SPLIT: Women leading communion services

Benedictgal do you think that it is appropriate for a women to fill in with a communion service when suddenly the priest is unavailable to celebrate the daily Mass? The Vatican clearly says that it should not be done. What about if this women were to say that she did it for pastoral care because a lot of people were already there for Mass. Would that still go against what the Vatican clearly stated? Does she have more authority than a bishop, a priest or even a seminarian?

[quote="Cristiano, post:1, topic:185344"]
Benedictgal do you think that it is appropriate for a women to fill in with a communion service when suddenly the priest is unavailable to celebrate the daily Mass? The Vatican clearly says that it should not be done. What about if this women were to say that she did it for pastoral care because a lot of people were already there for Mass. Would that still go against what the Vatican clearly stated? Does she have more authority than a bishop, a priest or even a seminarian?

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The communion services should not necessarily be happening at Daily Mass. Redemptionis Sacramentum states that:

[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.

Some years ago, I was pressed into doing this and it was not a good thing to do. Although I followed the SCAP, it was not a Sunday and it should not have been done. I told my parochial vicar what had happened and he told me to not let anyone press me into doing this again. To be quite frank with you, I felt like Aaron after Moses called him out for making the golden calf. I learned my lesson the hard way. A lot of lessons are learned through experience, some good, some very painful. That is why I have always made it a rule to consult everything that the Church has authoritatively promulgated before making a decision on anything.

Interesrtingly enough, we have stopped these "services" at my parish. Others have also stopped it. Rather than have one of these "Communion services" it is better to do the LOTH. But, in our case, the daily Masses are simply cancelled.

So, to answer your question, the laity do not have the right to impose pastoral anything. Nonetheless, even when clergy employ pastoral reasons, these should be done judiciously and not become a regular occurance.

aaa

"Communion services" begain in places that did not have a priest available every Sunday. They have since grown into this regular daily practice because we often feel that we 'deserve' things that we do not. So many people (men, women, old, young, etc.) saw the "Sunday service in the absence of a priest" as a way to continue daily Mass even when the priest was away at a conference or on a well-deserved few days off instead of a gift the Church gave those people starving to receive Our Lord when they were sharing a priest with 2 or 3 other parishes.

In the vast majority of the US, there is no need for "communion services" no matter who leads them.

This is an interesting topic. I'd like to jump in.

In my city, most priests have Monday as their day off. Yes, I know that a priest is always a priest, but we don't expect them to work full days 7 days a week. Also in my city, most parishes have only one priest. Only the large parishes have two or more priests.

Yet, many folks (like me) are used to being able to receive Holy Communion at Mass (preferably) every weekday. So, in my area, there are Communion services instead of Masses on Mondays, the day the priests have as their day of rest.

So, do we simply not have Mass or Communion Service on Mondays?

As a whiney-side note, when I was in RCIA I had already been a regular at weekday Masses and cautioned my fellow RCIA-classmates to avoid going to Mass on Mondays because it usually wasn't Mass, but a Communion service. They all looked at me like I was from Mars: "Who would bother going to church on a weekday?"

[quote="tinalewis, post:5, topic:185344"]
This is an interesting topic. I'd like to jump in.

In my city, most priests have Monday as their day off. Yes, I know that a priest is always a priest, but we don't expect them to work full days 7 days a week. Also in my city, most parishes have only one priest. Only the large parishes have two or more priests.

Yet, many folks (like me) are used to being able to receive Holy Communion at Mass (preferably) every weekday. So, in my area, there are Communion services instead of Masses on Mondays, the day the priests have as their day of rest.

So, do we simply not have Mass or Communion Service on Mondays?

As a whiney-side note, when I was in RCIA I had already been a regular at weekday Masses and cautioned my fellow RCIA-classmates to avoid going to Mass on Mondays because it usually wasn't Mass, but a Communion service. They all looked at me like I was from Mars: "Who would bother going to church on a weekday?"

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Do all of the priests in your diocese take Monday off? That is rather strange. Neither my pastor nor my parochial vicar take the same day off. This almost always ensures that there is a priest available. Now, when one is on vacation or is away from the parish, they always make sure to have a priest cover for them. What my parish does when neither the pastor not the parochial vicar are available is to have a visiting priest come and celebrate Mass. These usually come from other parishes or from the local monastery.

The best practice is to not have a Communion Service on Mondays. Please see the citation that I gave from Redemptionis Sacramentum. If the faithful do gather, they can certainly pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Or, in my case, I go to another parish where Mass is available.

Every parish, especially those with only one priest should have a plan of action of what to do if the priest does not show up for Mass for whatever reason (illness, miscommunication with a substitute or whatever). When you have a lot of people present for Mass and the priest doesn't show up it could be a problem. There is most likely no time to print copies of the prayers or there may not be enough LOTH books to go around so some other plan needs to be in place. It doesn't have to be a "Communion Service".

