Mass in a private home

Can a priest celebrate a Mass in a private home? Our church isn’t closed. It’s an attempt to “relive the early days of the Church” and “build community”.

Yes. My brother-in-law is studying at CUA and does so when he is home on break.

Mass can be said anywhere.

God Bless

Mass shouldn’t be celebrated in a private home for the mere sake of reliving the early days of the Church. That would fall under antiquarianism.

Redemptionis Sacramentum makes clear that:

  1. The Place for the Celebration of Holy Mass
    [108.] “The celebration of the Eucharist is to be carried out in a sacred place, unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise. In this case the celebration must be in a decent place”.197 The diocesan Bishop shall be the judge for his diocese concerning this necessity, on a case-by-case basis.

So, it’s not necessarily carte blanche.

In Ireland when the Church was being persecuted by the British, they would hold mass in all sort of secret locations. Some were held in houses, barns, outside, anywhere they could.

As I posted in #8 of this thread :

The Book of Blessings is an official liturgical book, the Latin edition was published in 1984. It includes “Order for the Blessing of a Family”. For this blessing within Mass, it has in the rubrics:
“62. … When the blessing of the family is carried out within a Mass celebrated in the family’s home, the rite must be arranged in accord with the principles and provisions of the Instruction on Masses with small groups, Actio pastoralis …”.

This document, Actio pastoralis, is also referred to the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal: “32. Special celebrations of Mass should observe the guidelines established for them: For Masses with special groups, cf. Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, Instruction Actio pastoralis, on Masses with special groups, 15 May 1969: AAS 61 (1969), pp. 806-811;”.

Here are some extracts from Actio Pastoralis:
“2. It is right to include the following among those special groups for whose benefit the eucharist may be celebrated:
… e. gatherings in the home, around the sick or elderly who are house-bound and can never take part in the celebration of the eucharist; included are neighbors and others taking care of such people;
f. gathering in the home on the occasion of a wake or other special religious occasion.
3. In most cases the eucharistic celebration for special groups is to be held in a place of worship.
4. The faculty of allowing a eucharistic celebration for special groups to take place outside a place of worship is reserved to the local Ordinary or, for his own houses, to the Ordinary of religious. But, especially when it is a question of private homes or institutions, they are to grant this faculty only if the place is suitable and decent. …
Futhermore, care must be taken that the concern for a more spacious and finer place does not lead to deliberate favoritism toward certain families and so to the restoration under another guise of the privileges that the Constitution on the Liturgy repudiates.”

The 2004 Instruction Redemptions Sacramentum also refers to Actio Pastoralis:
"[114.] … While it is permissible that Mass should be celebrated for particular groups according to the norm of law,
[footnote 203: Cf. Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Dies Domini, esp. n. 36: AAS 90 (1998) pp. 713-766, here pp. 735-736; S. Congregation for Divine Worship, Instruction Actio pastoralis: AAS 61 (1969) pp. 806-811.]
these groups are nevertheless not exempt from the faithful observance of the liturgical norms."

To sum up, Actio pastoralis permits Mass in the home. Liturgical books refer to it. So in some circumstances, as decided by the bishop, home Masses are permitted.

According to a devout Catholic friend of mine the important part of the ‘church’ is not the building but the people who gather to worship in it, or where-ever else they wish to pray:)

Yes, but, these were extraordinary circumstances. The same held true for Mexico. However, we are not under those circumstances right now. I can see this in India and Iraq, but, not here in the United States.

So, if a priest is on vacation, he must seek out a Church every day to say his daily Mass?

God Bless

Priests are no longer obliged to say Mass every day. They are still strongly encouraged, though, and concelebration helps them accomplish that.

To the OP: Mass must be prayed in a church unless there is a sufficiently good reason not to, and the bishop allows it.

Tell me, is the priest going to suggest that they all pool together all their money and sell their land? That’s the type of “community” the early Church had!

And any parish that needs to celebrate Mass outside of its church to foster community has some deeper problems that need tending to!

I don’t know what it is like in other cultures, but in my mother’s Filipino culture, any time a family moves into a new home, they have a house blessing of every room and then a mass held in the living or family room at the end of the blessing.

A close priest friend of ours has a family home in the middle of nowhere. He does mass there when he visits for Catholic friends close by or for friends and family that comes up to visit for the weekend/week. I don’t even know where the closest Catholic church is around there. Whereever it is, I think it has to be at least over an hour away.

Hello there!

I was surprised to see this thread b/c in the last two months at our parish, Mass was held in several different private homes. It was announced in the weekly bullentin and held on a week night, usually Thursday. This was in addition to the daily Mass at the church. I thought it odd but only because I had never heard of it before. I would be afraid my own home was not “holy” enough. That though is only my opinion.

God Bless!

An occasional Mass in a home (or otherwise dignified place) is permitted for a legitimate reason–this has been happening continuously from the very beginning of Christianity. We’ve already heard some posters here give some legitimate reasons.

But to do so as a denial that the church-building is the proper place for Mass is certainly not a legitimate reason.

Let’s all keep in mind here that we only have a 2-sentence post to begin this thread. We realy don’t know all of what’s happening. An occasional Mass in a home is fine. If this is being done in such a way as to detract from the church-building then it’s a problem.

So the answer to the OP is really “it might be, or it might not be, we don’t know.”

Priests were not required to celebrate daily Mass under the old code of canon law, either. It was always a recommendation.

Ah. I’m afraid I always just assumed it was obligatory.

1917 CIC can. 820: “Missae sacrificium omnibus diebus celebrari potest, exceptis iis qui proprio sacerdotis ritu excluduntur.” (The sacrifice of the Mass can be celebrated every day, except on those which are excluded by a priest’s own Rite.)

A few years ago we had a family reunion and a retired priest celebrated Mass for us in the only sheltered spot that would hold everyone – the barn at the family homestead. It is no longer used to house animals and was the site of the reunion.

The Bishop has to give the o.k. to have a Mass celebrated in a private home. We were doing it for a while parish was being established… We didn’t have a place for daily Mass. Once we had the rectory, the daily Mass is celebrated there and the Masses in the private homes stopped.

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