Visiting priests

We had one today at our very traditional parish (Mass is said Ad Orientem as an example.) The visiting priest told us he was retired, and was volunteering for an Catholic charity out of Boca Raton, Florida. As part of the homily, he preached that during the Eucharistic sacrifice, we ourselves are the bread and wine and we are transubstantiated ??!!! WHAT! ! Somebody help me with this please - the deacon was sitting in his chair and I thought he was going to have a stroke.

Next, during the homily, the priest left the sanctuary, went up into the choir loft and sang a song as he accompanied himself on the piano. As his voice reverberated through the speakers of our small church, I wanted to get up and leave, and I probably should have done so at that point. Everyone sat there in stunned silence and looked at each other, like what in the world is going on here?

Predictably, he did not follow the rubrics during the Eucharistic prayer. His ad libbing was so off the mark that the altar boy couldn’t tell when to ring the bells and the people couldn’t tell when to respond to the prayers. He informed us prior to distributing Holy Communion that he had a medical condition which precluded him from distributing on the tongue. Many people jumped the line to receive from the EMHC to receive on the tongue instead of receiving in the hand. Some people chose to not receive at all.

I’m wondering 2 things: 1. Was this a valid Mass? 2. How do visiting priests get assignments - is it through the parish priest or the diocese?

Thanks for any help anyone can offer me.

as long as he said the words
"this is my body"
"this is [the cup of] my blood"

then it was a valid Eucharist, which means a valid Mass.

I actually kind of like it when we get a visiting priest who takes us outside our fairly traditional norm at the parish’s Mass. Sometimes I learn something. Most times what I learn is to really, really, really, appreciate the orthodoxy, humility, obedience and holiness of our parish’s priests . . . :wink:

He said, " This is my body, THIS, THIS is my body" and “This is my blood, THIS, THIS is my blood.” His emphasis, not mine. So, I guess technically it was valid, if all he had to do was utter the words. Adding words doesn’t make a difference, technically, correct?

You get full credit for attending mass, and extra credit for the penance of enduring it. :smiley:

I’d write the bishop’s office on this one. .

The more complaints in this guy’s file the better.

I don’t know why… but I can speculate… visiting priests seem more likely to be totally flaky than a random parish priest…

I wouldn’t go that far. I would say that the bread and wine, as our offerings, represent us and all that we offer to God, and that the change they undergo is a sign of the change we are called to undergo by being conformed to Christ, being his Mystical Body, and being changed from glory to glory in the resurrection. Here’s how I’d explain it:
In the ancient Church, the bread and wine would often be supplied by members of the congregation. Nowadays, the bread and wine are bought by the parish (using some of the funds raised in the weekly collection), but they still represent our offering, our presentation to the Lord.

The bread and wine are changed into the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the consecration, but this presence is hidden under what the Church calls a “sacramental veil,” the remaining appearance of bread and wine. When we see Christ in Heaven, there will be no veil. In much the same way, we pray that we may be changed to be more like Christ (“configured” to Christ, in the language of the Church) by receiving Holy Communion. This configuration to Christ is imperfect while we are on earth, but it will be perfected when our resurrected and glorified bodies enter Heaven. So just as the bread and wine are transubstantiated into Christ, what they represent – us, the Church, the Body of Christ – is, in a sense, transubstantiated as well. By identifying ourselves with the bread and wine, we are anticipating the change which will occur in us at the end of time while conforming our lives to the change taking place now. (Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People, pp. 94-95)
As for the lounge-singer homily, I’m sorry you had to endure that. It’s a shame about his “liberties” with the Eucharistic Prayer. And I’m curious what medical condition he has that prevents him from giving Communion on the tongue!

Some of these visiting priests practically advertise their personal agendas.

You should mention it to the pastor, if this guy was filling in. And yeah, maybe a letter to the ordinary would be a good follow up.

My skin crawled for you. :smiley:

A2SciTeach, you should contact his organization, “Cross International Catholic Outreach”, and let them know about the way he celebrated Mass.

We routinely get a visiting priest from Cross International ever so often at our parish. They come seeking donations and will celebrate Mass, or, at least serve as the homilists.

Luckily, they have not done anything strange.

