5.3.4 Communion Services and Sunday Celebrations in Absence of a Priests

1. "Whenever possible, daily Mass should be celebrated in each parish."

2. "Whenever possible, the Mass schedule of nearby parishes should be available to parishioners. If a nearby parish is celebrating Mass on a given weekday, serious consideration should be given to encouraging people to participate in that Mass."

3. Only in an emergency, that is, when the priest assigned to the Mass (weekday or Sunday) is unavailable to celebrate the Mass, may someone qualified conduct a Communion Service. If there is no one present capable of this, then the congregation should be informed that their obligation has been met (if a Sunday or Holy Day). If a communion service is held, there should always be a prayer for an increase in vocations to the priesthood.

4. "The proper ritual for the Liturgy of the Word with Distribution of Holy Communion is found in Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass. The specialized provisions of Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest are not appropriate to weekday celebrations."

5. "A Liturgy of the Word with Distribution of Holy Communion should never be scheduled for the purpose of ‘providing a role' for deacons or lay ministers. Likewise, choosing the option of the Funeral Liturgy outside Mass solely to provide a role for the deacon is inappropriate. It is also inappropriate to have the deacon preside at the Funeral Liturgy outside Mass when a priest is available to celebrate a Funeral Mass.”

6. Communion Services may only be scheduled on a regular basis in hospitals, nursing homes, migrant camps or prisons.

[1] Cited material from Pastoral Response formulated regarding communion services by the Committee on the Liturgy, March 13, 2000, meeting in Washington D.C. It was subsequently posted by the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship at the USCCB website, and available at http://www.usccb.org/prayer-andworship/the-mass/frequently-asked-questions/weekday-celebrations-in-the-absence-of-a-priest.cfm.

Date approved by Bishop

Posted by
Msgr. S. J. Raica, chancellor