There is something that has been bothering me that has been going on at my parish. At the Mass I regularly attend, during the Agnus Dei or a little thereafter, a man about middle-aged always arrives at the church and tries to find a seat, and then he goes up for Holy Communion when it’s his time. Now, I don’t mean to cast judgements, but isn’t it forbidden or something to receive Holy Communion if you are just coming to Mass when the priest is distributing to the Extraordinary Ministers? I just find it disrespectful, but personal opinions/feelings aside…
You have raised a really important point.
I have always felt really bad about arriving late at Sunday Mass. It used to happen always because we attended as a family and others in the family always kept us late, no matter what. In the end, I decided to attend Mass on my own on Saturday evenings rather than arrive late on Sunday mornings. This is now what I do and I am there when Mass begins.
Here is what I know of late attendance at Mass
Obviously it is best to attend as much of the Mass as possible. It may be that this man has a legitimate reason for arriving when he does, especially if he is rather consitant about it. Anything from bus schedules to having to wait for a nurse or aide before he can leave the house. Pray for him and his intentions.
Is it possible that he in fact does arrive at the proper time but perhaps sits up in the choir loft and then comes down and finds a place to sit downstairs until he can receive, rather than just hovering around in the back or milling or butting into the line?
I’m picturing a person who is perhaps very shy, even socially phobic, who would have a difficult time being around people for the entire length of a Mass but who quietly stays ‘out of the way’.
I found the last part interesting as I see this all the time at the Daily Mass.
…It is true that Communion may be received outside of Mass, so Mass is not an essential prerequisite for receiving Communion. This would not, however, justify arriving just in time for Communion at a weekday Mass, as all of the rites for receiving Communion outside of Mass include a Liturgy of the Word and one should attend the entire rite.
At one parish where I sing in the choir, we are in the loft in the rear of the church, and nobody can really see us in there. I am the only one who goes to Communion when it is time. I always go up first in line so I can come back in a timely manner and sing. If you weren’t paying attention, you might think I just arrived at church and pushed my way to the front. I do often draw stares as I walk up and back…
I have to admit I have done this in the past. Not that it was my regular routine. When I worked on Saturday night (nightshift) I have been late leaving work and arrived right before communion. Maybe he is in a like situation.
I would respectfully ask you to let it go. Father is very likely aware of this occurrence. He is, after all, the only one with an excuse to face the back of the church
no it is not forbidden to come to Mass just in time to receive communion, or to come late. If this were a Sunday Mass it would not meet his obligation, and he would have to attend another complete Mass, but no, he is doing nothing objectively wrong.
You are absolutely correct.
Where does it say that he did not meet his obligation? I’m not suggesting that he did, but the Church has been silent on how late is late. So we can’t really say he didn’t nor that he did.
I’m not suggesting that he did, but the Church has been silent on how late is late.
Maybe we should use a tardy bell and issue detentions for those who sit down after the bell?
I was wondering what was the meaning of the bells that I hear every Sunday. Now I know they are “tardy” bells!
Or the latecomers would have to buy breakfast (or lunch or dinner, depending on the Mass time) for everybody. I think thats fair enough
Seriously, this has been discussed here before and the common consensus is that the Church doesn’t want to define how late is late for several reasons. If one was late through no fault of their own, the Church doesn’t want to deny that person the fulfilment of their obligation. And by defining the exact moment that we will be late, most people will then skip everything else before that making the early part of the Mass irrelevant for most. Also, outlining it in a document will start a legalism battle, and we already have enough of that.
I’ve heard of an area in the world (I believe it was a hispanic area, but that covers a lot of the world) where, after communion, the priests would go out in front of the church to make available the Holy Eucharist to those who did not have time to attend the mass.
Sacraments are a source of grace and are not to be denied without reason. :shrug:
Here’s a Q&A from “Ask an Apologist” about that.
At what point in Mass does a later arrival not fulfill the Mass obligation?
And, here is a Q&A from Catholic Exchange that applies.
I personally think that one should be at the entire Mass in order to fully take part in it, but I wouldn’t worry about someone else’s relationship with God and if they are taking part in Holy Communion worthily. If it’s a problem, the priest will notice surely and talk to them about it. It’s between them and Jesus. It’s hard not to notice things like this at church, I know…but try not to focus on this.
Great point. I’ve seen this in SE Asia as well, so it’s not just a Latin American thing.
Who I find perplexing are the people who habitually make a beeline out of door as soon as they’ve received Communion. And there have been several in every parish I’ve attended. They don’t even go back to their pew for a minute’s prayer. I think I’m going to have to accept there are simply not things in this world I’m meant to understand.
I’m not making any moral judgements here but can’t this send the wrong message about the Mass? Besides, there’s nothing wrong about saying the Mass outside, is there?
I agree. I don’t understand why don’t they at least want the Final Blessing to go with the communion.