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Use of Apostles Creed During Lent and/or Easter
Question from Tony Nicosia on 2/21/2003:

In a response by Colin Donovan on 2/4/03 to Michael's question about the licitness of reciting Baptismal vows rather than the Credo during Mass, Mr. Donovan stated, as part of his response, that, "The Apostles Creed is only authorized for substitution during Lent."

I had always understood that the Apostles Creed could only be recited during Masses for children and that the Nicene Creed must be recited at all other Masses on Sundays and solemnities. I was intrigued, however, as my church (where I serve on the Liturgy Committee) will be welcoming several catechumens and candidates this Lent, with some to receive the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil. I thought that it might be appropriate, then, to use the Apostles Creed rather than the Nicene Creed during Lent since it so closely mirrors the Baptismal vows.

I then spent a great deal of time attempting to track down a source document about the use of the Apostles Creed (at Masses other than those for children), but have not been successful. I have discovered non-authoritative sources (e.g., bulletin boards, discussion groups, etc.) that varyingly reference use of the Apostles Creed (a) during Lent, (b) during Easter and (c) during both Lent and Easter, with various allusions to changes institued by either (i)the 2000 Missale Romanum, (ii) the new GIRM and/or (iii) the indult to the new GIRM requested by the USCCB.

As Lent will begin in less than two weeks, I would greatly appreciate as soon as possible any information (with a definitive source) about the recitation of the Apostles Creed instead of the Nicene Creed (and, specifically, during Lent and/or Easter).

Thank you for your assistance as well as for your wonderful apostolate. May our Lord always be your blessing.

Pax Christi, Tony

Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 3/10/2003:

You refer to the Directory of Masses for Children, which gave this permission. The Missal did not allow it for Masses otherwise.

In the new Missale Romanum (3rd edition, 2002), permission is given for the use of the Roman Baptismal formula, a.k.a. Apostles' Creed, during Lent and Easter Season. It is given at the place in the Missal where the Creed is to be found. As it will be some time till we have a translation of this Latin typical edition, the USCCB promulgated this change in its liturgy newsletter. The Missale Romanum is effective, notwithstanding the lack of vernacular translations in every country.

For the still sceptical, I write this having just looked at the Latin text of the Mass in the Vatican published Missale Romanum.

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