Can Non-Catholics Take Up the Gifts?


#1

At almost every Mass I attend, I’m asked to serve as an usher. I enjoy doing it because it gives this old man a way to serve his parish in a small way.
Sometimes I find myself left “in charge” of things. It’s easy enough to find guys to usher and collect, but I don’t like to ask the same people who take up the gifts week after week, even though they don’t mind doing it. I like the idea of giving everyone the chance to be a part of things.
There is a certain couple that I see every week that are very friendly. She is very focused during the Mass, and always takes Communion, but he stays seated in the pews. Alot of people don’t receive the Eucharist for one reason or other, and I just assumed he was working through a challenging time and it wasn’t my business.
One day I asked them to carry up the hosts and wine, and he said," I don’t mind doing it, but I’m not Catholic." As my brain spinned into high gear searching for an appropriate response, I said" Well, it doesn’t bother me, but I’ll have to find out if it’s ok. Thanks anyway". With nobody immediately around to ask, I just went for another couple and decided to ask later, which I have neglected to do until now.:slight_smile:
Can anyone tell me if a non-Catholic take the gifts to the Celebrant, or would they have to be a catechumen or something like that?


#2

I don’t have a citation but I think it is fine for non-Catholics to bring up the gifts. It was one of the only “jobs” my non-Catholic SIL was allowed to do at my wedding. And we often have people from RCIA do this as well in our parish.


#3

I don’t have an answer for you but I’d like to commend and thank you for making an effort to Include people other than the “regulars” to bring up the gifts. In our parish it seems as if there are two or three couple who are chosen every week.


#4

I have known a number of interfaith families who bring up the gifts together.


#5

Thanks, everyone. Those answers sound good to me.:yup:


#6

I don’t know of the official answer and I look forward to seeing it.

When I was planning my mother’s funeral Mass I was talking with my pastor (who was not the priest who celebrated the Mass, simply a conversation about everything that was happening in my life at that point). I said I was thinking about asking my non-Catholic aunt and uncle to bring up the gifts since I didn’t know how else I could include them in the Mass and his comment was “It has never made sense to me to ask someone to bring up the gifts if they can’t later receive them.” It made me rethink my plans.


#7

The GIRM seems to indicate a preference for Catholics to bring up the gifts, however it is more of a “better idea” than a hard rule (bold is mine):

  1. At the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist the gifts which will become Christ’s Body and Blood are brought to the altar…The offerings are then brought forward. It is a praiseworthy practice for the bread and wine to be presented by the faithful. They are then accepted at an appropriate place by the Priest or the Deacon to be carried to the altar. Even though the faithful no longer bring from their own possessions the bread and wine intended for the liturgy as was once the case, nevertheless the rite of carrying up the offerings still keeps its spiritual efficacy and significance.
    I personally believe that there are circumstances such as those mentioned in other posts (e.g. interfaith families, RCIA candidates) where it does no harm, and some good, to have our separated brothers and sisters bring up the bread and wine.

#8

From reading that paragraph, it doesn’t seem to specify Catholics, unless I’m mistaken on what is meant by “faithful”. The messsage I would read from it is the practice of the congregation presenting the bread and wine should remain, and not have the bread and wine already at the altar or brought up by an altar boy. It seems to encourage the meaning and symbolism of the congregation bringing their talents and treasure as part of the sacrifice.

Unless I’m mistaken in my understanding of the meaning of “faithful” as it is used in the GIRM, I would understand this passage to focus on the congregation bringing the gifts and not strictly Catholics.

My 2 cents. :slight_smile:


#9

As I read it, there is an option as to whether or not the gifts are brought up; not as to who brings them up.


#10

I would tend to agree that there are circumstances where non-Catholics should be included in those who bring up the gifts. While only properly disposed Catholics are (properly) able to receive the Eucharist, the non-Catholics in interfaith families, RCIA candidates, and non-Catholic guests do contribute financially and spiritually to the sacrifice.

Of course the opinion of the pastor or the bishop should be respected. And if it seems that there are large numbers of non-Catholics who are participating in the Mass, then perhaps the parish needs to reach out to them and see what’s keeping them from crossing the Tiber.


#11

It seems that what I’m hearing so far is that most of you wouldn’t see a problem with it, especially if they were an interfaith family, and one of them was Catholic.
And some would see no problem even if they were both non-Catholic in some special cases, such as family events, or if they trequently attended Mass as visitors, and gave the impression that they were seeking the faith.
But, as SMHW pointed out, I suppose it would be best to get the final "nod’ or "nay’ from the pastor.


#12

Since I started this discussion, it has occured to me that this might be the reason we see the “regulars” perform this task so often. I don’t want to mislead anyone that I’m some sort of trailblazer :), but maybe it’s just safer for those whose responsibility it is to select someone, to rely on the same people every time to avoid scenarios like this one.
I’m personally in favor of including all who might be happy to take part, but …how does someone make it known that they would, if asked?:confused:


#13

We have it as a small announcement in the parish bulletin about who is bringing up the gifts and if they are celebrating something special (anniversary, child being born, etc). Our pastor likes to celebrate special occasions for parishioners in this manner.


#14

:thumbsup:


#15

That’s a good idea, zz912. The parish I was in while I was in Ohio did that for a while. I think they even listed the ushers. :thumbsup:
I’m not entirely opposed to being informal the way we are in my parish now, but a little more clarity in this matter would help alot. I’m going to ask the pastor what his preference is.


#16

I just called my pastor and he said it was perfectly fine for non-catholics to take up the gifts. He said we have a lot of people who attend Mass that aren’t Catholic, and are searching for their faith. He said anyone can do it, and he will leave that up to my discretion to choose appropriately.
Sounds good to me.


#17

While it is interesting to post and discuss here, in the final analysis it falls to the Pastor, and it sounds like you have a warm, loving, intelligent one.:thumbsup:


#18

:yup:Yes, Doctor, we are blessed. He is very well loved here in our parish.


#19

Just wanted to chime in on the affirmative with the rest of you: I took up the gifts at two separate parishes when I was in RCIA.


#20

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