Priest collapsing during Mass


#1

Say a priest is not feeling well but starts to say Mass. Then during then a little before the consecration he collapses. What usually happens? What is the proper procedure?

What should the congregation do?


#2

[quote="a83192, post:1, topic:322727"]
Say a priest is not feeling well but starts to say Mass. Then during then a little before the consecration he collapses. What usually happens? What is the proper procedure?

What should the congregation do?

[/quote]

Another priest is supposed to vest and immediately pick up where the fallen priest has left off.


#3

[quote="Tomster, post:2, topic:322727"]
Another priest is supposed to vest and immediately pick up where the fallen priest has left off.

[/quote]

Do you have a source for that? De defectibus (Pope St. Pius V) says:

  1. If before the Consecration the priest becomes seriously ill, or faints, or dies, the Mass is discontinued. If this happens after the consecration of the Body only and before the consecration of the Blood, or after both have been consecrated, the Mass is to be completed by another priest from the place where the first priest stopped, and in case of necessity even by a priest who is not fasting.

#4

[quote="Tomster, post:2, topic:322727"]
Another priest is supposed to vest and immediately pick up where the fallen priest has left off.

[/quote]

There are many parishes where there is not an additional priest. My priest was so ill this past weekend that this nearly happened. He could not even hold both hands up during the Eucharistic prayers, because he needed one to hold on to the altar. I was certain he was going to drop, but he made it through thanks be to God. What then, if there is not an additional priest to vest and pick up where the fallen priest has left off?


#5

[quote="Tomster, post:2, topic:322727"]
Another priest is supposed to vest and immediately pick up where the fallen priest has left off.

[/quote]

But that is not as easy you believe. Some parishes may not have multiple priests.


#6

[quote="Ad_Orientem, post:3, topic:322727"]
Do you have a source for that? De defectibus (Pope St. Pius V) says:

  1. If before the Consecration the priest becomes seriously ill, or faints, or dies, the Mass is discontinued. If this happens after the consecration of the Body only and before the consecration of the Blood, or after both have been consecrated, the Mass is to be completed by another priest from the place where the first priest stopped, and in case of necessity even by a priest who is not fasting.

[/quote]

You are correct.


#7

[quote="Ophelia23, post:4, topic:322727"]
There are many parishes where there is not an additional priest. My priest was so ill this past weekend that this nearly happened. He could not even hold both hands up during the Eucharistic prayers, because he needed one to hold on to the altar. I was certain he was going to drop, but he made it through thanks be to God. What then, if there is not an additional priest to vest and pick up where the fallen priest has left off?

[/quote]

That does pose a major problem. A quick thought on my part would be to call the nearest parish, explain the situation and ask for help.


#8

[quote="Nicea325, post:5, topic:322727"]
But that is not as easy you believe. Some parishes may not have multiple priests.

[/quote]

I understand.


#9

This nearly happened to us a few times. Thankfully, our last Pastor was a strong-willed one :)

The Bishop told us that if this happens after the Consecration, and we can't get another Priest, then the Mass should be discontinued, and the server should then consume the consecrated host(s) the consecrated host(s) in the Tabernacle.

If it happens to happen during the consecration, one should adopt the theory that the Mass is invalid if the Consecration Prayer is not said correctly, by a Priest. Therefore, the host should be consumed by a server/deacon/layperson with caution that the hosts may/may not be validly consecrated, but remembering that the hosts are still blessed.

He also said that if there was such a great demand for Holy Communion distributed, then a Service of the Distribution of Holy Communion may be conducted by a layman afterwards - remembering that it should be treated as a seperate service from the Mass that was incomplete.

Howzat?


#10

[quote="Tomster, post:7, topic:322727"]
That does pose a major problem. A quick thought on my part would be to call the nearest parish, explain the situation and ask for help.

[/quote]

Or whatever the local church emergency line is - a lot of places around here have a "sacramental emergency" number that gets you whoever's on call, this should qualify!


#11

[quote="DeusSalusNostra, post:9, topic:322727"]
This nearly happened to us a few times. Thankfully, our last Pastor was a strong-willed one :)

The Bishop told us that if this happens after the Consecration, and we can't get another Priest, then the Mass should be discontinued, and the server should then consume the consecrated host(s) the consecrated host(s) in the Tabernacle.

If it happens to happen during the consecration, one should adopt the theory that the Mass is invalid if the Consecration Prayer is not said correctly, by a Priest. Therefore, the host should be consumed by a server/deacon/layperson with caution that the hosts may/may not be validly consecrated, but remembering that the hosts are still blessed.

He also said that if there was such a great demand for Holy Communion distributed, then a Service of the Distribution of Holy Communion may be conducted by a layman afterwards - remembering that it should be treated as a seperate service from the Mass that was incomplete.

Howzat?

[/quote]

Servers and lay persons should not be consuming anything as that is self communication and is not allowed. If there is a deacon present, they could distribute the host; but it would seem the better choice to simply repose it.

