Policies & Circulars Pertaining to Liturgical Matters (Updated Jan 2020)

Directives From The Council of Priests (Senate) which have been accepted and approved by Archbishop William Goh

Bishops’ Conference of MSB on Mixed Marriages

Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei on 26 February 2001 issued Instructions on Celebration of a Mixed Marriage within or without Holy Mass. A marriage with a dispensation from disparity of cult and a mixed marriage is not to be celebrated in the Holy Mass, but with a Liturgy of the Word and Prayer of the Faithful. However, the local Ordinary may permit a mixed marriage to be celebrated in the Holy Mass if the couple requests it, provided that the non-Catholic partner has the right understanding of the Holy Mass. (Senate Minutes, Mar 2014)

Singapore Archdiocesan’s Policy on Celebration of a Mixed Marriage/Disparity of Cult Marriage

In the Priests Directory, it states that for Mixed Marriages (no. 66.3) and Disparity of Cult Marriages (no. 67.2), the marriage should follow the rite of marriage without Mass. However, it also states that a Mass can be requested. When a Mass is requested but the ministering priest judges that the request should not be acceded to, he should explain to the couple the rationale for his pastoral judgment. However, he should allow the Mass to be celebrated if the couple still insists on one, despite explanation and clarification. (Senate Minutes, May 2015)

Celebrating Marriages Outside a Church

All Catholic weddings in Singapore are to be celebrated only in a church and not in private chapels or oratories. (Senate Minutes, Mar 2014)

Solemnising of Non-Catholics Marriage

Catholic priests should not solemnize (the marriage of) two non-Catholics (whether in church or outside) to avoid confusion. (Senate Minutes, Sep 2014)

All Marriages Must Be Solemnised in the Church

Priests with a license to solemnise marriages are only allowed to do so when conducted in the church. (Senate Minutes, Jun 2017)

Military Wedding

Protocol for Military weddings in Catholic Churches, click here for details.

Wedding Anniversary Mass

For wedding anniversary celebrations, if the mass is not held in church, it should be held in a separate room apart from the dining area.(Senate Minutes, Nov 2013)

Masses During Funeral Wakes

Masses during funeral wakes are not allowed. (Senate Minutes, Nov 2016)

Funeral Arrangements in the Parishes

In exceptional cases, funeral Masses are permitted outside the church (e.g. in a wake hall or in a void deck where the wake is held) when the church itself is not available (e.g. when occupied by Sunday Mass). (Senate Minutes, Jun 2018)

Funeral Mass on Sundays (Discretion)

The prohibition of ritual Masses on Sundays does not necessarily preclude the celebration of some rites, including funeral rites. Funeral Masses are allowed on Sundays according to liturgical norms as published in the Ordo, but the details of the implementation are left to the discretion of the parish priest, who will formulate the policy for the parish. (Senate Minutes, Sep 2018)

Funeral Rite at the Crematorium

Each parish is to make its own policy as to whether priests are to go to the crematorium to perform the last rites. (Senate Minutes, Aug 2018)

Funeral Wakes for Priests

All funeral wakes of priests should be held in the church premises. (Senate Minutes, Jan 2018)

Non-Catholics During the Time of Communion

Non-Catholics who come forward in the communion queue are not given a blessing as such. Rather, the priest prays for them that they might receive Jesus spiritually in their heart. RCIA Catechumens and children who have yet to receive their First Holy Communion are encouraged to make this act of spiritual communion in faith. (Senate Minutes, Aug 2013)

Receiving Communion by Hand or Tongue, Kneeling or Standing

The faithful have the option of receiving communion by hand or tongue, and receiving communion standing or kneeling. (Senate Minutes, Aug 2013, May 2016)

Extraordinary Ministers (EMs) Bringing Communion to the Sick

EMs should only collect Holy Communion from the parish they belong to. In exceptional situations, those who attend Mass outside their parish and wish to take Communion for the sick should approach the celebrating priest before Mass, and present papers of appointment for verification. (Senate Minutes, May 2015)

Privacy in Confession

Parishes should safeguard the privacy of penitents by having non-transparent curtains and having the name of the confessor displayed outside the confessional room. (Senate Minutes, May 2015, July 2015)

Absolution Formula for Confession

The prescribed formula of Absolution must be used, otherwise the Sacrament may be rendered invalid. (Senate Minutes, Apr 2017)

Home Masses

Masses for Neighbourhood Christian Communities (NCCs) are allowed. Parish priests are to be informed of these Masses.

Masses for individual homes are at the discretion of the parish priest. (Senate Minutes, Jan 2017)

A letter of suitability is required for foreign priests who want to celebrate private Mass at the homes of their friends or relatives. (Senate Minutes, Nov 2015)

One Mass Fulfilling Two Obligations

One Sunset Mass does not fulfill two obligations if one falls on a Saturday and the other one on a Sunday. Catholics must attend masses on two separate days to fulfill both obligations. (Senate Minutes, Jan 2018)

Mass in Catholic Schools

No non-Catholic is to be excluded from attending a mass held in school if he or she so wishes. (Senate minutes, Feb 2018)

Girl Servers at Mass

No permission is given for girls to serve as altar servers. However, students in all-girls schools can assist during the Mass by wearing their school uniform. (Senate Minutes, Mar 2014 and Jun 2017)

Responsorial Psalms

The Liturgical Commission instructs the liturgists of the parishes that they must keep to the words of the responsorial psalms without any modification. (Senate Minutes, Jun 2015)

Guidelines for Veneration of Ancestors Within the Mass

Veneration of ancestors is permitted within the Liturgy of the Church. Those who want to organise this Mass must ensure that the congregation is properly instructed on the symbols that are used. These should not compromise the teaching of the Church. Such masses should not be held at the principal mass in deference to the larger community. The ancestral tables used must not be placed near the main altar or at the sanctuary but at the side. The Liturgical Commission must be consulted for propriety. The parish priest of parishes organising these masses must respond to any queries that may arise from the celebration. (Senate Minutes, Jan 2017)

Gesture at the Lord’s Prayer

Liturgical laws have consistently not allowed the holding of hands during the Lord’s Prayer nor the raising of hands in the orans position by the laity. (Senate Minutes, Apr 2018)

Wearing of Alb over Religious Habit

All religious priests who celebrate Mass are to wear an alb and not just a stole or a chasuble over their religious habit (cf. Redemptionis Sacramentum, n. 126). (Senate Minutes, Apr 2018)

Ash Wednesday

The Liturgical Commission has issued guidelines for the blessing and distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday – click here to read

The Celebration of Sacraments for the Syro-Malabar Community

Syro-Malabar Rite Catholics have a right to receive the Sacraments in their own rite in their own parish (Senate Minutes, Sep 2018)

Eucharistic adoration rooms

As long as the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, there should be someone present; otherwise, the Blessed Sacrament should be veiled. (Senate Minutes, Oct 2017)

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