D. of Rockville Centre: an end to school Communion services

I got this today via e-mail.  This is pretty interesting.

Take a look at this story from Newsday about what is going on in the Diocese of Rockville Centre with my emphases and comments:

Bishop calls end to some non-Mass Communion offerings
BY BART JONES | bart.jones@newsday.com
May 9, 2008

For three decades, students at elite Chaminade High School in Mineola could receive Communion during a 15-minute "Communion Service" just before lunch.

But that practice will end following a pastoral letter Bishop William Murphy [hurray!] is releasing today prohibiting Catholic schools, parishes and other institutions from distributing Holy Communion at most non-Mass events.

Several schools and parishes who take part in the practice said yesterday they would abide by the bishop’s order. Some said they were nonetheless disappointed, while some church analysts [hmmmm] such as papal biographer David Gibson suggested it was a move by Murphy to "tighten up" and crack down on nontraditional practices.  [Note the language: "crack down".  Make it sound like Myanmar.]

But others saw it as an opportunity to reflect on the sacrament of Holy Communion and head off what may be a trend among some Catholics to take it too casually.
 
"I think it’s positive and something to be embraced," said the Rev. James Williams, president of Chaminade. "The bishop is the teaching arm of the church."  [Not to mention governing and sanctifying, and while the bishop is not himself the Magisterium, he is the one who presents it in his diocese.]

In his eight-page pastoral letter, his seventh since becoming the spiritual leader of Long Island’s 1.4 million Catholics in 2001, Murphy said he was ordering the Communion service practice to end by July 1.

That, he said, would bring the Diocese of Rockville Centre "into conformity with the liturgical norms of the Church." The order will not affect practices such as nonpriests’ giving Communion to sick people at home or in hospitals.

"The Eucharist is the greatest gift Jesus left us," Murphy wrote. "The celebration of the Eucharist gives us our identity as well as our life."  [YES!  This bishop gets it.  What just jumped into my mind was the phrase uttered by ancient Christian martyrs just before they were killed for the Faith: "sine dominico non possumus - without the Eucharist (Its Sunday celebration and the Blessed Sacrament Itself) we cannot endure, we cannot bear to live."  He made absolutely the right connection with Catholic identity.  This is one of the reasons why Summorum Pontificum is so very important.  The Holy Father has reintroduced, in a powerful way, a new discussion of who we are as Catholics.]

During the Communion services, Communion hosts previously consecrated by a priest and stored in a tabernacle are distributed, often by deacons, nuns or eucharistic ministers. The services do not include the Liturgy of the Eucharist, [i.e., Mass] during which a priest consecrates bread and wine and, according to Catholic belief, turns them into the body and blood of Christ though a process known as transubstantiation.

The services originally were intended for use on Sundays only in remote, missionary parishes where priests could rarely visit, and has since been inappropriately adopted to other uses, said Julia Upton, a theology professor at St. John’s University.

Schools such as Chaminade and Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale say they conduct the brief Communion services because they lack the time to celebrate a Mass amid classes.  [What does that say?] Some schools also lack priests to celebrate Mass.  [A tougher problem.]

At local parishes, church workers often hold the services on weekday mornings because no priest is available for Mass. Catholics are not obligated to attend Mass on weekdays.  [But this isn't just a matter of obligation, for younger people, is it!  We have to help them understand who they are in relation to the Eucharist, Its celebration and the Sacrament, for the sake of their identity and salvation.]

The Rev. Bill Brisotti of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Wyandanch said the service allows him to take off Sunday night and spend at least one night away from the parish without having to return early Monday.  [I can understand this, but... ]

"People liked" the service, he said. "I’m disappointed but we’ll follow the regulations of the diocese."

WDTPRS high kudos to Bishop Murphy!  

Let us pray that the priests of the area will be touched with concern for these young people and perhaps be more available in the next school year.

