It is disheartening to hear of services for the Lord’s day instead of Mass. It reminds me of a priest who got irritated every time someone called the rectory asking when Ash Wednesday services were. It’s the Mass, not a service!
Anyway, the service you describe sounds as if it was done due to lack of a priest. These services are legitimate so long as one understands that it is not the Mass. For instance, Good Friday has services, not Masses, because there is no Mass on Good Friday. It’s the one day priests can ask the deacon to do everything, although perhaps he should not.
These services can also be helpful to the Church. I remember a visiting missionary priest once mentioned such acts in his homily. People from miles away would gather at the nearest Church, and then bring Our Lord back to their villages for a service. I don’t know about the validity of such an act, but it sounds incredibly beautiful. Although they had no priest to celebrate mass for them near by, they had the Lord, and it was good.