Eucharistic prayer service

Does anyone know if this could fulfill the Sunday obligation?

I’m not sure what a Eucharistic Prayer service is but I highly doubt it would fulfill the Sunday obligation.


You are probably referring to a Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest, basically the Liturgy of the Word followed by a Communion service using Hosts consecrated at a previous Mass.

No, this does not fulfill your Sunday obligation.

Even if your parish offers this, you are still obligated to attend Mass at another parish if there is one you can reasonably get to. If it is impossible for you to get to Mass anywhere, you are most likely excused from your obligation to attend Mass.

I wouldn’t take this too lightly. I would be happy to drive an hour to Mass if it were the only one available. After all, attending Mass is the most important thing you do all week (in fact, the most important thing you do in your lifetime).

There must be a grave reason as to why a Communion service would be done in lieu of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. While the Church has Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest, the main objective is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

  1. Particular Celebrations carried out in the Absence of a Priest
    [162.] On the day known as the Lord’s Day, the Church faithful gathers together to commemorate the Lord’s Resurrection and the whole Paschal Mystery, especially by the celebration of Mass.263 For “no Christian community is built up unless it is rooted in and hinges upon the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist”.264 Hence it is the Christian people’s right to have the Eucharist celebrated for them on Sunday, and whenever holy days of obligation or other major feasts occur, and even daily insofar as this is possible. Therefore when it is difficult to have the celebration of Mass on a Sunday in a parish church or in another community of Christ’s faithful, the diocesan Bishop together with his Priests should consider appropriate remedies.265 Among such solutions will be that other Priests be called upon for this purpose, or that the faithful transfer to a church in a nearby place so as to participate in the Eucharistic mystery there.266

[163.] All Priests, to whom the Priesthood and the Eucharist are entrusted for the sake of others,267 should remember that they are enjoined to provide the faithful with the opportunity to satisfy the obligation of participating at Mass on Sundays.268 For their part, the lay faithful have the right, barring a case of real impossibility, that no Priest should ever refuse either to celebrate Mass for the people or to have it celebrated by another Priest if the people otherwise would not be able to satisfy the obligation of participating at Mass on Sunday or the other days of precept.

[164.] ** “If participation at the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible on account of the absence of a sacred minister or for some other grave cause”,269 then it is the Christian people’s right that the diocesan Bishop should provide as far as he is able for some celebration to be held on Sundays for that community under his authority and according to the Church’s norms. Sunday celebrations of this specific kind, however, are to be considered altogether extraordinary. All Deacons or lay members of Christ’s faithful who are assigned a part in such celebrations by the diocesan Bishop should strive “to keep alive in the community a genuine ‘hunger’ for the Eucharist, so that no opportunity for the celebration of Mass will ever be missed, also taking advantage of the occasional presence of a Priest who is not impeded by Church law from celebrating Mass”.270**

[165.] It is necessary to avoid any sort of confusion between this type of gathering and the celebration of theEucharist.271 The diocesan Bishops, therefore, should prudently discern whether Holy Communion ought to be distributed in these gatherings. The matter would appropriately be determined in view of a more ample co-ordination in the Bishops’ Conference, to be put into effect after the recognitio of the acts by the Apostolic See through the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. It will be preferable, moreover, when both a Priest and a Deacon are absent, that the various parts be distributed among several faithful rather than having a single lay member of the faithful direct the whole celebration alone. Nor is it ever appropriate to refer to any member of the lay faithful as “presiding” over the celebration.

[166.] Likewise, especially if Holy Communion is distributed during such celebrations, the diocesan Bishop, to whose exclusive competence this matter pertains, must not easily grant permission for such celebrations to be held on weekdays, especially in places where it was possible or would be possible to have the celebration of Mass on the preceding or the following Sunday. Priests are therefore earnestly requested to celebrate Mass daily for the people in one of the churches entrusted to their care.

[167.] “Similarly, it is unthinkable on the Lord’s Day to substitute for Holy Mass either ecumenical celebrations of the Word or services of common prayer with Christians from the … Ecclesial Communities, or even participation in these Communities’ liturgical services”.272 Should the diocesan Bishop out of necessity authorize the participation of Catholics for a single occasion, let pastors take care lest confusion arise among the Catholic faithful concerning the necessity of taking part at Mass at another hour of the day even in such circumstances, on account of the obligation.273

Now, #167 is important because, unfortunately, this has been the case in my diocese when daily Mass is not available. The parish automatically has a “communion service”. I plead guilty to leading a couple of them. I have done this only because, having seen what goes on, I decided that if this is going to be done, it should be done correctly. This means no sitting up in the celebrant’s chair, no saying prayers reserved to the priest and no “preaching”, except for reading a meditation from Pope Benedict XVI that applies to that particular day or feast. It also means no blessings. If you want something done right, you pretty much have to do it yourself. :shrug: But, that is for another thread.

