Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: Subject: Communion Services - When Appropriate

Subject: Communion Services - When Appropriate QUESTION from Larry Lottier July 2, 2001
Canon 918 deals with Communion services. During Lent and Advent we have a 7:00 a.m. Communion service for working people who cannot participate in the daily (except Monday) Mass at 8:45 a.m. Should we be doing this? Does it qualify for the Canon as to just cause?
Also, some groups in the parish (RENEW, prayer groups, CRHP teams, etc.) request Communion services for their special occasions. How should these be handled?
Thank you and blessings on your work,
Deacon Larry Lottier
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on July 7, 2001
Dear Rev. Mr. Lottier,
Although it is not my decision to make, especially not knowing the details, I would say that this would qualify as a just reason. Notice that the word is just reason rather than the more familiar grave reason that we see when exceptions are made to norms.
I would say that is it a just reason because the priest has already scheduled and will be celebrating a Mass with a congregation. Apparently it is not possible to get the entire congregation at one time. Because the church encourages us to receive communion daily, then I think it is just to add a communion service.
I think that an UNJUST situation would be if simply the priest wanted to have a day off. I think that most priests already understand that it is okay and not too much work to celebrate a Mass with a congregation in the morning, then take the rest of the day off.
It may be good, depending on the situation and nature of the parish, for the priest to alternate at which time he offers Mass.
Prayer groups that are serious about their faith will schedule the meetings in such a way that it can be held immediately preceding or following an already scheduled Mass. If this is not possible, the pastor may be willing to offer a second Mass for the group, but he should not be expected to. Otherwise, the participants should attend a Mass individually so that a communion service is not necessary. Again, this will not be a problem if the participants are serious about their faith.
Thank you for writing,
Mr. Slavek
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