UPDATE: 11 May 0150 GMT

It seems the German Section of Vatican Radio picked up on this:

Vereinigte Staaten
Außerhalb der Messe darf in einem amerikanischen Bistum im Bundesstaat New York keine Kommunion mehr gespendet werden. Das hat der Bischof von Rockville Centre, William F. Murphy, entschieden. Grundlage seien entsprechende Richtlinien im römischen Meßbuch, heißt es in einem Hirtenbrief vom Freitag. Mit der Abschaffung von Kommunionfeiern wolle er die Diözese in Einklang mit geltenden liturgischen Normen bringen. Die Spendung der Krankenkommunion sei davon allerdings nicht betroffen. In einem Schreiben wendet sich der Bischof auch an die Laien; diese sollten sich durch das Verbot nicht in ihren Rechten beschnitten fühlen. In Wortgottesdiensten werden die bereits konsekrierten Hostien in der Regel von Ordensfrauen oder beauftragten Laien verteilt. (cns)

 

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35 Responses to D. of Rockville Centre: an end to school Communion services

  1. Reminder: I delete comments posted as “anonymous” or “anon”.

  2. grateful long Islander says:

    Thanks be to God for Bishop Murphy. He is a wonderful leader. In addition to this recent pastoral letter, the Bishop will be conferring the sacrament of Confirmation to 30+ young people in the Extraordinary Form on June 15th, Which happens to be the day after he will ordain 9 men to the priesthood.

  3. RobNY says:

    Bishop Murphy seems to have his head screwed on tightly. From what I know about him he seems to be very much concerned with orthodoxy.

    I am a graduate of St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School, West Islip, NY. I can say that communion services were not a normal thing there. Mass was usually held just after the end of the school day.

    grateful long Islander–

    That’s very interesting to hear. I’m currently away at college, so I don’t get such news. Could you give me more information? I’d love to attend that Mass, if possible.

  4. M. says:

    We have a very widespread parish with four churches and two priests and a deacon. At one time our PP, who is very progressive and liberal, decided that each church would have only a Eucharistic Service on one sunday in four. The numbers attending the Eucharistic Service were less than half those who attended Mass on the other Sundays and there was much unrest. Eventually a time table was worked out so everyone could have Mass each week. What really upset people was that it could be done, with not really that much extra effort, but the PP did not seem to see a lot of difference between the Mass and the Eucharistic Service. A new convert, who had been through the RCIA in the parish, said she could not tell the difference. When I explained she said, ” I suppose for some people that might make a difference”.

  5. Christopher Milton says:

    So Communion Services are bad? Or have they just been abused? I’ve attended them on occaision at lunchtime at Cathedral (Nashville), and it seemed reverent, almost like Mass. There were the days readings, etc, but it was all lead by and deacon and obviously there was no consecration.

    Am I going to Hell?

  6. TNCath says:

    I think the issue here is the danger that Communion services be seen as “ceremonies of convenience” that take the place of attending Mass.

    When I was in high school (“several” years ago), when there was a chaplain available my freshman and sophomore years, Mass was celebrated at 7:30 a.m. in the school chapel. Communion services were then held before each lunch period by a Brother or layman teaching in the school. In my final two years of high school, there was no morning Mass available even though there was a priest in the school and a retired priest in residence at the school, but the Communion services continued. While no one can deny the spiritual benefits of receiving Communion daily, I do think it was an abuse the practice distributing Holy Communion outside Mass.

  7. Eric says:

    RobNY-If I remember correctly, Msgr. Pereda (the celebrant of the Latin Mass in Nassau) said that the Confirmations were done outside of Mass. I have seen a Confirmation in the Old Rite, but that was done right after Mass. I guess this is the option they chose. I forget the date but I’ll try to remember to post it if I see it again.

    Kudos to the Bishop, he receives a lot of criticism (perhaps unwarranted), but so far he has made a lot of good decisions and been favorable to tradition. As for the article, I don’t really mind their choice of wording. A lot more “tightening up and cracking down” needs to be done in Rockville Centre.

