Congregation Receiving Communion Before Priest


I normally attend my University’s Newman Center for Sunday Mass, and they have many routines and practices that would probably be considered illicit/liturgical abuses (gender-neutral language, non-traditional Communion bread/hosts, standing during Eucharistic Prayer, etc.), however the practice that concerns me the most is after the “Behold the Lamb of God…” sequence, where the priest would normally consume the Body and Blood of Christ, he instead goes to distribute communion the congregation, then takes communion along with the EMHCs afterwards. The EMHCs I’m not concerned about as much, but could the priest receiving communion after the congregation potentially invalidate the Mass (as I’ve heard someone suggest)?



What would invalidate the Mass would be to leave out the words of consecration. Other things may be done wrong but it’s still a valid Mass with valid sacrament.



Depending on the type of hosts used for communion, the mass could be invalid if they are not of proper matter, even if the consecration is said correctly. Abuses such as gender-neutral language are bad enough, and with stuff like that going on it might be worth investigating the type of hosts used. That seems to me to be the most dangerous thing going on here and if there are a multitude of other lesser abuses that could lead to larger, more serious problems.

Standing during the Eucharistic Prayer is likely OK and not a problem. The main question about the order of receiving communion I do not know about so I won’t comment on that. Gender neutral language is definitely a liturgical abuse. Questionable hosts for communion could be a potentially serious matter.



Why can’t gender neutral language be used?



What kind of host are they using?



How is gender-neutral language a “liturgical abuse”?

What kind of bread/ host are they using? We have discussed before on here that there is a form of crumbly wheat bread that is permissible for use though it is not a standard crispy round host.

Standing during the Eucharistic Prayer is a common practice in churches without kneelers. Does your Newman Center have kneelers?



The priest must receive Communion before he distributes to the faithful. The Sacrifice is not complete until he does.

[97.] A Priest must communicate at the altar at the moment laid down by the Missal each time he celebrates Holy Mass, and the concelebrants must communicate before they proceed with the distribution of Holy Communion. The Priest celebrant or a concelebrant is never to wait until the people’s Communion is concluded before receiving Communion himself.

As for the bread, I have baked Communion bread before, from a recipe containing nothing but flour (all-purpose and whole wheat) and water. It makes a chewy, nutty flavoured loaf that can look like a large cookie. We realized it was problematic, not due to validity, but due to older parishioners attempting to swallow the small cube whole because they had been taught in childhood that they must never chew the host.

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Yeah, I’ve seen this before too, but almost never outside of a high school or college setting. It was routinely used for Masses and Communion services at my high school.



It would be an abuse if prayers were changed to make them gender neutral.

Some examples I can think of is changing son to child, father to parent, him to them, and dropping men from the Creed so it says “for us and our salvation, they came down from heaven”.

I have seen parishes that have done all the above.



These are potentially serious abuses. Newman centers are hard because sometimes the priests are “on loan” from outside the diocese. But the Bishop should be aware of this. You should ask the priests about these things and then if that doesn’t satisfy your doubts you can go to the Bishop.

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Find your Diocese office of Campus Ministry and simply send them an email asking about these irregularities

You could also contact the Newman Connection:

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So it’s changing the words of the prayers, not gender neutral language per se?



My understanding is that deliberately changing the words of the prayers would probably be classified as an abuse. I would think that the degree of abuse would depend on the intention behind the change and that a slight change that doesn’t alter the meaning would be less serious than a change of words that alters the meaning or theology behind the words, but that is simply my opinion. I think that the bottom line is that the Liturgy does not belong to the priest or the people, so the words ought not to be changed. We are not their to lay our own interpretations on the Liturgy through altering words. This is my personal opinion and I am simply a lay-person with a view formed by what I have read and what I think about the matter.

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My understanding too. I just wish the prayers had been written with gender neutral language.

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Why? The prayers are written as they are for a reason, including the use of pronouns. Would using gender-neutral language not alter the meaning in some way?



Depends on the prayer. If referring to God then masculine pronouns should be used. If referring to human beings gender neutral language would not change the meaning unless it was only intended to refer to one sex.

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The Mass as a liturgy cannot be invalid itself. The sacrament within the Mass, the confection of the Eucharist can be valid or invalid. It would be invalid if the celebrant were not a priest (I don’t think liturgical abuse has gone that far yet), if the matter used was invalid, i.e. wheat bread and wine fermented from grapes. The celebrant must use the correct form which are the words of consecration in the Eucharistic Prayer. The priest’s intent is also required but if everything else is in order that is generally taken as being what the Church intends and so is valid.

The priest, or priests, must receive communion before everyone else. Not doing this is a liturgical abuse but it does not invalidate the Eucharist. If the priest did not receive at all the sacrifice would not be complete.

I do not know of Newman Centers and know nothing of their reputation. Is the one you attend unique in this way or is this the way Newman Centers behave? It sounds to me as if this one is trying to make Catholicism what it wants it to be and not what it is.



Yeah, I would need to see specific prayers to see what exactly is changed. For all I know the person could be talking about gender neutral language in the hymns or in the General Intercessions or something, where it’s not a problem. If the gender neutral changes are happening in the Our Father or in the consecration prayers, it might be a problem.



I don’t need to hear the words men & women or people or anything else in the Scripture. We can tell that it means sometimes only men and sometimes it means men and women. I am SO glad they don’t have the inclusive language in the readings. One Priest did that once years back and I HATED reading it that way when I was the Reader. It was actually marked through and changed in the Lectionary which should NEVER be done.



Would you have an issue if the lectionary used a translation with gender neutral language? If so why?


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