From a reader…
I’m currently scheduled to work on both Saturday and Sunday and this doesn’t give me to time to attend a full mass in person. However, I would be able to leave work during scheduled lunch break to drop by a mass in session to receive Holy Communion.
Is this acceptable if I am able to watch an entire Sunday mass for that weekend or am I not allowed to receive Holy Communion because I wasn’t there for the entirety of the Holy Mass?
There’s no Mass at any church when you are not working? That’s rough. I hope that doesn’t happen very often, given the importance of Sunday. Holy Church recognizes that life is messy. That is why she has canons such as can. 1245.
Watching Mass over the internet or some other means does not fulfill your obligation (if you are in a diocese where the COVID dispensation is no longer in force)
You might contact your local pastor and ask him to dispense you from the Sunday obligation. According to the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church in canon 1245, pastors of parishes have the ability to dispense your obligation in individual instances or commute your obligation to some other pious work.
You can’t just assume that you have the dispensation or commutation. You have to receive it. But such a dispensation should not be too hard to obtain.
Canon 136 clarifies that the exercise of executive power (e.g., a dispensation) is valid over one’s subjects, even when they are outside of one’s territory, as well as over travelers who are present in one’s territory.
Many bishops grant this dispensing power to all priests, not just to pastors of parishes.
Hence, if you are looking for a dispensation or commutation, you generally need not look too far.
If you are outside of your parish, or not able to contact your parish priest for whatever reason, you might inquire of another priest. Ask if he has the faculty to dispense or commute. Otherwise, you can call the local chancery office and speak to the vicar general (who would have power to dispense), the chancellor (who would either have it or would know who does), or someone in the tribunal (who would usually know who has dispensing power).
As far as receiving Communion is concerned. I, frankly, don’t have an objection to the occasional Communion outside of Mass. The Church has a rite for it in the traditional books. It was and is done for, for example, choir members who couldn’t come to the rail at Communion time. But to pop into church at Communion, receive, and then dash out again just seems… off. First, it could scandalize people. Also, it could scandalize you! Weaken your sense of reverence, even though you originally did this out of desire for the Eucharistic Lord!
Keep in mind, also, that many of the greatest saints we venerate today received Communion only a few times a year. Perhaps you could take a page from their manual for holiness and wait a week.