  8. grateful long Islander says:

    RobNY,

    The Bishop will confer the sacrament of Confirmation outside of Mass on June 14th, as was traditionally done. I’m not sure as to the time.

  9. Manuel says:

    Why not have masses? Here at my school there is a daily mass at 7:30 am and on All Saint’s Day three masses during the school day so that all students attend. Now if only we could get rid of the guitars and bongo drums…

  10. Diane says:

    It is so refreshing to read these kinds of things. Thanks for posting it.

    It has me wondering though, about a parish near my home….

    I live in a suburban metro-Detroit neighborhood, where there is a Catholic Church nearly every 1-2 miles. Numbers have fallen and one priests is working two parishes. In his original parish they have weekday Mass 2-3 times weekly, and it alternates with the other parish.

    However, what is strange is that on the “off days” at least at the one parish, people have a “Communion service”. What I can’t figure out is why on God’s green earth anyone wouldn’t drive the extra mile for a full blown Mass?

    I too thought that the Communion service was only for remote areas. I mean, lets face it, when one priest has to cover hundreds of square miles, this is understandable.

    As far as I know, all drive.

    Is this legit?

  11. Larry says:

    This is a touchy situation; more so than seems apparent. I am certain that when this was begun it was done for the best of reasons. Yet as we see all too often this could lead to a too casual approach to the Sacrament. It is worth noting that as a young person going back to the 50′s and 60′s I recall the priest distributing Holy Communion before Mass during Lent, so that those who had to get to work could do so. There is a tendency in the Church today and this goes even to Papal documents to confuse the Sacrament with the Rite. The word Eucharist encompasses both. By confusing the terms we tend to ignore a very important fact. Catholics, in the state of grace, have a right to request the Sacrament outside of the Mass. There are certain qualifications; but, it is not necessary to attend Mass to receive the Sacrament.

    That being said I am certain that the Bishop here is protecting the Sacrament from a too casual approach especiall in a school setting. This does not mean that these children could not get up a little earlier and go to daily Mass, or at least a few times a week.

  12. Communion services are something that have been becoming the norm in our diocese. I even once was astonished to go to a parish where there was a Communion service in the early morning, then later, at the morning Mass both the priests of the parish concelebrated.

    Communion services might be necessary in certain situations (like an out of the way parish or mission with no priets), but lately I have seen an attitude that Communion is more important than Mass. Yet, the Church laws (which are made for the good of the faithful) require us to attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation, but only receive Communion once a year. While I believe Communion to be very important, to “separate” it from the Mass is sending an odd message. I think too often people and priests confuse convenience with necessity.
    Catholics really aren’t expected to make an effort for the faith anymore.

    Just my 2 cents.

  13. grateful long Islander says:

    Larry,

    It seems to me that burden of proof is on you to show why it would be allowed to divorce the Eucharist from the Mass. Unless one cannot get to Mass because they are homebound why would we separate the two. The Eucharist can not be separated from the Mass. I am failing to see why we have a right to it outside of the celebration of Mass.

  14. Martha says:

    The best reason I can give for not having Communion services is because love and sacrifice are the two sides of the one coin. In the life of grace,they can not be separated. In Communion we are united with Love, to Our Victim just sacrificed on the altar. Victim-Love, He is one and the same person. A Communion service separates the two necessary aspects of complete union, the Sacrifice being out of sight, and probably out of mind.

    That is why, it is also proper to have the tabernacle on the altar and not apart. They belong together, one representing Love, the other, sacrifice.

  15. RBrown says:

    Here I’ll sing a familiar tune:

    The narrowing of the difference between Communion Services and Mass is a function of the Mass as Meal ideology (which suppresses the concept of the Mass as Sacrifice). If the Eucharist is defined only as a group getting together to eat the Body of Christ, then the difference evaporates.

