From a reader:
This Sunday, I went to “Mass” at a church with an elderly associate pastor who sometimes forgets things (to be expected, I don’t blame him). But what happened on this occasion is an entirely different matter. He went from the first Communicantes to the Doxology, skipping the consecration. He later realized he skipped something and did part of what he missed after the Our Father, but again there were no words of consecration. I was hoping he would realize that and correct it but by the time the Agnus Dei rolled around, I realized that wouldn’t happen. The pastor was outside before Mass so I tried to find him/call him at the rectory but wasn’t able to do so.
I’m going to try to chat with the pastor on Tuesday … and I trust he will deal with it appropriately. But if something like this happens again, what should I do at that moment? I thought about going up and trying to point out where he needs to be in the missal (if it were any old part of the Mass, I wouldn’t. But skipping “This is my Body” and “This is my Blood” like he did is obviously more serious), but I was afraid of causing a scene. I was also hoping the permanent deacon present would have caught it, but no such luck. I don’t blame the priest because he’s in his 80s and I have the deepest appreciation for him, but this is pretty serious.
I am filled with awe at God’s love for us.
He entrusted the most sacred thing in the cosmos to His little wounded creatures.
Just imagine! I, a priest, can do what an angel cannot do. I can consecrate the Eucharist. You, a lay person, can receive Communion. Magnum mysterium!
I remember the summer when, back from Rome and staying at my home parish, one of us (usually the undersigned) had to be present at the afternoon Mass of an old priest who was skipping things. The pastor made the good decision to have the old guy saying Mass, even though there were … problems. He didn’t really save us work. Rather, he created more work for us, but it was absolutely the right thing to do.
Yes, have a calm and kind chat with the pastor. Tell him what happened.
Also, I think that deacon should have a kick up the backside. Perhaps the pastor can see to that. Didn’t notice? Sheesh.
In the meantime, if Father skips the consecration again, I suggest that you smile, refrain from going up for Communion, and then make sure that Father gets a ride home or get’s back to the rectory.
You might prompt him to share some anecdotes and lore about life in the diocese during his many years of priesthood.
Some have argued in the combox that it would have been better to stop the priest somehow and guide him to say the words of consecration. They make good points.
I didn’t make that suggestion in the original entry for the simple fact that I don’t want to give people the idea that they can stop Mass and attempt to correct priests when they think some serious problem has occurred. That would be bad. Bad, I say.