However, what you described was more than totally out of the ordinary. In fact, it was downright bizarre. What does concern me is the matter of the consecration. You probably know this already, but Redemptionis Sacramentum clearly states that:

51.] Only those Eucharistic Prayers are to be used which are found in the Roman Missal or are legitimately approved by the Apostolic See, and according to the manner and the terms set forth by it. "It is not to be tolerated that some Priests take upon themselves the right to compose their own Eucharistic Prayers"129 or to change the same texts approved by the Church, or to introduce others composed by private individuals.130

We are not called to be creative; we are called to humbly receive what the Church has given to us.

Thanks to everyone who replied - I will speak to my pastor after daily Mass tomorrow to see what the process was for the visiting priest to come, and ask if he can give us a heads up next time he won’t be there so we can be psychologically prepared in case things go badly.

It occurs to me that a large percentage of parishes would be thrilled with the show the visiting priest put on - I’m basing that on the number of times we’ve been traveling and have been visitors ourselves and subjected to loose variations of Mass. But that’s a whole different thread…

as to validity, 3 things are required be said: “Lord, Send down your spirit upon these gifts, …”, “This is my body” and “This is my Blood”. The epiclesis (the invocation of the Holy Spirit) has been held as required by several councils of the church, and for centuries.

The priest also has to have valid matter (bread made of wheat, water, and possibly yeast*), and wine made from grapes & yeast only, and has to intend that the transubstantiation happen.

Note that even an invalid mass, if you didn’t realize it was invalid, would fulfill your obligation.

As to reporting this priest: yes, do so. With specific dates, and his name if you know it, to the Bishop, and a CC to the pastor.

  • Leavened bread is valid matter, but illicit for use in the Roman Church. Many of the Eastern Catholic Churches use leavened bread, and for most of them, unleavened bread is illicit but valid. A few licitly allow either.

Also, there are certain pastoral circumstances that permit a roman priest to consecrate both leavened and unleavened bread at the same mass, namely, when consecrating the leavened bread to be used for communion services in nearby Eastern Catholic parishes when their priest is absent or ill, but in such cases, only the unleavened is distributed in that mass.

Is union with the local Ordinary required for validity? I realize union with the Pope is not necessary (or else the Orthodox would lack the Eucharist), but I know St. Ignatius wrote “Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one whom he appoints” and I’m curious if that requires, in the Eucharistic Prayer, mention of the Eucharist being offered in communion with the local Ordinary.

Early stages of Parkinson’s is what immediately came to mind for me. One of my favorite retired priests seems to be showing those symptoms and it saddens me. Others have arthritic issues that may not be visibly apparent.

But that visiting priest sure could have phrased things a lot better, couldn’t he? (Heck, he could have done a lot of things better!)


This link describes what I believe to be the same incident.

No, unity to the local ordinary is not required for validity. Nor even for licity of a non-public mass.

Every priest must have faculties granted by an ordinary in order to say the mass publicly (ie, on the schedule and/or advertised). He must have permission from his own ordinary to say the mass privately. Lacking that permission makes it an illicit mass, but not invalid.

Likewise, not using one of the 12 or so consecrations in the Roman Missal and it’s appendices, or the couple extra in the Dominican propers for the mass of Paul VI, or one of the other approved missals in the Roman Church (EF/TLM, Mozarabic, Bragan, Ambrosian, Dominican, Carmelite, Carthusian, Dalmation/Glagolithic, Anglican Use), or one of the 22 other Church Sui Iuris’ approved liturgies, makes it illicit, not invalid.

Using Wonder Bread or Rye Bread, that would be invalid.
If the priest wasn’t really a priest, that would also be invalid.

:eek:We must be from the same parish, glad I didn’t go there yesterday

I think this is incorrect. The first Eucharistic prayer does not contain the words “Lord, Send down your spirit upon these gifts…”.

The Roman Canon does not have an implicit epiclesis, it is implied.

**If Father Narcissius said the correct words for Consecration, it was a valid Mass. Sometimes visiting priests just “show up” at the door or call the pastor and tell him that he is passing through. Other times, they may call the diocese to request a temporary assignment or to do some type of apostolate work in parishes there. **

The epiclesis occurs at the offeratory, before the consecration, in the roman mass. It is not always worded exact, but the invocation of the holy sprit is in every DWS of the church.

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