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Catholic Dictionary




The Eucharistic liturgy in which the priest celebrant is assisted by a deacon and/or acolyte. Before the revision of the liturgy, a Solemn Mass was celebrated by a priest, assisted by a deacon and subdeacon; with special music, incense, and ceremonies. The practice went back to the early Church when a Solemn Mass was the typical Mass, whose liturgical texts were divided among several books to suit the convenience of those who employed them. The term Solemn Mass was also formerly applied to the liturgy celebrated by the Pope or a bishop, when assisted by other priests. The new practice of a concelebrated Mass has fairly replaced what used to be the Solemn Mass.