Self communication would be reaching into the ciborium and taking a host; it would also be considered self communication to receive the host in hand, approach the chalice, and self-instinct; it would also be self communication to go to the altar and take the cup.

I will assume the bishop's recommendation was in line with the rule against self-communication and the matter was misunderstood.


#12

What should be done if the priest…

Call 911.

Then worry about sorting the rest of it out.


#13

[quote="a83192, post:1, topic:322727"]
Say a priest is not feeling well but starts to say Mass. Then during then a little before the consecration he collapses. What usually happens? What is the proper procedure?

What should the congregation do?

[/quote]

Call an ambulance (9-1-1) and make sure he is properly taken care of.

The Sacristan will know who to call and what to do about finishing the Mass; it is not up to lay people to "wing it" or do their own thing.


#14

[quote="otjm, post:12, topic:322727"]
What should be done if the priest...

Call 911.

Then worry about sorting the rest of it out.

[/quote]

Exactly.


#15

[quote="jmcrae, post:13, topic:322727"]
Call an ambulance (9-1-1) and make sure he is properly taken care of.

The Sacristan will know who to call and what to do about finishing the Mass; it is not up to lay people to "wing it" or do their own thing.

[/quote]

Uh oh.... we are out of luck. We have no other priest, no deacon, no altar servers and and no sacristan unless you mean the usher who sets out the altar, does the collection basket, etc. At least half of the time, the priest has to set up his own altar before Mass begins as there is absolutely no one there to do this.

When our priest is ill, we have a communion service. There are no nearby parishes to call to help out. So if our priest were to take ill in the middle of Mass, we'd just have to put the unconsecrated hosts back in the vestry, leave any consecrated hosts in the tabernacle, wait for the paramedics and then turn off the lights and lock up.


#16

[quote="sojo, post:15, topic:322727"]
Uh oh.... we are out of luck. We have no other priest, no deacon, no altar servers and and no sacristan unless you mean the usher who sets out the altar, does the collection basket, etc. At least half of the time, the priest has to set up his own altar before Mass begins as there is absolutely no one there to do this.

When our priest is ill, we have a communion service. There are no nearby parishes to call to help out. So if our priest were to take ill in the middle of Mass, we'd just have to put the unconsecrated hosts back in the vestry, leave any consecrated hosts in the tabernacle, wait for the paramedics and then turn off the lights and lock up.

[/quote]

And call the Bishop's office to let him know that his priest is away sick ... :-)


#17

What about homilies so dry that people in the Congregation collapse!!!

I REALLY think priests should pay a lot of attention to their homilies. :(

For example, I like the homilies in the collection 'New Insights on the Gospels'. Take a look at some at heralds.ca/newinsights/

Now that is homiletics! Something that is moving, full of substance, and makes a difference in my life!:):):)


#18

[quote="jmcrae, post:16, topic:322727"]
And call the Bishop's office to let him know that his priest is away sick ... :-)

[/quote]

Oh gosh - that's a very good point! I wonder if any of us would have even thought to do that? Well, if one gal I know who works a few hours a week as secretary (she's the only paid staff we have and its only for a few hours a week) heard, she probably would have thought of that. That's a big OH DUH for us, for sure.


#19

[quote="otjm, post:11, topic:322727"]
Servers and lay persons should not be consuming anything as that is self communication and is not allowed. If there is a deacon present, they could distribute the host; but it would seem the better choice to simply repose it.

Self communication would be reaching into the ciborium and taking a host; it would also be considered self communication to receive the host in hand, approach the chalice, and self-instinct; it would also be self communication to go to the altar and take the cup.

I will assume the bishop's recommendation was in line with the rule against self-communication and the matter was misunderstood.

[/quote]

This Seperate Service I was referring to is called a Service for the Distribution of Holy Communion, which may be conducted by a trained layperson, if a Priest is not present. Yes, it is a profanation for Holy Communion to be touched by unconsecrated persons, but it is the Bishop's Orders. Thankfully though, whenever our Priest is unexpectedly absent, and thus we are without a Celebration of Holy Mass, we chose to recite the Liturgy of the Hours in such cases.

Self-communication is allowed for the person conducting this Service. The only person that is really qualified to preside over such a service would be an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.


#20

[quote="Andrew_Joseph_M, post:17, topic:322727"]
What about homilies so dry that people in the Congregation collapse!!!

I REALLY think priests should pay a lot of attention to their homilies. :(

For example, I like the homilies in the collection 'New Insights on the Gospels'. Take a look at some at heralds.ca/newinsights/

Now that is homiletics! Something that is moving, full of substance, and makes a difference in my life!:):):)

[/quote]

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSVfaGIPAUWxH9axwCQ8AvxVNnlTUK5RaH5oTS-DiRVqwOzxPLjcw

Could there be a better homily than this? Christ coming to us, physically, so we can eat him?

The Eucharist is what's really life-changing: changing you into a monstrance, impregnating you with the life of Christ, and the love of Christ, and the heart of Christ.

This is why we need more priests. This is why I'd like to be one.


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