    Good-bye Eucharist as Sacrifice, Hello Communion Services.

    In fact, there was a movement a few years ago that wanted Hosts to be consecrated once a month, then distributed to parishes for Communion services run by the laity.

  16. Ed Casey says:

    The Diocesan Web site has posted Bishop Murphy’s Pastoral Letter : PASTORAL LETTER OF THE BISHOP OF ROCKVILLE CENTRE TO THE PRIESTS OF THE DIOCESE REGARDING THE PROPER CELEBRATION OF THE EUCHARIST AND THE DISTRIBUTION OF HOLY COMMUNION – DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME

    It can be found here:
    http://www.drvc.org/bishop/murphy/letters/letter_050908.pdf

    As Father Z says, “brick-by-brick.”

  17. Larry wrote “Catholics, in the state of grace, have a right to request the Sacrament outside of the Mass. There are certain qualifications; but, it is not necessary to attend Mass to receive the Sacrament.”

    But the 2004 Instruction, Redemptionis Sacramentum has: “[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.”

    This comes under the heading: “3. Particular Celebrations carried out in the Absence of a Priest”. Can the priest conduct a Communion Service? Does the bishop have the authority to stop this?

    The 1973 liturgical book “Holy Communion and the Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass” has: “14. The faithful are to be led to the practice of receiving communion during the actual eucharist celebration.
    Priests, however, are not to refuse to give communion to the faithful who for a legitimate reason ask for it even outside Mass.” (The Rites Volume One, Liturgical Press, 1990, ISBN: 0-8146-6015-0, page 643.)

  18. Gen X Revert says:

    I have to make a couple of points: First, as a graduate of Chaminade and grateful for the education the brothers of the Province of Meribah gave to me, let me point out the at both Chaminade and Kellenberg High they have daily Mass in the morning before school starts and students, parents, and faculty members are encouraged to attend. Monthly school Masses are held in both schools as well so these are not schools that fail to take their Catholic identity seriously at all. I just wanted to point that out as the article might not give that impression.

    Secondly, while I can understand the need to watch for abuses, I know of an assisted living facility where a deacon holds a communion service each Sunday. What is to be done when this service is no longer provided? I think a priest should be stepping in to offer the Mass, but so far none have. This is a real concern and I would appreciate input. Either way, I thank God for Bishop Murphy’s leadership which has been quite a blessing to this Diocese.

  19. LCB says:

    “For three decades, students at elite Chaminade High School in Mineola could receive Communion during a 15-minute “Communion Service” just before lunch.”

    And who dropped the ball on three decades of potential vocations?!

    If young men are going to daily Communion services in high school, about 8-10 years later there really shouldn’t be any sort of priest shortage in that immediate area!

    Continuing the somewhat silly tone of this post…

    I wonder what Fr. Reese thinks about all this? I can’t believe he isn’t quoted in an article somehow related to the Church.

  20. John says:

    Schools such as Chaminade and Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale say they conduct the brief Communion services because they lack the time to celebrate a Mass amid classes.

    So their communion service is 15 minutes? It only took Fr. P 10 minutes to say Mass during lunch hour 25 years ago at my high school.

  21. RBrown said: “Here I’ll sing a familiar tune:

    The narrowing of the difference between Communion Services and Mass is a function of the Mass as Meal ideology (which suppresses the concept of the Mass as Sacrifice). If the Eucharist is defined only as a group getting together to eat the Body of Christ, then the difference evaporates.

    Good-bye Eucharist as Sacrifice, Hello Communion Services.”

    Good point. If the emphasis is on a meal, then really, people will tend to see the Mass as a sit down formal dinner, and a Communion service as fast food (or as main meal and “leftovers” respectively).

    I’ve certainly seen a trend that some people go Communion services not out of necessity, but because it is quicker than Mass.

    Is there any Church document that encourages “regular” Communion services? I’ve only seen Communion services in the context of priestless parishes or missions.

