Very Uncomfortable Mass; Liturgical Abuse?

This past Friday evening, I had attended a small mass at a Jesuit home. About 10 people were present, and the chapel itself was extremely small. All ten people sat around the “altar” and priest, which was very tiny table. I was first off uncomfortable when a Jesuit seminarian read the Gospel, and gave the homily. There was no visible blessing by the priest, so I wonder if that was allowed.

The thing that really bothered me though was the reception of the Eucharist. Instead of everyone standing up, the priest handed the bowl containing the Eucharist to the person to his right, and then continued to hand it down to each person. I was petrified. I am in my mid-20’s and I have never, NEVER taken communion in the hand before, much less go into the bowl and give it to myself. It has been weighing on me ever since and I am appaled that it happened. Following the reception of Communion, the chalice was then passed in the same fashion, therefore making everyone in the room essentially an “extraordinary minister”… However, I have never been trained, had no idea what I was doing, and was in such shock, completely forgot to wipe off the chalice as I gave it to the person next to me. I felt sick and broke into a cold sweat after that. I could not believe what had just occurred.

From a couple other topics I read, it seems that I “self-communicated”, and it seems that is not allowed by canon law, correct? But what about this SPECIFIC instance, regarding both the Body and Blood? Was this a violation of canon law, was it a liturgical abuse. Me and the other person I was attending with had no idea this mass would be held in this way. We had never been in this home before, and were expecting an actual chapel with pew and a priest giving us Holy Communiuon, not giving it to ourselves. I just need to know if there is any circumstance where this is allowed, and if not was this truly a liturgical abuse.

I should note the rest of the form seemed correct, the words of institution was correct, but the whole mass came off as very irreverent to me as the consecration itself took less time than the “sign of peace”, among other things. Some help on this would be greatly appreciated.

Yes, all this was highly illicit.

Yikes! I think you are right to be concerned. That is not okay!

I keep replaying it all in my head. I was just… very badly shaken up by all this. To go from receiving Communion every single time on the tongue prior to this, and then to be thrust into this situation was absolutely horrible. I never want to feel that horrid after mass again, I shouldn’t have to. Exactly what part of canon law was broken? Does anyone have a link I could see? This being “highly illicit”, what does that exactly mean?

I’m pretty sure I am not, but am I guilty of anything? This was still the body of Christ, and to refuse the graces He holds wouldn’t be right, I would think. The thought to have not taken communion never crossed my mind during mass, only after.

At most, you are most likely guilty of venial sin. Even though self-communicating is probably grave matter, I’m guessing you had experienced peer pressure from everyone around you and peer pressure from the priest.

I’m not a priest (even though I want to be one) so this answer may not be accurate. I recommend that you go to the sacrament of Confession or you should PM Father Vincent Serpa.

Father Serpa is off for over 2 weeks, just a heads up.

Any other priests I can e-mail? Won’t be in another church until Thursday.

I have never heard that self-communicating is grave matter or even a matter of sin. How can receiving our Lord be sin? Yes, it is an illicit action but it is not sinful especially since the priest instigated the action. I was at a home mass two weeks ago where the same thing happened. I was extremely uncomfortable with it as well, but I still received our Lord and in no way felt I was at fault.

Next time just say “I am not allowed self-Communicate” before the Mass and then the Priest will know to give you Jesus himself. Let it go, nothing helpful comes from being anxious about this.

You might be hard-pressed to find a priest who, familiar with the circumstances, would call this mass illicit. If it were at a Jesuit house, they have seminarians do faith talks during daily mass all the time (although usually not the gospel). Self-communication is technically illicit, but in a mass of that size, I think it would be considered that the priest was communicating all of you. And further, not receiving on the tongue isn’t an abuse anyway, so you’re hyperbole is a little unnecessary.

I think you have reason to be concerned. This sounds illicit and very problematic.

However, I think you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. The priest if knowingly going against the rubrics is responsible for this, not you. You are not responsible for the content of this Mass. Don’t beat yourself up.

To Sumus, I never said not receiving on the tongue was an abuse, and I never have thought that. But I, personally, have never done it, and personally do not feel comfortable with it, and to be thrust into that situation with no warning was something that did truly upset me. And even if the size was small, I’ve never had any training distributing the sacraments. I don’t think I should’ve been giving anyone the chalice, or passed the bowl containing the Host. But still thank you all of you for your comments on this, it’s appreciated.

