General Instruction of the Roman Missal
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM)—in the Latin original, Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (IGMR)—is the detailed document governing the celebration of Mass of the ordinary form of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church since 1969. It is printed at the start of recent editions of the Roman Missal.
This document unified and replaced a number of documents that were printed in earlier editions:
- Rubricae Generales Missalis (General Rubrics of the Missal), amplified and revised by Pope Clement VIII in 1604 and completely rewritten by Pope John XXIII in 1960.
- Additiones et Variationes in Rubricis Missalis ad normam Bullae "Divino afflatu" et subsequentium S. R. C. decretorum (Additions and Variations to the Rubrics of the Missal in accordance with the Bull Divino afflatu and subsequent decrees of the Sacred Congregation of Rites), which existed in Missals printed only between 1920 and 1962.
- Ritus servandus in celebratione Missae (Rite to be observed in celebrating Mass), revised by Pope Clement VIII in 1604 and Pope John XXIII in 1962.
The General Instruction is arranged in nine chapters, preceded by a preamble. The chapter headings are:
- The Importance and Dignity of the Eucharistic Celebration
- The Structure of the Mass, Its Elements and Its Parts
- The Duties and Ministries in the Mass
- The Different Forms of Celebrating Mass
- The Arrangement and Furnishing of Churches for the Celebration of the Eucharist
- The Requisites for the Celebration of Mass
- The Choice of the Mass and Its Parts
- Masses and Prayers for Various Circumstances and Masses for the Dead
- Adaptations within the Competence of Bishops and Bishops' Conferences
In his apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, Pope Benedict XVI stressed the importance of proper knowledge of the General Instruction not only for priests but also for the laity:
The eucharistic celebration is enhanced when priests and liturgical leaders are committed to making known the current liturgical texts and norms, making available the great riches found in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and the Order of Readings for Mass. Perhaps we take it for granted that our ecclesial communities already know and appreciate these resources, but this is not always the case. These texts contain riches which have preserved and expressed the faith and experience of the People of God over its two-thousand-year history.
An English translation, but with adaptations for the United States of America, can be consulted at the appropriate web page of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Divine Worship. The same translation, but with adaptations instead for England and Wales, may be found at the web site of the England & Wales Liturgy Office.
- Compare the text in the 1962 Missal with that in the 1920 typical edition of the Missal
- Pope Benedict XVI (2007). "§40 Respect for the liturgical books and the richness of signs". Sacramentum caritatis. Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
- "Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani". 2002.
- "General Instruction of the Roman Missal". Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,. 2010.
- Catholic Bishops' Conference of England & Wales. (2005). General Instruction of the Roman Missal (PDF). Catholic Truth Society and Colloquium. ISBN 1-86082-288-6.
- A commentary on the general instruction of the Roman Missal: developed under the auspices of the Catholic Academy of Liturgy and cosponsored by the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions