GIRM Series: Book of the Gospel / Profound Bow
GIRM Series: Book of the Gospel / Profound Bow

You’ve probably noticed the Book of the Gospels now carried in at the beginning of Mass by the Lector.  It is placed directly on the altar to show the direct connection between the presence of Jesus as contained in the Sacred Scriptures and his presence in the Eucharistic elements at the altar of sacrifice.

The lector proclaims the first and second readings from the Lectionary which is placed at the Ambo before the Mass.  During the singing of the Alleluia the priest picks up the Book of the Gospels and carries it to the Ambo.  This signals a change: God was speaking to us in the Old Testament and through the Epistles but now Jesus himself will speak as the Gospel is proclaimed by the priest.

In the Eastern Church the Book of the Gospels is reverenced (kissed) by the members of the assembly after the gospel has been proclaimed.   
 
Another sign of reverence the GIRM is asking of us is a profound bow to be made during the creed.  As we say the words “by the power of the Holy Spirit … and became man,”  we are to bow our heads.  A profound bow is not a little bob of the head but rather a bow that begins at the waist and engages the entire body.  This kind of bow demonstrates the profound respect the faithful have for the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.  On Christmas and the Annunciation we’ll make a full genuflection at this point in the creed.   (April 25,2004)

For more please see: When Should We Bow and When Should We Genuflect at Mass?

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