[quote="benedictgal, post:6, topic:185344"]
Do all of the priests in your diocese take Monday off? That is rather strange. Neither my pastor nor my parochial vicar take the same day off. This almost always ensures that there is a priest available. Now, when one is on vacation or is away from the parish, they always make sure to have a priest cover for them. What my parish does when neither the pastor not the parochial vicar are available is to have a visiting priest come and celebrate Mass. These usually come from other parishes or from the local monastery.

The best practice is to not have a Communion Service on Mondays. Please see the citation that I gave from Redemptionis Sacramentum. If the faithful do gather, they can certainly pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Or, in my case, I go to another parish where Mass is available.

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There are a LOT of parishes in Oregon with only one priest, with a resident priest who has passed the retirement age of 70 and simply can't do as much as he used to, or no priest at all except on Sundays...every Sunday if they're lucky, alternating Sundays otherwise. And yes, Monday seems by far to be the most popular day for pastors to take their day off. I think it must be the slowest day in parish offices, and so the day when they are the least likely to be missed.

In those places, having Communion Service in place of daily Mass is very common. Besides giving people in the parish the opportunity to be daily communicants, some of whom may do no driving except to their parish church and the local grocery, it is when the EMHC to the homebound, the nursing homes, and the hospitals are sent out. (Some of these are the elderly spouses of the homebound, so there is an overlap, too.) Ideally, there would be priests and deacons enough for that, but at present there aren't. I think that when these parishes with a quorum accustomed to having daily Mass lose their resident priest, the bishop tends to give permission for daily Communion Services. Right or wrong, I guess it is hard enough to tell them that they no longer have a priest. I don't know. I only know it is prevalent here.

But yes, the parishes with the luxury of two priests don't usually have Communion Services in place of daily Mass at all. The priests take different days off, anyway.

[quote="zab, post:7, topic:185344"]
Every parish, especially those with only one priest should have a plan of action of what to do if the priest does not show up for Mass for whatever reason (illness, miscommunication with a substitute or whatever). When you have a lot of people present for Mass and the priest doesn't show up it could be a problem. There is most likely no time to print copies of the prayers or there may not be enough LOTH books to go around so some other plan needs to be in place. It doesn't have to be a "Communion Service".

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If you don't have what you need for a Liturgy of the Hour you could have a simple Liturgy of the Word, ending with the Lord's Prayer and the Sign of Peace.

In my parish the priest has his day off on Monday and we simply have no liturgy that day. For that matter, even if Father is away for 10 days in a row, which is more frequent these days now that he's responsible for another parish that he has to reach by plane, we only have a Celebration of the Word with Communion on the Sundays he's away.

[quote="Phemie, post:9, topic:185344"]
If you don't have what you need for a Liturgy of the Hour you could have a simple Liturgy of the Word, ending with the Lord's Prayer and the Sign of Peace.

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Yes, and a designated lay person could even expose (and repose) the Blessed Sacrament. If a deacon is present, he could give benediction.

[quote="Phemie, post:9, topic:185344"]
If you don't have what you need for a Liturgy of the Hour you could have a simple Liturgy of the Word, ending with the Lord's Prayer and the Sign of Peace.

In my parish the priest has his day off on Monday and we simply have no liturgy that day. For that matter, even if Father is away for 10 days in a row, which is more frequent these days now that he's responsible for another parish that he has to reach by plane, we only have a Celebration of the Word with Communion on the Sundays he's away.

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I think that, in the absence of a priest Communion on Sunday only, is the preferred practice. however, many areas are slow in adopting it.

My diocese is huge and I don't have access to all the priests' schedules of their days off. There is one Redemptorist parish nearby where several religious priests live in community and alternate daily Mass. Another parish close by has one priest who is nearly 90 years young, and when he has health issues there are no weekday Masses and a substitute celebrates the Sunday Masses.

There are a few large suburban parishes with more than one priest and that offer Monday Mass, but it is difficult to drive for miles to daily Mass if (1) you're elderly like so many daily Mass adherents or (2) like me, you work ridiculous hours each week.

In my own geographical parish church (not where I'm a parishioner) there is one Mass on Sundays at 10:30 and that's it for the entire week. No other Sunday Masses, no weekday Masses.

The point here is that there is not an unlimited supply of priests in my diocese, and not just mine. We need to constantly encourage priestly vocations among our young men. I know some nice young men who might have discerned a vocation to the priesthood but were never nurtured towards it as an option. Now they're married or launched in their careers and often the window of opportunity has passed.

Perhaps that would be an idea for Lent: To spend time each week with young men with the goal of planting the seed and nurturing the idea of being a priest.