I don’t think the poster was referring to the reception of Communion on the tongue as an abuse, but rather the passing of Communion from one layperson to another. This should not have happened.

I, personally have no problem receiving communion in the hand, but everything else… YES YES a thousand times YES!

Send this post to the local bishop and the Regional Jesuit Superior…note at bottom “copy to” to the other party…let them handle it…move on. They get payed the “big bucks” so to speak to handle this type stuff…because they will have to answer for it…here and in the hereafter.

Pax Christi

Might the seminarian have been a deacon? If so his reading the Gospel and even saying the homily would be fine, though I didn’t think the blessing was optional.

The way the chalice was passed around might or might not be open to interpretation, but in the case of the hosts this sounds like a clear case of self-communication, which is an abuse. However, it sounds like you were caught off-guard and did not know what to do, so I doubt there was that much moral culpability on your part. If caught in a similarly horrible situation in the future, I would just quietly refrain from taking communion at all, or from passing it to any other person.

In any case it’s a terrible situation for them to have put you in. It reminds me of a time (during a period when I was receiving on the hands) when, visiting an unfamiliar parish, I received a thousand crumbs in my hands because of the kind of bread used, and was forced to make a fool of myself trying to consume all of it without dropping anything, all the while stepping on what I knew must be many consecrated fragments, since I could see everyone else was just brushing off their hands after receiving. I felt physically ill from it, and for the rest of my life I’ll have to live with the knowledge that I have tread upon the body of Christ (unless the matter was invalid, which I hope), all because someone thought it would be nice to use a different kind of bread. :frowning:

The reported aspects of this Mass should be reviewed fairly and honestly.

First, there is the reading of the Gospel by a seminarian. The OP did say Gospel, and not Old Testament or Apostolic reading. If it were the latter, there would be little question as to the propriety. That said, the Gospel is supposed to be read by a priest or deacon. If this seminarian had been ordained the deaconate, it would be permissible to have him read the Gospel, and even to preach a homily. In a Jesuit setting where seminarians are being prepared, daily Mass provides an opportunity for those ordained to the deaconate to get real, practical experience. If in the deaconate, the seminarian should have been properly vested for the Mass (and not simply in a cassock).

Can. 757 It belongs to priests, as co*operators of the Bishops, to proclaim the Gospel of God. For the people entrusted to their care, this task rests especially on parish priests, and on other priests entrusted with the care of souls. Deacons also are to serve the people of God in the ministry of the word, in union with the Bishop and his presbyterium.

GIRM 66. The Homily should ordinarily be given by the Priest Celebrant himself or be entrusted by him to a concelebrating Priest, or from time to time and, if appropriate, to the Deacon, but never to a lay person. In particular cases and for a just cause, the Homily may even be given by a Bishop or a Priest who is present at the celebration but cannot concelebrate.

The manner in which the Eucharist was distributed in indeed odd, yet I agree with the poster who suggested that one might be hard pressed to find a priest who would condemn it, given what has been shared here. That said, common sense would suggest it was not proper, as anyone other than a priest or deacon (i.e. an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister) must be qualified and trained in order to distribute the Holy Eucharist. Being handed a bowl by a fellow congregant and expected to take (rather than partake) the Holy Eucharist does not seem at all consistent with the norms of the Church.

As for CITH itself, it is permitted, irrespective of one’s prior experience or preference. It is unfortunate that the situation seemingly put pressure on the OP to conform, and certainly may have made many a traditional Catholic nervous, but CITH itself is not the issue here. It is the general manner in which the Holy Eucharist was distributed.

I cannot understand how some have suggested that you are guilty of sin for having partaken of the Eucharist. Perhaps it is my Eastern Catholic mindset, where we generally believe the the Eucharist should always be accessible to worthy faithful, that does not allow me to believe that the form of Mass and manner of distribution of the Eucharist became a sinful act for anyone who did receive the sacrament.

As odd as this was, we pray we are able to be level-headed about this and assess the situation accordingly.

You need to write this in a calm letter to the bishop. He needs to know about this.

And the religious priest’s superior.

You were in a private Jesuit house.

You were in a tiny chapel with a table.

You have no idea if the seminarian was a deacon or not.

Some Orders allow communion to be taken directly from the ciborium or plate.

Some orders have their own licit tradition and rubrics for saying mass.

You were guest in their house.

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