the altar, in BG #7, the reader is directed to not kiss the altar, just place the BG on the altar. One could infer that this placement is in the area where the clergy kiss the altar. This is usually on the side of the altar where the vessels and Roman Missal are laid, the side where the clergy stand, facing the people. With decorations or flowers placed "in front of the altar," that is, the side closest to the assembly, one could say that it would be difficult to place the BG on this side of the altar/table, since it would be a difficult reach over the flowers.

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