I hope this information helps.

Thanks all. I’m not a big fan of them, personally. I’d rather go out of my way to find an actual Mass. Still, I was curious as to whether it would qualify, if a priest were not available due to some emergency or something.

If there’s no priest available and a Mass is not readily accessible elsewhere there is NO obligation.

Our bishop has banned them totally except for at nursing homes and I think jails.

Good for your bishop!

I’ve heard it said too often that in communities with no priest the people won’t gather for worship on Sundays, be it Liturgy of the Hours or a Liturgy of the Word, unless they GET something i.e. Communion. We need to better catechize the people that Sunday worship is about God not about us.

I’ve seen people walk into the Church on Sunday morning and upon realizing that it was ‘only a Liturgy of the Word’ turn around and go home immediately.

Perhaps they were leaving to go find a Mass somewhere else.

I personally have gone to churches (on a weekday) expecting a Mass and, finding preparations for a Communion service, left to go to Mass at another church.

That happened to me last week. Most of the diocesan priests had gone away on retreat. Our parish had communion services, but, I wanted to go to Mass.

This left me feeling like a wandering Aramean looking for the religious order parishes for Mass. I did find one diocesan priest who stayed behind, but, the Mass was truly a sacrifice (bad liturgy). With one exception, I encountered similarly bad liturgies (with some abuses, which is a shame because these guys should know better). One in particular caused me to walk out before it happened. At the local hospital chapel, where my parochial vicar normally celebrates Mass, the nuns who used to run the hospital were having some sort of ritual. Unfortunately, this included having the Baptist CEO of the hospital “bless” two images of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I ran, not walked, to my car and hightailed it over to a monastery.

Needless to say, last week’s experience made me grateful to our Almighty God and Father that I have my parochial vicar.

I doubt “Eucharistic prayer service” is terminology employed by the Church, because it’s dreadfully confusing. “Eucharist” is such a misused word nowadays.

The Eucharist is the sacrament which comes about by the consecration of bread and wine, and it is also the description of the act by which the Eucharist is offered to God the Father. (This takes place in the Eucharistic Prayer immediately following the consecration.)

The Eucharist does not come about outside of Mass. Thus, a “Eucharistic prayer service” should mean “a Mass prayer service”. Using the word “Eucharistic” in a situation that doesn’t actually involve the sacrament of the Eucharist is misleading. If someone means “thanksgiving”, they should say “thanksgiving”.

In my former parish, yes; in in this parish, no way. If there’s no priest available here, the next nearest Mass is at least 6-7 hours away, depending on the road conditions.

Wow! I should never again complain about having to drive ten miles to church.

I have seen people do that during the Triduum when we have morning prayer at the time we would normally have mass. They leave when they realize it is not a mass.

Your post confuses me. What do you call it then, when the service is led by the laity or a deacon, using pre-consecrated hosts? Eucharistic prayer service is what the pastor calls it. :shrug:

I’m not bothered by it being “only” a Liturgy of the Word. What bothers me are the reflections given by the lay person leading it. Too many of them see it as an opportunity to promote their personal agenda.

It is either call a Communion Service or, if done on a Sunday, a Sunday Celebration in Absence of a Priest.

With all their many admitted problems, I’d have to say if there were no available Mass on a particular Sunday, but there were a Communion Service, I’d go.

I don’t believe in passing up an opportunity to receive Our Lord of a Sunday (provided I’m not in mortal sin or anything) so I’d probably attend for that reason alone. He is more than enough reason for me to attend. :shrug:

To clarify before I go on, it’s only “Eucharistic” if the Eucharist is consecrated and offered (i.e. Mass). A “Eucharistic liturgy” or “Eucharistic service” is (potentially-confusing) language for “Mass”. Some people don’t like the word Mass (perhaps because it is “old” or has a connotation involving sacrifice) and prefer to use “Eucharist” exclusively.

It should be called a “Celebration of the Word with Communion”… or simply a “Communion service” (which is what we have on Good Friday). We are receiving Holy Communion. The Eucharist, properly speaking, is the consecration and offering to God: God receives the Eucharist (thanksgiving), we receive Holy Communion. It’s the same sacrament, it’s just a different aspect. As Pope John Paul II said in Redemptor Hominis 20: “The Eucharist is at once a Sacrifice-sacrament, a Communion-sacrament, and a Presence-sacrament.” To the Father is the sacrifice. To the faithful is the Communion. And stored in our tabernacles (for the whole world, really) is the Presence.

In the Eastern tradition, they have a “Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts”. I think it is similar in concept to the “Communion service”.

It’s properly called a “Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest.”

And even though that’s a long phrase, it is an important one. These are permitted only on Sundays (perhaps other Holy Days of Obligation) not weekdays, and only in the complete absence of a priest. They require the bishop’s explicit permission.

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