Communion liturgy when there is no priest


Once a month we have a Communion service as our priest cannot be there. I’m not used to Communion services and it sounds very strange to me. My concern may be totally misplaced (as it was over the “grape juice”), so I thought I’d check here first to see if there is an official liturgy for Sunday Communion services. If anyone could provide a link to one, or a site that has guidelines about it, I’d sure appreciate it.


It is called a “Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest.” There is a ritual book which is to be used.

John Paul II: Dies Domini(1998)

USCCB Publishing: "Sunday Celebrations In the Absence of a Priest"


Yes, there is an official rite: “Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest”. This is a legitimate rite in the Church.

(I’m not going to address how one implements it, or in which situations it is or is not valid; but since your question was “is this a legitimate rite?”, the answer is ‘yes’. :wink: )


Thank you! That’s a big help. :tiphat:


The liturgical book “Holy Communion and the Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass” is perhaps more universal. There is a Latin edition, with a decree of 21 June 1973.

In 1988 the Directory for Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest was published. It outlines the ceremony and then has: “41. … The conference of bishops, or the individual bishop himself, may, in view of the conditions of the place and the people involved, determine more precisely the details of the celebration, using resources prepared by the national or diocesan liturgical committee, but the general structure of the celebration should not be changed unnecessarily.”

So every diocese can have a book of instructions reflecting how the bishop wants the ceremony conducted. But the 1988 Directory has in n. 46 “For the communion rite the provisions given in The Roman Ritual for communion outside Mass are to be observed. [footnote 38 See The Roman Ritual, Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist outside of Mass, ch.1: DOL 266. nos. 2092-2103].”

So to be sure things are happening properly on a Sunday you may need both books.


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