Eucharist availability in the jungle?


#1

I recently heard a presentation by a Protestant missionary who served in a remote jungle (to give you perspective, the village is a 30 day walk from the closest road). Since there are no grapes or wheat (the villagers have never had bread of any form), for Communion, they used water for the cup and everything from sweat potatoes to bananas and gourds in place of bread

I don’t want to get into a discussion of Protestant Communion being invalid, etc., etc. I simply want to know what would happen if a Catholic missionary went into a jungle and there were no grapes or wheat. Would the new converts never receive Communion?


#2

If a Catholic priest were to offer Mass in a jungle, I assume he would bring along everything needed for Mass, including the communion wine and hosts which he would consecrate during Mass.


#3

I would presume the priest would bring along his own supply of communion wafers (or perhaps wheat flour) and enough wine to consecrate the precious blood for his own use. If any of the local people were already Catholic they would receive the host only.

By the time any locals would be ready to be baptized/received into the Church there may have been time to grow grapes and wheat if the missionary had brought along any seeds or grape vine cuttings.


#4

Thanks for your replies.

The Protestant missionary took 4 years to learn the language before he could teach the people - - he was living among the tribe during those 4 years. So if a Catholic priest moved into the village and planned to stay there for awhile, what would happen if grapes couldn’t be grown and/or if he ran out of unconsecrated hosts and wheat couldn’t be grown?

I realize this is hypothetical - - and as I type this I guess a related question would be: what happens to Catholics who live in areas where there are no priests (either because of persecution or disaster or whatever)?


#5

One priest I know told a story of how he celebrated Mass in secret once in a country where Catholics were actively persecuted. For many of the laypeople present, it was the first Mass they’d attended in decades.


#6

A 30 DAY walk from the closest road? I find that extremely hard to believe. In 30 days, a healthy person could walk 1,080 miles. Is there anyplace on Earth that is 1000 miles from a road? I doubt it.

Anyway, if a village is that remote, then surely there is an airstrip or helipad that makes air travel possible. Even remote outposts in Antarctica and Alaska are accessible by air.


#7

Yeah, the missionary said it was a 30 day walk from the last road and yes, they used helicopters. The tribe was in Indonesia and the missionary was from New Tribes Missions. It was remote and the whole purpose of New Tribes is to find people who have had no contact with outsiders (which is why it took the missionary 4 years to learn the language – since the language was unknown).

Anyway, my hypothetical question sort of revolves around what would happen in outposts where a priest is cut off from civilization and then there is no wheat or grapes. So I guess the answer is there would be no Eucharist.


#8

Where there is no valid matter, there is no valid Mass and therefore no valid Eucharist.


closed #9

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.