Service of Word & Communion


#1

I've been looking at the weekly newsletter of a local parish. This week they're having one weekday Mass. For the remainder of the week they're having Service of Word and Communion.

My question is what is the Church's current discipline regarding this type of service? To emphasise: I'm not asking do you agree with these services or what alternatives are there, such as Liturgy of the Hours?

I'm 99.9% certain the Church's current discipline is that a Liturgy of the Word Service is permitted as a mid-week service. What is the current discipline regarding Communion at these services? Citing any official sources would be greatly welcomed.


#2

From the 2004 Instructiion Redemptionis Sacramentum, at vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20040423_redemptionis-sacramentum_en.html :

"[166.] Likewise, especially if Holy Communion is distributed during such celebrations, the diocesan Bishop, to whose exclusive competence this matter pertains, must not easily grant permission for such celebrations to be held on weekdays, especially in places where it was possible or would be possible to have the celebration of Mass on the preceding or the following Sunday. Priests are therefore earnestly requested to celebrate Mass daily for the people in one of the churches entrusted to their care."

Obviously "must not easily grant permission" does not mean "must never grant permission".

This is referring to a Communion service with a lay minister distributing Communion.

The official liturgical book is Holy Communion and the Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass. It has:

"16. Communion may be given outside Mass on any day and at any hour." It then has restrictions for Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

This book has:
"17. It belongs first of all to the priest and the deacon to minister holy communion to the faithful who ask to receive it. ...
It also belongs to an acolyte who has been properly instituted to give communion as a special minister ...
The local Ordinary may give other special ministers the faculty to give communion whenever it seems necessary for the pastoral benefit of the faithful and no priest, deacon, or acolyte is available."


#3

[quote="John_Lilburne, post:2, topic:336779"]
From the 2004 Instructiion Redemptionis Sacramentum, at vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20040423_redemptionis-sacramentum_en.html :

"[166.] Likewise, especially if Holy Communion is distributed during such celebrations, the diocesan Bishop, to whose exclusive competence this matter pertains, must not easily grant permission for such celebrations to be held on weekdays, especially in places where it was possible or would be possible to have the celebration of Mass on the preceding or the following Sunday. Priests are therefore earnestly requested to celebrate Mass daily for the people in one of the churches entrusted to their care."

Obviously "must not easily grant permission" does not mean "must never grant permission".

This is referring to a Communion service with a lay minister distributing Communion.

The official liturgical book is Holy Communion and the Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass. It has:

"16. Communion may be given outside Mass on any day and at any hour." It then has restrictions for Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

This book has:
"17. It belongs first of all to the priest and the deacon to minister holy communion to the faithful who ask to receive it. ...
It also belongs to an acolyte who has been properly instituted to give communion as a special minister ...
The local Ordinary may give other special ministers the faculty to give communion whenever it seems necessary for the pastoral benefit of the faithful and no priest, deacon, or acolyte is available."

[/quote]

The parish has regular Mass every Sunday.

There is no obligation to receive Holy Communion other than the annual Easter Duty.

These services could be held but there's no need for Holy Comminion.


#4

[quote="Bergon, post:3, topic:336779"]
The parish has regular Mass every Sunday.

There is no obligation to receive Holy Communion other than the annual Easter Duty.

These services could be held but there's no need for Holy Comminion.

[/quote]

No, there is no obligation to receive Communion other than the Easter duty, but that is not good for people spiritually, and people need to be viewing Holy Communion as more than an "obligation". It is their spiritual food. If there are no Sunday Masses available, there is no reason people should not have access to Holy Communion through a Communion Service. The spiritual welfare of people is always important, that is why the Church provides for such services.


#5

[quote="CB_Catholic, post:4, topic:336779"]
No, there is no obligation to receive Communion other than the Easter duty, but that is not good for people spiritually, and people need to be viewing Holy Communion as more than an "obligation". It is their spiritual food. If there are no Sunday Masses available, there is no reason people should not have access to Holy Communion through a Communion Service. The spiritual welfare of people is always important, that is why the Church provides for such services.

[/quote]

Unfortunately, what I've seen happen is that if you do that too often people get to the point that they see Mass as strictly to provide them with Communion. They don't care if there is no Mass as long as there are enough Hosts in the Tabernacle for them to receive. Some even express the wish to have a Celebration of the Word with Communion all the time because it's better than Mass. :eek:

I've seen this in my own parish where we have these celebrations only on Sundays when Fr. needs to be away and can't get a replacement, so maybe 3 or 4 times a year.


#6

[quote="CB_Catholic, post:4, topic:336779"]
No, there is no obligation to receive Communion other than the Easter duty, but that is not good for people spiritually, and people need to be viewing Holy Communion as more than an "obligation". It is their spiritual food. If there are no Sunday Masses available, there is no reason people should not have access to Holy Communion through a Communion Service. The spiritual welfare of people is always important, that is why the Church provides for such services.

[/quote]

I said there's no obligation to receive Holy Communion daily to re-inforce the point that daily Communion Services conducted by EMHCs aren't necessary. In that I'm citing the Church's discipline and not my personal opinion.

I'm not arguing against the spiritual value of frequent communion.

The point in question is not about Sundays. The parish to which I referred has two Masses celebrated every Sunday. Consequently, the parishioners are not denied Mass or communion on Sunday. The issue at hand is Liturgy of the Word services on weekdays with Holy Communion.


