Is the consecration valid?

If a Priest ad-libs, deviates, or changes the words of the Eucharistic prayers (IE: instructing children on what he is doing during the consecration, or adding personal comments), is the consecration valid?
Also, if the Priest gathers children around the altar for the consecration and this goes on, is the consecration valid?
Thanks for your input-

That depends. The words of consecration must remain the same (or at worst, so similiar that there’s zero doubt as to the intention). All other parts of the Eucharistic Prayer are not necessary for validity.

Also, if the Priest gathers children around the altar for the consecration and this goes on, is the consecration valid?

Where other people are standing/sitting/kneeling has zero effect on the validity of the Eucharist.

To clarify - the Priest is interacting and instruction with the children gathered around the altar during the consecration. I don’t know if that makes a difference

To clarify - the Priest is interacting and giving instruction to the children gathered around the altar during the consecration. I don’t know if that makes a difference. Shouldn’t the emphasis be on the Eucharist

“Validity” deals with whether the sacrament was confected. For that the VALID celebration of the Eucharist needs a priest, wheat bread and grape wine, and the words of consecration - see NewEngland’s post above. From what you have posted it seems clear that the sacrament was valid.

It does not appear to be “licit”, however. “Licit” refers to following the rules. Perhaps there is some canon allowing instruction as you indicated. If so, I am not aware of it. It is my understanding that no priest is allowed to change the Eucharistic prayers on their own - despite it happening with some regularity.

You might ask why make the distinction between “validity” and “liceity”? The answer lies in assuring the faithful of the validity of the sacrament in the normal course, and in instructing/teaching the faithful in the normal course. The Church has rules and texts and rubrics so that the sacrament is clear in all respects to the faithful: validly confected, validly administered, and clear in its meaning.

However, there are times - when necessity or dire situations don’t allow for the rules to be followed, yet the sacrament can be valid. An example would be during WWII priests in prison camps if they could get hold of a grape could allow it ferment and with the bread provided confect the sacrament - certainly not licit in the normal course - but valid. How not licit in the normal course: no altar, no vestments, wheat with yeast (Latin Rite rule), wine without the needed level of alcohol, probable failure to say and do all things in Mass, etc. (I do believe there are rules for such extreme circumstances waiving such rules though illicit in the normal course.)

1- I would that the priest was emphasizing the Eucharist through catechetical instruction to the children.
2- I would say that it was not the right thing to deviate from the General Instructions of the Roman Missal (GIRM)
3- I think that the consecration was valid.

This is from Redemptionis Sacramentum:

[51.] Only those Eucharistic Prayers are to be used which are found in the Roman Missal or are legitimately approved by the Apostolic See, and according to the manner and the terms set forth by it. "It is not to be tolerated that some Priests take upon themselves the right to compose their own Eucharistic Prayers"129 or to change the same texts approved by the Church, or to introduce others composed by private individuals.130

The children should not be gathered around the altar under any circumstances. This is sacred space and only those who are designated should be there. This is a serious abuse.

Indeed, but that’s not the question at hand…

This is directly addressed by the GIRM:

  1. It is also up to the priest, in the exercise of his office of presiding over the gathered assembly, to offer certain explanations that are foreseen in the rite itself. Where it is indicated in the rubrics, the celebrant is permitted to adapt them somewhat in order that they respond to the understanding of those participating. However, he should always take care to keep to the sense of the text given in the Missal and to express them succinctly. The presiding priest is also to direct the word of God and to impart the final blessing. In addition, he may give the faithful a very brief introduction to the Mass of the day (after the initial Greeting and before the Act of Penitence), to the Liturgy of the Word (before the readings), and to the Eucharistic Prayer (before the Preface), though never during the Eucharistic Prayer itself; he may also make concluding comments to the entire sacred action before the dismissal.

But the question is whether the consecration is valid. The citation does not say that anything that the priest did invalidates the consecration. He didn’t follow the rules; that’s true. But it sounds like the consecration is valid.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

That is the question in the OP. Since NewEnglandPries answered that question in Post #2, I was answering the separate follow-up question in Post #3 about the general situation the OP observed. Looking back, it appears your interpretation is correct - the OP was simply clarifying her original question about validity, not posing a new one about whether it was appropriate. I’ll have to learn to read more carefully.:ouch:

Thank you for your fairness.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

in general unless you are familiar with the ins and outs of the GIRM and liturgy practice in general, always assume that you are participating in valid and licit liturgical rites and Masses, for your own peace of mind and spiritual health. If you are not familiar with the rules you will knock yourself out looking for the permitted variances, and spend all your time taking notes instead of worshipping God.

Allow me to share my thoughts on this subject and how I was formed many years ago by a very wise and holy novice master. Never let anything distract you from the essential presence of him who is love incarnate. Christ makes himself present in his Word, in his people and in the consecrated bread and wine. His presence is not symbolic, but very real.

When the scriptures are proclaimed it is Christ who is revealing himself. When our neighbor is present at the mass with us, it is Christ out brother who is sitting next to us. When the priest consecrates the bread and wine, it is the incarnate son of God that is offered as victim and sacrifice and who offers himself to us as food.

Nothing else and no one else is as important as the divine presence of the Christ in the word proclaimed, the Church that is present and the Eucharist that is his body and blood. Never stop to observe what is happening around you; if you do, you miss an instant of time with Christ, an instant that can never be replaced, not even in eternity. Like the martyrs, let us focus all of our attention on the beloved and ignore the sufferings of our minds, bodies and emotions so that we can enjoy the presence of Christ and take it in from the first instance of the holy mass to its last.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

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