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Recently a friend went to Mass in her ‘regular’ parish (diocesean) and was surprised to see that her pastor remained in the church lobby while (unannounced) another priest came forward. He introduced himself as “First name, last name” (no title of "father’) and later during the homily said he was a Jesuit priest who taught at Such-and-Such College.

She was puzzled because the previous week there had been no mention of any ‘visiting’ priest (and in this parish there is ALWAYS an announcment if the Mass is going to be said by anyone other than Father), and also because her pastor did not concelebrate and didn’t even come into church. She could see him sitting outside in the lobby of the church through the whole Mass.

So she asked if the pastor of a parish could just ‘offer an opportunity’ for any priest to say Sunday Mass, or if there were guidelines and it would have to go through the diocese. I didn’t know the answer. There probably isn’t anything wrong about it but she is certainly puzzled that it was never mentioned the previous week, nor was it on the church web site or bulletin, and every other time that another priest has spoken (whether it has been while her pastor is away or whether it has been through things like having a priest come through say from the missions) it has **always **been mentioned, both verbally and written, and this time it was not.

She also mentioned that this priest added a few words (for 'emphasis), only used one hand to raise the host and then the same one hand to raise the chalice at the consecration, and ‘waltzed down the aisles’ (her words) through the whole homily, and of course this ‘stood out’ because her usual pastor doesn’t do anything like that. . .‘different’, she said, but nothing that caused her to worry about validity. She is just. . .puzzled.

So, any ideas why there was such a difference from the usual policy on this? The Jesuit priest actually moved there only a year ago and she’s never heard of him offering Mass before or anywhere at the college itself, but then again, that doesn’t really mean anything necessarily is wrong.

I recall Michelle Arnold (AAA) writing, somewhat recently, that the proper way to introduce yourself is without a title, and then it is up to others to honour you with a title. It seemed strange to me, but perhaps they are of the same thinking.

So she asked if the pastor of a parish could just ‘offer an opportunity’ for any priest to say Sunday Mass, or if there were guidelines and it would have to go through the diocese.

The only policy is permission from the pastor, or in the case of concelebrating, permission from the celebrant.

She also mentioned that this priest added a few words (for 'emphasis), only used one hand to raise the host and then the same one hand to raise the chalice at the consecration, and ‘waltzed down the aisles’ (her words) through the whole homily.

Adding to the prayers of the Mass is illicit, but it is good that your friend could see that validity was not affected. It may be that this priest is not good with his other hand, and so he preferred one hand. I am not sure about the priest’s positioning during his homily.

It might be the case that this parish’s policy is to let the congregation know if the pastor is going to be away, and not necessarily that another priest is going to be saying Mass. :shrug: :slight_smile:

Perhaps he was an old friend of the pastor who just showed up unexpectedly to visit for the weekend sometime after the bulletin was printed.

Many Jesuits take a more casual attitude toward the title, “Father.” I’ve heard a number of them use their first and last names with no title.

Preaching from the center aisle is popular with priests who want to be inclusive and close to the people, especially those in the back of the church. Not saying it’s right or wrong, but I have talked with priests who do it, and that’s the reason they give.

That is a bit strange and I’m curious to know what your friend finds out.

That was the oddest thing to me too. He should have at least come to distribute Communion.

It’s not really that strange. At our university catholic chapel, we have 4 priest who alternate weekend Masses. We often see the youngest priest simply attending a Mass he’s not celebrating (there’s 4 Masses on the weekend, so he probably already celebrated/concelebrated one of those).

The image of a priest ‘waltzing’ down the aisle made me chuckle. Our three parish priests are all within a few years of 70. No waltzing is involved.

Our former Archbishop did require that our pastor submit the names of visiting priests who assist at our parish and that includes military chaplains as well as priests friends who have visited and assisted while they were “on vacation”. Sometimes these things are known well in advance. But in the case where there has not been much notice of the arrival of a visiting priest, I suppose the pastor could make a phone call and get permission rather quickly.

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