  22. I am delighted with Bishop Murphy’s emphasizing that ‘there is an inherent interconnection between sacrifice, Real Presence, and Communion. We should never sever the connection between receiving the Sacrament and celebrating the sacrifice; the two go hand-in-hand. Receiving the Sacrament is the culmination of participating in the sacrifice’.

    He backs this up under ‘Pastoral Issues’ with ‘There are practical implications that flow from this. One is that we need to take very seriously the instruction that the faithful should communicate from hosts that have been consecrated at the Mass being celebrated, and that, insofar as is possible, hosts should not be taken from the tabernacle for the communion of the faithful. This is an ideal I would hope could be transformed into reality as a regular practice in all our parishes (cf. GIRM,# 85).’

    Though my full-time parish involvement has been rather limited in 40 years as a priest, I know that this can be done. I have been parish priest twice in two large parishes here in the Philippines and had no difficulty implementing this, without becoming over-scrupulous. The widespread practice that has been there for centuries of distributing hosts from the tabernacle, often without any consecrated at the Mass itself, really means that some are participating fully in the Sacrifice of the Mass while others are attending Mass but participating in a Communion service. I have often been at Mass when more than enough hosts were consecrated but a priest or extraordinary minister still uses hosts from the tabernacle. Where does this leave ‘give us THIS day our DAILY bread’, apart form the question of participating in the SACRIFICE of the Mass?

    And it’s about time that we took seriously the Liturgy of the Hours as liturgy that can be participated in by all. Those 15 minutes could be used to celebrate Sext or Midday Prayer, with maybe one of the readings from the Mass for the day instead of a short one.

    Last year I visited a church in England that I know has a very high standard of liturgy, with no frivolities. But I was astonished while attending Benediction there during a novena that Holy Communion was given out afterwards. I know that there had been a number of Masses there that day and that everyone at the novena had either been at mass or had an opportunity to do so that day. I think that this practice was only during the specific novena in question. But I could see no pastoral reason whatever for Holy Communion.

  23. Gen X Revert said: “Secondly, while I can understand the need to watch for abuses, I know of an assisted living facility where a deacon holds a communion service each Sunday. What is to be done when this service is no longer provided?”

    If an effort has been made to obtain a priest and it just isn’t possible, then I would say this is definitely a legitimate use of Communion services. I would bet that the Bishop would not have a problem with a Communion service in this situation.

  24. RBrown says:

    Is there any Church document that encourages “regular” Communion services? I’ve only seen Communion services in the context of priestless parishes or missions.
    Comment by Roman Sacristan

    I wouldn’t think so. The important point is that Mass and a Communion service are not just different ways of doing the same thing.

  25. Tom says:

    The school could substitute a fifteen minute Novus Ordo Mass, using the options that “save time”; such as the shortest Penitential Rite (“Lord, we have sinned against you,” etc.), no Gloria or Creed (not usually said during weekdays Masses), no sermon or Prayer of the Faithful, (not required for weekday Masses), the shortest (Second) Eucharistic Prayer, no Kiss of Peace, and Communion only under one form).

  26. Is there any Church document that encourages “regular” Communion services?

    To the contrary, from Redemptionis Sacramentum:

    [164.] “If participation at the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible on account of the absence of a sacred minister or for some other grave cause”, then it is the Christian people’s right that the diocesan Bishop should provide as far as he is able for some celebration to be held on Sundays for that community under his authority and according to the Church’s norms. Sunday celebrations of this specific kind, however, are to be considered altogether extraordinary. …..

    [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. ….. (emphasis added)

    So it appears that priestless communion services ought not be where Sunday Mass is available.

