Can a priest offer Mass “privately?”

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Given that Pope Benedict’s document set out that possibility, the answer would appear to be yes.

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I’ve known retired priests head to the chapel of their retirement homes very early in the morning and celebrate Mass before anyone else got up. Wasn’t that unusual. A teacher who lived at the seminary where I boarded for a couple of weeks each of four consecutive summers said a private Mass each day. If we were up we could attend but he celebrated whether there was anyone there with him or not.

Good article

Honestly, I wish priests were not allowed to concelebrate, except maybe special masses (for example mass with a visiting a Bishop or a Baccalaureate mass for a regional school for multiple Parishes)

I would LOVE to walk into a Catholic Church and see a priest celebrating a “private mass” on a side altar or even the main altar at random times. So much better than seeing 2 or 3 priests concelebrate a daily mass.


My wife and I once visited a parish in a distant city where two of the priests had been good friends of ours back in our own area. They had been on the staff of a retreat center for many years, and now were parish priests. They even offered us a spare room in the living quarters. On Saturday evening I asked one of the priests, “what time is Mass tomorrow?”
“What time would you like?” he replied. It turned out that while one priest offered Mass in the parish church, the other one offered a private Mass in a side chapel with just the two of us attending.

Lol how does a private mass even work? What parts does he say and what does he leave out?

As far as I know, he says it the same way as any other Mass, without the homily.

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And he obviously doesn’t respond to himself in dialogue (those parts are omitted):
“The Lord be with you.”
“And with your spirit.”

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It isn’t that awkward . It is much easier to say a private mass in the EF than the OF just how the rubrics work, however I wonder if the priest still has to move the Missal to the left of the altar for the Gospel and the consecration.
But yah it may seem strange to us but really a mass is legit without responses. I think those were really only added for the laity to be involved more. The mass still is valid.

I have no idea why your reply is directed at me. I never suggested it was awkward or invalid. I simply pointed out a difference between Mass with a congregation versus Mass without (and assuming no server). I also don’t see the EF/Of comparison.

Occasionally I, as a layman, say a “Missa sicca” (“dry Mass”), in the traditional Latin EF. One may do so as a private devotion. To the extent my limited knowledge of Latin will allow, I change the prayers — as I am within my rights to do, again, it’s just a private devotion — so that they make sense in the first person, e.g., “peccatis meis”, not “peccatis tuis”, “perducat me ad vitam aeternam”, not “perducat te…”, and so on. I don’t know if the rubrics allow such changes if a priest is saying a “real” Mass sine populo.

Why is it so much better?

Because I simply think it would be cool to walk into a church at random times and see side altars being use.

Agreed this is cool, one only has to visit St Peters in Rome to recognize this. But that doesn’t make private masses better.

I didn’t say private masses are better, as in concelebrating is worse. Concelebrating isn’t bad or “worse.” However, it can be argued that celebrating private masses is “better” because it increases the number of masses prayed that day. Even if no one is there to witness them except the angels.

I also read an article once by a priest that says that priests today overuse their right to concelebrate. The priest said that the intention really wasn’t so 3 priests could concelebrate a weekday mass. But rather so the priests could concelebrate during Feasts, Solemnities & other special masses.

However, there is nothing in Canon law that specifies this - just what this priest said was the original intention.


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