Should priests distribute Communion at Mass?


#1

My parish does not have a priest giving out Communion at Communion time. Only the extraordinary ministers of holy Communion distribute Communion. The priest at my parish is old, so they give him the luxury of sitting down, and only doing the bare minimum a priest is required to do in order for a Mass to still be a Mass. My question is, is it okay for a church to not even give the parishioners the option of recieving Communion from a priest, a vicar of Christ?


#2

Ordinarily speaking, a priest should be distributing Communion and extraordinary ministers of holy Communion (EHC) should assist only as needed. If other priests or deacons are present, they should also distribute Communion, thus lessening the need for EHCs. From Redemptionis Sacramentum:

The faithful should normally receive sacramental Communion of the Eucharist during Mass itself, at the moment laid down by the rite of celebration, that is to say, just after the priest celebrant’s Communion. It is the priest celebrant’s responsibility to minister Communion, perhaps assisted by other priests or deacons; and he should not resume the Mass until after the Communion of the faithful is concluded. Only when there is a necessity may extraordinary ministers assist the priest celebrant in accordance with the norm of law (RS 88, emphasis added).

That said, if your parish priest’s ability to stand for extended time periods is limited by personal infirmity, and if another priest or deacon is not present to assist in distributing Communion, the EHCs may distribute Communion for the infirm priest. In a case such as this, a proper response by the congregation might be gratitude that the priest is doing the best he can to offer Mass instead of delegating a deacon or layperson to preside at a Communion service.


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