  27. I see daily Communion Services as encouraged by this section of the 1973 liturgical book “Holy Communion and the Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass”:
    “16. Communion may be given outside Mass on any day and at any hour. It is proper, however, to schedule the hours for giving communion, with a view to the convenience of the faithful, so that the celebration may take place in a fuller form and with greater spiritual benefit. …”. (From The Rites Volume One, Liturgical Press, 1990, ISBN: 0-8146-6015-0.)
    It then lists exceptions for Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

    The requirements for plenary indulgences also tend to encourage the daily reception of communion. “N. 7 The requirements for gaining a plenary indulgence are the performance of the indulgenced work and the fulfillment of three conditions: sacramental confession; eucharastic communion; prayer for the pope’s intentions. A further requirement is the exclusion of all attachment to sin, even venial sin.
    Unless this unqualified dispositiion and the three conditions are present, the indulgence will be only partial; the prescription of N. 11 for those impeded is an exception.
    N. 8. The three conditions may be carried out several days preceding or following performance of the prescribed work. But it is more fitting that communion and prayer for the pope’s intentions take place on the day this work is performed.”
    (Paul VI, Apostolic Constitution Indulgentiarum doctrina, 1 January 1967; from Documents on the Liturgy 1963-1979, Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1982, ISBN 0-8146-1281-4, page 1007.)

    Code of Canon Law: “Can. 917 A person who has already received the Most Holy Eucharist can receive it a second time on the same day only within the eucharistic celebration in which the person participates, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 921, §2.
    Can. 918 It is highly recommended that the faithful receive holy communion during the eucharistic celebration itself. It is to be administered outside the Mass, however, to those who request it for a just cause, with the liturgical rites being observed.” (From http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P39.HTM ).

    Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
    “592. What is the sense of the petition “Give us this day our daily bread”?… Asking God with the filial trust of children for the daily nourishment which is necessary for us all we recognize how good God is, beyond all goodness. We ask also for the grace to know how to act so that justice and solidarity may allow the abundance of some to remedy the needs of others.
    593. What is the specifically Christian sense of this petition? … Since “man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4), this petition equally applies to hunger for the Word of God and for the Body of Christ received in the Eucharist as well as hunger for the Holy Spirit. We ask this with complete confidence for this day – God’s “today” – and this is given to us above all in the Eucharist which anticipates the banquet of the Kingdom to come.”

  28. Dave R says:

    John Lilburne:
    Every single one of your “references” are oblique; none of them pertains directly to the question at hand.

  29. Quote from above:

    So Communion Services are bad? Or have they just been abused?
    I’ve attended them on occaision at lunchtime at Cathedral (Nashville),
    and it seemed reverent, *almost like Mass.*

    Yes, most people think they are “almost like Mass” and notice
    that they are conducted by lay people, sisters, etc. That alone
    should put us on guard.

  30. Todd says:

    HCWEOM 26 is instructive. In describing the “long rite” of a Word service with the distribution of Holy Communion:

    “This rite is to be used chiefly when Mass is not cele­brated or when communion is not distributed at scheduled times. The purpose is that the people should be nourished by the word of God. By hearing it they learn that the marvels it proclaims reach their climax in the paschal mys­tery of which the Mass is a sacramental memorial and in which they share by communion. Nourished by God’s word, they are led on to grateful and fruitful participation in the saving mysteries.”

    If a Mass would be scheduled and the priest is ill, a Word and Communion service seems warranted. The actual scheduling of Communion services would seem to go against the grain of the rite.

    Note the reason given for having a Communion service: that the people should be nourished by the word of God.

    I think a corrective is needed in the face of the exclusive emphasis on the Eucharist as sacrifice. It certainly is a meal, and the spiritual nourishment provided by the Sacrament is more than an ideology. HCWEOM 226 provides this prayer for Benediction which is fairly explicit:

    Lord our God,
    you have given us the true bread from heaven.
    In the strength of this food
    may we live always by your life
    and rise in glory on the last day.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.

    Pope Benedict himself has stated it’s not an either-or thing. We would do well to recall both aspects in both liturgy and devotional life.

