Priest left Mass immediately after saying homily

Mass today was said by our parish priest, but he allowed another priest who is visiting the parish to read the gospel and say the homily. However, what I found slightly unusual, was that the visiting priest left the Mass immediately after finishing the homily, and didn’t actually stay for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. (Or at least, I’m pretty sure that’s what he did; he went into a side door off the sanctuary and never came back out - I believe the side door leads into the sacristy, and in turn there is a back door to the sacristy leading out of the church.)

Is that allowed? What do the rules say? (Not trying to criticise either priest, just genuinely interested.)

Could be any reason. Called away, taken unwell… I would not even ave noticed and certainly not noted as you have… The Mass was honoured.

This happens sometimes with our deacons. The multiple weekend Masses are shared among two priests, but one deacon will preach at all the Masses on a given weekend. The deacon will be on the altar for several entire Masses, but occasionally will just come up to do the Gospel and homily at one or two of the Masses. I have also seen visiting missionaries come up to do just the homily / appeal, then leave and not assist at every Mass for the entire weekend.

There is a limit in the law to how many Masses may be said by a priest in one day, and this includes concelebration. Very often a mission priest might celebrate one or two Masses but still preach all of them, and so the arrangement you mention would occur.


I think something like this happens at an FSSP chapel near me. There is one priest at the introit, but around the time for a homily, another priest comes from the sacristy area and says the homily, and then leaves. During this time, there is also confessions being heard, which makes me think that the priest who gave the homily was hearing confessions the whole time, and stopped for the homily.

I’m pretty sure your situation was also fine

This is not unheard of, particularly in the older, more traditional form of the Mass.

In the newer form, I find this practice a lot less goofy than concelebration.

That is basically what I was thinking. We had a visiting priest that gave the homily at the anticipatory mass and all 5 masses Sundays a few weeks ago. At a morning mass he was vested in chasuble and con-celebrated. For the last Sunday evening mass, he was wearing a cassock and surplice and sat in choir before giving the homily. After the homily he returned to the sacristy.

He could have been called to an emergency. This happened when a parochial vicar that we had a few years ago mother died.

The HOMILIST can leave after the homily, but
not the CELEBRANT of the mass, there is
a difference. In our parish if we have two priests
doing the mass, the homilist usually exits right
after the homily.

Some years ago our priest left shortly after the homily, but he had a good excuse - he passed out in the vestibule. We finished with a communion service as there was no other priest.

He was OK after resting a while, but knowing he was going to pass out he didn’t want to do that in front of the entire congregation.

Many years ago a priest friend told me of a mass he wasn’t even able to start. He walked up the aisle, genuflected - and his knee locked. Fortunately there was another priest, so the ushers helped him out & the other priest came over & said mass. Fr. said he was embarrassed at the time & it took a while for him to see the funny side of it.

Of course, this has nothing to do with the OP, but there are plenty of valid reasons for either the homilist or presiding priest to leave.

Wait…you find concelebration goofy? Why?

Yup, sure do, Father.

Keep in mind that the reasons I find it goofy are based on my observations of the typical concelebrated Masses I’ve seen in typical parishes. Some occasions may make sense to concelebrate (ordinations and chrism masses come to mind).

Some reasons:

  1. It’s just clunky and awkward. The prayers are usually divided up and typically the priests aren’t quite sure when to stop/start. Nobody ever seems comfortable doing it.

  2. There’s usually that introduction of Fr. So-and-so “joining us this morning from ______.” Then the obligatory applause to welcome him. This makes the Mass even more priest-focused than the usual versus populum arrangement.

  3. If there are extra priests floating around, why not open up the confessional(s) instead of having 2+ priests saying the same Mass? Surely there is someone in need. (This is is my biggest beef with concelebration.)

  4. In over-crowded parishes, why not have another Mass simultaneously in the chapel or other suitable space?

  5. The extra priest(s) look like an accessory or decoration most of the time.

Yes, I know Holy Mother Church allows it. Still is goofy and awkward to me. :shrug:

I think that as long as the rubrics are followed, the concelebrated Mass is still reverent. EWTN Daily Mass is a good example

This is okay, although by the sound of it, it could have been done better (then again these things don’t happen often in most places, so it becomes hard to ‘practice’).

A priest can attend Mass without celebrating Mass. When attending though, he still attends as a priest. General Instructions of the Roman Missal state:

Priests who are present at a Eucharistic Celebration, unless excused for a good reason, should as a rule exercise the office proper to their Order and thus take part as concelebrants, wearing the sacred vestments. Otherwise, they wear their proper choir dress or a surplice over a cassock.

If a priest is present in “choir dress,” as the document says, he still ought to distribute Holy Communion before an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion assists.

Even if there was a variance in dress, this is effectively what the homilist at this Mass was doing. It is allowed.

For further reading, I recommend Fr. Thomas Kocik’s “Preaching Through the Choir: The Merits of Assisting in Mass in Choro,” found here.

If the priest left immediately after the homily, then obviously he is not present to distribute Holy Communion.

Well, he can obviously come back, can he not?

At my parish, 1-2 priests man the confessionals while 1 says mass. If one of the priests in the confessional is giving the homily, he leaves the confessional to do so, returns when he is done, and may then leave the confessional 15 minutes later to help distribute communion.

I just can’t wrap my head around having confession during Holy Mass.
People have said this before.
I am so glad we don’t do this.

I know - I’ve never understood it either. To me, it’s on par with saying the rosary during Mass. Of course, if our priest wanted to hear confessions during Mass he’d have to bi-locate - he’s our only priest! :smiley:

Tho he may wish he could bi-locate. Between 3 parishes he says 5 Masses every weekend.

Well if I can inquire… Why?

I understand it’s certainly not preferable, but it’s certainly a good example of meeting people where they’re at. If it’s the only time a person can get to church, I think it’s a wonderful testament of mercy to have it available to them.

Then how can he distribute Communion if he is in the confessional? :shrug:

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