Can priests NOT distribute the Eucharist?


For the second time in the past few months the priest who was celebrating Mass at my parish sat down behind the altar and watched as the extraordinary ministers of holy Communion (twelve of them) distributed the Eucharist. He did not seem in ill health as he was greeting and meeting people after Mass. Is this proper? Should I say anything to him?


Unless necessary, a priest should not abdicate the distribution of Communion to EMHCs. Redemptionis Sacramentum states:

It is the priest celebrant’s responsibility to minister Communion, perhaps assisted by other priests or deacons; and he should not resume the Mass until after the Communion of the faithful is concluded. Only when there is a necessity may extraordinary ministers assist the priest celebrant in accordance with the norm of law (RS 88).

Here is one way you might approach the priest on this:

The next time he sits during the distribution of Communion but greets people after Mass, you might approach him in a friendly, concerned manner and inquire politely about his health. “Are you feeling all right today, Father?” If he assures you that he feels fine, you might say, “I was concerned that you might not be feeling well since you didn’t distribute Communion today.”

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