  31. RC says:

    I’m relieved to see from the Nashville cathedral website that the services on middays Mon-Fri are scheduled as Masses.

  32. MacBeth says:

    Dear Fr. Z.,
    While I have mixed feelings about this (my son regularly and devoutly receives Holy Communion at one of the schools mentioned), I think that Bishop Murphy has done the right thing. My daughter had an interesting encounter with one of the students from the other school mentioned who had no clue about what the Eucharist is. Here’s how the conversation went:
    Student: I had _so many “Eucharists”_ today!!
    My daughter: Really? How many times did you go to Mass?
    Student: None! My friend and I found a box of them in a closet at school and ate them.
    My daughter: You mean, you found a box of *unconsecrated* communion bread and ate them?
    Student: Yeah. I guess so.
    My daughter: Then, you didn’t eat any “Eucharists” at all, right?
    Student: I guess not.

    While I know many serious young people (including my son) who understand exactly what they are receiving in or out of Mass, I hope that Bishop Murphy’s pastoral letter will help to clear up some of the obvious gaps in the religious education for those who don’t seem to know the difference between bread and the Body of Christ.

  33. Mark says:

    I have seen “communion services” held in parishes where priests are available; it allows women to get behind the altar, read the gospel, give homilies, and “condition” folks to their presence.

    Many people refer to these regular events as “the sister’s mass” or the “lay mass” or some such.

    To prefer the grace I receive from communion to the grace the entire world and the holy souls receive from the sacrifice of the mass is rightly called ‘disordered’ by the Holy Father.

  34. Mark says:

    I have seen “communion services” held in parishes where priests are available; it allows women to get behind the altar, read the gospel, give homilies, and “condition” folks to their presence.

    Many people refer to these regular events as “the sister’s mass” or the “lay mass” or some such.

    To prefer (or to even consider equivalent) the grace we individually receive from communion to the grace the entire world and the holy souls receive from the sacrifice of the mass is rightly called ‘disordered’ by the Holy Father.

  35. Larry says:

    grateful Long Islander,
    Sorry to be so long in responding on this. Just got busy with other things. First of all it is not I who have chosen to separate the Eucharistic Sacrament from the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Clearly the two are separate. One is the Ritual in which the Sacrament is confected and the other is the Sacrament Itself. My reference point for reception is Canon 918 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law. The norm for reception is in the context of the Ritual (Mass) or even the Communion Service is certain cases. I am not condoning these Communioin Services; but, the right of Catholics to receive the Sacrament as codified. Clearly, this is the exception and that is why it is provided. At the same time the Sacrament is separate from the Sacrifice. How else to provide for Eucharistic Adoration, Forty Hours Devotion, Corpus Christi Processions and simple visits to the Blessed Sacraments.

    The Ritual (Mass) is the public worship of Almighty God by means of the Sacrifice of the Son of God re-presented in an unbloody manner. It is because of the necessity that we worship God as He chooses to be worshipped that we are obliged to attend and actively participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice every Sunday.

    Further, and though I cannot prove this directly, that we are obliged to receive Holy Communion once a year is directly related to the fact that we are obliged to confess our mortal sins once a year. Thereby at least hopefully after confessing and being absolved the faithful will receive the Body and Blood of the Lord as required for their salvation. Clearly the rule is minimalist and in no way reflects the pronouncements of all recent popes encouraging frequent and even daily reception and in some circumstance more than once a day.

    To point to a specific example; say I am at Mass and there are confessions, I go to confession; but, I am in the “box” when Communion is distributed. I can go to the priest, deacon after Mass and ask for Communion. Say I am working as crew member on a plane or train I get off work and get to Mass too late to attend Mass. I can ask for Communion at that time as well. I hope this helps understand my point. I am not trying to diminish the Sacrifice, only demonstrate how the two are separate and how and why that is so. If I have made any errors I rely on the Church and it’s spokesman here Fr. Z to correct my mistakes.