Numbers at Mass?


#1

Hi, I was talking to someone about a Jewish friend of mine and how they need a certain number of people to pray the minyan, 10. He said he rememberd in Catholic school, a deacon telling him a priest needed 12 to say a mass. I know I’ve been at mass with less, never a head count, so to speak, but does anyone know what he might have heard?
I can’t say I have heard of this, but I have missed other teachings in the past.

Thanks!


#2

A priest can celebrate a perfectly valid Mass with no one present at all. There is no minimum number of people required.


#3

While it is always preferred to have at least one person attend, it is actually not necessary to have anyone at all. Such Masses are called private Masses.


#4

The term “Private Mass” is to be avoided. Such Masses are properly called “Mass without the people” *(sine populo).

*When I was staying at the St. Paul Seminary in Ottawa, at least one priest who lived there celebrated a private Mass (unadvertised, in a side chapel) each morning at 7 a.m. On some days it was ‘without the people’ but sometimes it was attended by a few of the people who were there for summer courses.


#5

As I’ve mentioned before, I come from a very VERY small parish.

Our priest wants at least 2 people in the church for daily mass. Don’t have a clue if it’s a rule/law or anything else, but that’s what my priest has told us.


#6

This is what canon law says:

Can. 906 Except for a just and reasonable cause, a priest is not to celebrate the eucharistic sacrifice without the participation of at least some member of the faithful.

The priests I know in the retirement home often opt to get up early, celebrate a Mass alone and then go on to their daily chores. The fact that they may want to celebrate a Mass that has been requested of them or for their own personal intention is considered ‘just cause’. I know another priest who, if no one shows up for daily Mass in his parish, simply opts not to celebrate it - a valid option since they are not required to celebrate Mass every day.


#7

Personally, I can’t imagine a day without Mass. Since I’m a priest, on days when I know no one will be present (my regular day off for instance), I will celebrate Mass without anyone present. I don’t like doing it, and I wish it did not need to be this way, but it is.

If I had a scheduled daily Mass, and no one came, I would still celebrate Mass. Yes, I celebrate Mass for the people, I also celebrate for my own good. I want to receive our Lord in the Eucharist as well!


closed #8

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