[quote="tinalewis, post:12, topic:185344"]
......In my own geographical parish church (not where I'm a parishioner) there is one Mass on Sundays at 10:30 and that's it for the entire week. No other Sunday Masses, no weekday Masses.

The point here is that there is not an unlimited supply of priests in my diocese, and not just mine. We need to constantly encourage priestly vocations among our young men.

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We have been praying for vocations for many years. The petition is always included in the prayers of the faithful and the service that we have on our pastor's day off is always offered for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Now, in this year of the priesthood, we have included a prayer for vocations to the priesthood that the entire congregation prays aloud every day following the prayers of the faithful.

Also, our young pastor has started a group for boys and a group for girls with the purpose of planting seeds for vocations. These are fun prayerful groups for boys and girls whether or not they end up in a religious vocation. Recently the girls had a mini retreat with a nun that was hear to speak about her vocation. The boys group served them lunch. I think the kids are enjoying these groups.

[quote="tinalewis, post:12, topic:185344"]
The point here is that there is not an unlimited supply of priests in my diocese, and not just mine. We need to constantly encourage priestly vocations among our young men. I know some nice young men who might have discerned a vocation to the priesthood but were never nurtured towards it as an option. Now they're married or launched in their careers and often the window of opportunity has passed.

Perhaps that would be an idea for Lent: To spend time each week with young men with the goal of planting the seed and nurturing the idea of being a priest.

[/quote]

Excellent idea! We should also remember that priests don't always come just from young men. Are own newly ordained priest had a thriving career in the 'dot com' boom before he heard the call. He's not terrificly old (40s), but older than some one would be if they went straight from college to seminary.

[quote="tinalewis, post:5, topic:185344"]
This is an interesting topic. I'd like to jump in.

In my city, most priests have Monday as their day off. Yes, I know that a priest is always a priest, but we don't expect them to work full days 7 days a week. Also in my city, most parishes have only one priest. Only the large parishes have two or more priests.

Yet, many folks (like me) are used to being able to receive Holy Communion at Mass (preferably) every weekday. So, in my area, there are Communion services instead of Masses on Mondays, the day the priests have as their day of rest.

So, do we simply not have Mass or Communion Service on Mondays?

As a whiney-side note, when I was in RCIA I had already been a regular at weekday Masses and cautioned my fellow RCIA-classmates to avoid going to Mass on Mondays because it usually wasn't Mass, but a Communion service. They all looked at me like I was from Mars: "Who would bother going to church on a weekday?"

[/quote]

In our parish we never have Communion services.

We have 3 Masses daily Monday to Saturday, and on Sundays we have 10 Masses.

I sure wish there was access to Mass like that where I live...you my friend are rather fortunate...I hope it is like that everywhere one day!!!

[quote="thistle, post:15, topic:185344"]
In our parish we never have Communion services.

We have 3 Masses daily Monday to Saturday, and on Sundays we have 10 Masses.

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[quote="michaeldaniels, post:16, topic:185344"]
I sure wish there was access to Mass like that where I live...you my friend are rather fortunate...I hope it is like that everywhere one day!!!

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Also on Holy Days of Obligation (other than Sundays) our parish has the Sunday Mass schedule of 10 Masses to make it easier for people to fulfill their obligation.

[quote="thistle, post:17, topic:185344"]
Also on Holy Days of Obligation (other than Sundays) our parish has the Sunday Mass schedule of 10 Masses to make it easier for people to fulfill their obligation.

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That is wonderful! We usually have 3 additional Masses on HDO--a 'vigil' the night before, and then 2 evening Masses the day of in addition to the regular daily morning Masses. So 6 alltogether. We have 6 Sunday Masses also, but on a different schedule.

[quote="Mrs_Sally, post:4, topic:185344"]
"Communion services" begain in places that did not have a priest available every Sunday.

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..except that what you and many others here may not know, is that their occurence in some parishes became a tacit invitation for parishes that did indeed have not just one priest available every Sunday, but several, in residence (not shared).

In one such parish near me, it was phony. It was a response to female voices in the parish that wanted to have "liturgical participation." (I want that, too; that's why I participate by receiving communion during Mass. ;) ) In this church, it was also an excuse to allow lay women to preach. :eek: The women involved wore surplices. I felt extremely uncomfortable at the one such service I attended, and never attended again. It just felt wrong, and manufactured. There was a normal daily weekday Mass in the morning, celebrated by one of the several resident priests; this "service" substituted for one of the other Masses on that day; that's all it was. It had nothing to do with shortage of priests.

I'd like to comment on the implied misogny in the title.

Leaving aside for a moment the rights and wrongs of holding Communion services, how does the fact that women may lead them alter the way they are viewed?

In other words, surely the title should have been' Laypeople leading Communion services'. That is the point at issue. Specifying or implying that women leading the services is the underlying problem is sheer prejudice.

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