Are priests allowed to privatelyoffer the Eucharist in his home?
I found this on Father Z’s blog from a year or so ago (and he should know):
Yes, it is both valid and licit.
It is far better, strongly preferred, that a priest have someone else there, to serve and/or make responses.
The reasons for this are two-fold. First, every Mass is an act for the whole Church. It is good to have others there. Second, priests will do a better job of saying Mass when others are there. It is certainly easier with a server and someone to respond. However, never imagine that another person has to be there for validity of the Mass. Ten thousand lay people at a Mass contribute nothing to the priest’s ability to say Mass and consecrate the Eucharist validly.
Also, a priest is never really alone when saying Mass.
There is an old phrase, “Father said Mass alone today, in the company of all the choirs of angels.”
The Church Militant is not the only dimension of the Church that counts.
The norms covering this state that priests should not say Mass alone “except for a just and reasonable cause” (GIRM 254). The fact that the priest wants to or needs to say Mass is considered a good enough reason to say Mass alone. If memory serves, this is clarified also in the Directory for Priests. If it is a choice between saying Mass alone or not saying Mass at all, the obvious choice is to say Mass.
The priest performs a magnificent work of mercy when he says Holy Mass for an intention, when he prays for the living and the dead.
If we really believe what the Church says about Holy Mass, how can we think for a second that the priest should not say Mass every day, alone or not? Save The Liturgy – Save The World, right? Priests are not obliged to say Mass every day… but…
I would add the caveat that just because the priest is alone, that doesn’t mean that he is not bound to follow the proper rubrics in which ever Missal he uses, and follow the calendar. Mass isn’t the priest’s private property. He must use vessels and vestments and do it reasonably and right. Also, he should be sure that he observes decorum as to where he celebrates Mass. This requires conviction and discipline.
Must the priest’s bishop know if he is celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? I think the Catechism says something that bishops must know of the priest’s sacraments for them to be valid. I might be wrong, but it says something about being in communion with his bishop.
The priest is, by default, in communion with the Bishop. “Private” Masses are said in homes all the time. If you would like, you can always request that a Mass be said in your home.
I was told (by a priest that did this sort of thing) that there must be 2 or more present (the priest and at least 1 other person)… and I *think *he added except for extenuating circumstances- though I don’t recall that part as clearly for some reason.
What’s the problem here? Maybe if you were more specific people could be more helpful.
I don’t imagine it happens too often. If a diosecean priest wants to celebrate Mass, he can go next door to the church. Priests in various orders also have a community that they live or work with, so a priest would offer his Mass with this group.
What situation brought this question to mind?
Imagine a priest who is heading out on a long distance flight that leaves at 6 a.m. He wants to celebrate Mass before he goes but that would mean saying it at 3 or 4 a.m.
Or perhaps it is a secular holiday (quite often one sees local parish churches ‘closed’ for July 4, for example, with ‘no Mass scheduled today’) --but the priest would like to offer a Mass.
Or perhaps he wishes to say the old form (TLM) but there is not much of a movement in his parish for such a Mass. He wants to get in ‘practice’ for when people might ask for it. . .
In the situation of a secular holiday, I would hope that a priest with a parish would advertise that he plans to say Mass and allow people to come. Even if it isn’t very many, he should give his parishioners the opportunity.
In the circumstances of the extraordinary form, I can see running through it a few times. I don’t know all the rubrics, but I believe it requires a server, so he’d have to have someone to pratice with. I am sure someone with greater knowledge of the TLM can answer that for us.
In the case of the priest I know of, he is retired and lives in a very remote and rugged part of the country where there simply are no churches, let alone “other” churches. If he’s snowed in, say; or has invited people for a retreat or whatever, then Mass may be and is said.
But I reiterate that private Mass may be held in parishioners’ homes.