#7

[quote="Phemie, post:5, topic:336779"]
Unfortunately, what I've seen happen is that if you do that too often people get to the point that they see Mass as strictly to provide them with Communion. They don't care if there is no Mass as long as there are enough Hosts in the Tabernacle for them to receive. Some even express the wish to have a Celebration of the Word with Communion all the time because it's better than Mass. :eek:

I've seen this in my own parish where we have these celebrations only on Sundays when Fr. needs to be away and can't get a replacement, so maybe 3 or 4 times a year.

[/quote]

I don't think we should be denying Communion to people because some MIGHT develop an attitude like you say. That is between them and God. I cannot imagine someone saying "We have no priest available for Sunday Mass, but we should not hold a Communion Service because some people might get the idea Mass is strictly to receive Communion." Too bad, everybody else will have to be denied Communion because some people might have the wrong attitude.

That does not even make sense. We have no control over what people think, and don't need to be policing other people's possible attitudes.


#8

[quote="Bergon, post:6, topic:336779"]
I said there's no obligation to receive Holy Communion daily to re-inforce the point that daily Communion Services conducted by EMHCs aren't necessary. In that I'm citing the Church's discipline and not my personal opinion.

I'm not arguing against the spiritual value of frequent communion.

The point in question is not about Sundays. The parish to which I referred has two Masses celebrated every Sunday. Consequently, the parishioners are not denied Mass or communion on Sunday. The issue at hand is Liturgy of the Word services on weekdays with Holy Communion.

[/quote]

Yes, you are correct, you were talking about daily services, my bad. I apologize. However, while daily services may be too much, why should people be denied an opportunity to receive Communion more than just once a week, if the Bishop permits it. Just because it is not necessary, does not mean that it is not good.


#9

[quote="Bergon, post:6, topic:336779"]

The issue at hand is Liturgy of the Word services on weekdays with Holy Communion.

[/quote]

We had a few of these this summer while our pastor was on vacation. The priest who was filling in was here every Sunday, but couldn't make every weekday.

I see no problem with having them on such occasions. Especially when, as in our case, they are conducted by deacons.


#10

[quote="CB_Catholic, post:7, topic:336779"]
I don't think we should be denying Communion to people because some MIGHT develop an attitude like you say. That is between them and God. I cannot imagine someone saying "We have no priest available for Sunday Mass, but we should not hold a Communion Service because some people might get the idea Mass is strictly to receive Communion." Too bad, everybody else will have to be denied Communion because some people might have the wrong attitude.

That does not even make sense. We have no control over what people think, and don't need to be policing other people's possible attitudes.

[/quote]

Again, the OP is talking about having these daily. It's one thing to have it happen on Sunday, and even occasionally on a weekday, but daily?? It certainly flies in the face of Redemptionis Sacramentum.


#11

[quote="CB_Catholic, post:8, topic:336779"]
Yes, you are correct, you were talking about daily services, my bad. I apologize. However, while daily services may be too much, why should people be denied an opportunity to receive Communion more than just once a week, if the Bishop permits it. Just because it is not necessary, does not mean that it is not good.

[/quote]

I'm not taking a personal issue on this. It's the Church that says weekday Holy Communions outside Mass shouldn't be an everyday occurrence. There's already been suitable Church documents cited in the thread so I'm not going to repeat them.


#12

[quote="Phemie, post:10, topic:336779"]
Again, the OP is talking about having these daily. It's one thing to have it happen on Sunday, and even occasionally on a weekday, but daily?? It certainly flies in the face of Redemptionis Sacramentum.

[/quote]

Yes, but you were also talking about your parish, when they have them on Sundays when your priest is away, and I addressed that. I mentioned "on Sundays" because of that. I cannot imagine why a Communion Service on Sundays should be denied to people because some might have the wrong attitude.


#13

usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/the-mass/frequently-asked-questions/weekday-celebrations-in-the-absence-of-a-priest.cfm


#14

[quote="JM3, post:13, topic:336779"]
usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/the-mass/frequently-asked-questions/weekday-celebrations-in-the-absence-of-a-priest.cfm

[/quote]

Do you imply weekday Liturgies of the Word with Communion are in accordance with the Church's discipline or against?


#15

[quote="Bergon, post:14, topic:336779"]
Do you imply weekday Liturgies of the Word with Communion are in accordance with the Church's discipline or against?

[/quote]

5.The proper ritual for the Liturgy of the Word with Distribution of Holy Communion is found in Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass. The specialized provisions of Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest are not appropriate to weekday celebrations.

Would the Church publish a "proper ritual" if it is against Church discipline?


#16

[quote="JM3, post:15, topic:336779"]
Would the Church publish a "proper ritual" if it is against Church discipline?

[/quote]

There is a ritual because Communion is offered in places away from church on weekdays: nursing homes, hospitals, prisons, etc.

But it's clear from Redemptionis Sacramentum that the church does not envision that ritual used in a parish church on a daily basis and RS also makes clear why it's not such a good idea.


#17

[quote="JM3, post:15, topic:336779"]
Would the Church publish a "proper ritual" if it is against Church discipline?

[/quote]

The Holy See has indeed published a ritual book: Roman Ritual - Holy Communion and the Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass. That is different from saying that every use some make of it is appropriate. The main purpose of the Liturgy of the Word service with Holy Communion was for use on Sundays in parishes that lack a priest for a period of time.


#18

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.