ASK FATHER: Can a Dominican Tertiary priest use the Dominican Rite?

From a priest…


On Sunday, even after concelebrating a conventual Mass with the Dominican Friars, I was drawn to assist at an E.F. Mass at a local FSSP parish, and I’m glad I did.

Which brings me to my question: Does S.P. allow for a Dominican tertiary priest to celebrate the older Dominican Rite Mass, or do I need to seek faculties to do so? Since I’m a doctoral student specialising in the Trinitarian theology of St Thomas Aquinas, I would be glad to have opportunities to celebrate the older Dominican Rite Mass so as to contemplatively absorb what I’m learning.

That’s a good question, to which I know not the answer.  I think there are well-informed Dominicans around here who could help.

My instinct is to underscore that, though you are a tertiary, you are a diocesan priest of the Latin Church and that your Rite is the Roman Rite.   That’s your mainstay.

I suspect that, as a tertiary, you would be able to celebrate the Dominican Rite especially with Dominicans.   Whether or not you can do it, as an option, as a diocesan, is unknown to me.


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Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. padredana says:

    I’m not sure about Dominicans Tertiaries, but I can speak about Benedictine Oblates. I am a priest Oblate of the Monastery in Norcia, and we are allowed to insert St. Benedict into the confiteor of the Traditional Mass just like the monks, and are allowed to pray the monastic office instead of the Roman Breviary. So, it’s possible they are allowed.

    On a related note, I am also chaplain to a monastery of Discalced Carmelites. Since I offer Mass for them, am I allowed to offer the Carmelite Rite?

  2. Colm says:

    From Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P. (

    Q: May priest members of the Dominican Laity use the Dominican liturgical books of 1962?
    A: There are very few priest members of the Dominican Laity today. Most priestly affiliates of the Order are members of the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic. The Dominican Laity no longer admit priest members.In 1962 priest members of the Third Order were permitted the use of the Dominican Breviary, Martyrology, and other Office books. According to a rescript of Pius VII of 6 Jul. 1806, they could also use the Dominican Missal when celebrating privately, but, when celebrating publicly, they could use it ONLY in a Dominican Church (” vero in Ecclesiis nostris dumtaxat.”)..This was the norm in force in 1962.
    So, I conclude, it seems that those priests who are members of the Dominican Laity or the Priestly Confraternities of St. Dominic may use these books in private recitation of Office and for Private Mass. They cannot celebrate the Dominican Mass publicly without the permission of the pastor or prior of the the Dominican church where they want to celebrate. And they may not celebrate public Mass in the Dominican Rite anywhere else. Note that any priest saying any form of the Catholic Mass in any church: can do so only with permission of the pastor. And that permission need not be granted. As the only place where public celebration of the Dominican Rite Mass by a Fraternity member priest can happen is in a church of the Dominican friars, it would most likely be the church of the priest who is “advisor” to the local Fraternity. So the Fraternity member priest should first speak to the priest advisor about getting permission from the local Dominican superior for such a Mass and follow the advisor’s instructions.

  3. Fr_Andrew says:

    I say the EF Mass once or twice a week for some Dominican Sisters. My reading of the 1960 rubrics suggests that while in their chapel I must follow their calendar and not my own, there is no faculty to use the Dominican Rite wholesale. That makes sense with how their Missal is laid out, providing two Canons marked in different color tabs, one with the Dominican rubrics, another with the Roman. This way one has the Dominican propers, but for a Roman Mass.

    Taking that as an example barring other disciplinary documents, I would say that the Carmelite chaplain should follow the Carmelite calendar in their chapel, but say the Roman Mass with Carmelite propers.

  4. Colm beat me to this. He is quoting from a longer reference piece on the canonical status of the Dominican Rite here: Ignore the date, the posting is current.

    Least there be some confusion, I should explain something about the terminology. Up to 1969, diocesan priests could be members of the “Secular Third Order of Preachers.” Most priests who joined were “private tertiaries,” that is, not members of a local chapter. The Rule of 1969 made the “tertiaries” exclusively lay and changed the name to the “Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic.” So, strictly speaking, the only “priest tertiaries” today are those who entered before 1969. Thus my comment that they are few in number.

    It took until 1972 for the “Rule for the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic” to be promulgated. So today a secular priest would only be a “priest tertiary” if he professed before 1969. Otherwise the only way for an American secular priest to affiliate with the Dominican Order is by joining one of the functioning priest fraternities.

    Priests today who are interested in affiliating should contact the respective provincial offices (New York, Chicago, New Orleans, Oakland) to find the nearest priestly fraternity to join. It has not been canonically possible to become a “private tertiary” (lay or priestly) since 1969. Whether this was the best way to update the Third Order is debatable, but this is the current canonical situation.

  5. And Fr. Andrew is correct about what calendar to use in houses of religious. One uses one’s own Missal (for seculars the Roman) with propers, or if necessary commons, for the saints of the order to which the house pertains.

  6. quovadis74 says:

    Hello Fr. Thompson.
    What about the use of the Liturgy of the Hours OP by Lay fraternity members?
    I’m a permanent deacon recently admitted into the Fraternity and I feel compelled to follow the calendar of saints of the order, I have not been able to find the books yet.


  7. Dear Quovadis,

    I assume that you are looking for the English translation of the Propers of Dominican saints to use with the English Liturgy of the Hours. It is published by Dominican Liturgy Publications (i.e. me—, which has many books you might find useful.

    The direct link to the product page of the Propers is here:

    In the union of prayer,
    —Fr. Augustine Thompson O.P.

  8. bourgja says:

    Padredana, technically the Discalced Carmelite Order switched from the Carmelite Rite to the Roman Rite in the 1500s, so in 1962 they would not have used the Carmelite Rite. There is, of course, a proper calendar for the Discalced Carmelites which should be used within the Roman Rite.

  9. quovadis74 says:

    Dear Fr. Thompson,

    Thanks a lot for the link, I am also interested in getting the Spanish translation. Do you know where to find it?

    Finally, what are the rules for usin these propers in my case as a “third order”? Privately? During my chapter meetings?


    Dcn. Gus.

  10. Dear Quovadis,

    This posting is getting very stale and I don’t think I will be hunting for it in the future. If you have questions after my reply here, just contact me by email. It can be found at Dominican Liturgy blogspot.

    These propers, although provisional and “experiemental” are used in all the houses of friars of my province and by all our Dominican Laity chapters. I see no reason why your Priestly Fraternity could not use them. They are not however official (the only “official” version is the Latin at this point), so some may have scruples. I would consult your spiritual moderator.

    I know there is a Spanish version, but I have no idea where to get it. I would suggest contacting the St. Joseph Province provincial office and asking their director of Spanish ministry. I would assume he would know.

    In the union of prayer.

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