ASK FATHER: “Quasi-parish” priests

roman-massFrom a reader comes a messy question, which a Guest Priest will answer…

QUAERITUR:

Our “Quasi-parish”, due to rotation of clergy, has a new priest. His first outward change was to get the candles off the floor in front of the altar.

Still no scheduled time for confessions, and he doesn’t wear a stole with his alb and chasuble either. Before full vestments were purchased with a hefty donation by a local man working in the US, our assigned priests wore only a stole over the alb–probably a lot more comfortable when midday temperatures were nudging the 100° mark. This holy man serves from a church established more than a century ago, celebrating Mass two or three times a day, seven days a week, among some 20 chapels in villages scattered across a mountainous territory of at least 250 square miles.5

With the end of the school year, it can be hoped that the bishop will again send one of the priests from the seminary to help during the summer, because babies keep being born, people still want to marry, and people still reach the end of their earthly sojourn, and a second priest can lighten the load.

Is the priest assigned to a “quasi-parish”, formerly a vicar forane of a vicariate, a “quasi-pastor”?

GUEST PRIEST RESPONSE: Fr. Tim Ferguson

No, unless the particular law provides otherwise (canon 516, 1), he is the proper parish priest (parochus – in American, pastor) of the quasi-parish.

Are you certain he’s not wearing the stole underneath his chasuble (as he should)? It would seem very odd for a “holy man” to neglect this important aspect of his sacred vesture for Mass. If there is an issue with heat, very lightweight fiddleback vestments are a better solution than foregoing the appropriate dress for Mass.

UPDATE

A reader writes:

CIC can. 516, 1 does NOT describe the priest entrusted with the care of a “quasi-parish” as a “parochus,” but rather as a “pastor.” Only a parish is entrusted to a “parochus” (see can. 515)

GUEST PRIEST CORRECTION: Fr. Tim Ferguson

I was erroneously reading back into the Latin. It is “pastori proprio” rather than parochus. I’m not sure quite how that changes things. He is certainly not a “quasi-pastor” although I see in the commentary that he was thusly named in the 1917 Code and our friend Coccopalmerio suggests that he be so-called. I suppose then, he is technically not obliged to the Missa pro populo.

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6 Responses to ASK FATHER: “Quasi-parish” priests

  1. surritter says:

    I’m glad that Father mentioned that the stole could (and should) be under the chasuble. At my parish our pastor wears it on the outside and it sort of bothers me. He said that he does it because he was told that the stole is an important sign of his priestly ministry and he was instructed to wear it visibly on the outside. (Yes, he went to the seminary in the 1970s so I’m not surprised that he was given faulty instruction.) Fathers, please follow the rubrics!

  2. Hidden One says:

    Surriter, you might be able to affect his thinking by explaining that the stole symbolizes power and the chasuble charity… who puts power over charity?

  3. Sword40 says:

    Over the years I, too, have seen various priests claiming some “new found” knowledge or instruction.
    But no longer. we have the FSSP now. It’s pretty much “by the book”.

  4. Elizium23 says:

    There is something to be said about the sign value of wearing the stole underneath the chasuble. The stole, being the symbol of priestly authority, is covered by the chasuble, representing the charity of Christ which covers everything He does. Now imagine reversing the order or eschewing the chasuble altogether, and you have a rather stark picture of what kind of statement is being made.

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  6. In the case of a priest not wearing a chasuble when temperatures are very high, I would not be too fussy. I think I have never actually offered Mass without a chasuble (i.e., other than concelebrating, where it is common and allowed), but I have many times been close to passing out as a result of overheating — and this was when the ambient temperature was not particularly hot.

    When I put on my amice and alb, over either a cassock or over a clerical shirt, that forms layer three; and for me, at least, the amice tends to be snug around my neck, cutting off an avenue for heat to escape. Even in an air-conditioned church, the altar tends to be the highest point, and I have yet to be in a church where the placement of cool air vents did more than minimal good for the priest and servers, who also get lightheaded in the sanctuary. What I’ve actually done is paused, and if necessary, remove the chasuble in order to cool off for a bit, and then resume the chasuble and the Mass (or the cope at exposition).

    It is true, as Fr. Ferguson says, that one can find very light chasubles, and those help. But I can understand a priest who may not have something like that available, and so takes a practical step.

    As far as leaving aside the stole? That seems very odd; there’s no practical advantage to that.