Saturday, 19 May 2007

Eucharistic Services.

Where did they come from? I ask this because we now know that they are not a Rite of the Catholic Church.
Both "Redemptionis Sacramentum" and "Sacramentum Caritatis" speak very clearly about Celebrations in the abscence of a priest. Such Celebrations are extraordianary events to enable Catholics to pray together on Sundays when there is no priest. There is no intimation that these Celebrations can also be held on weekdays. The distribution of Holy Communion at such a Sunday Celebration requires the Bishop's permission. (Redemptionis Sacramentum, 162ff) Nor can lay people preside at any Liturgy. Only a priest can preside (even at a Liturgy of the Word).

Well, even though the era of experimentation is now over we will probably still find enclaves up and down the country where lay people open the taberbernacle, stand at the altar, give themselves Holy Communion before distributing the Sacred Species to others. These rogue services are more akin to Protestant Communion Services where there is neither Priest nor Sacrifice. The so called "Eucharistic Service" beguiled many for a time and has distracted us from "a genuine hunger for the Eucharist".

In my last parish I had to intervene on a number of occasions to correct a woman who was giving Benediction with the Monstrance to a group of other women!

8 comments:

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Years back i was made a Eucharistic Minister..did the training etc..& then promptly refused to do it. It felt awful up there on the sanctuary, playing Priest!

In the School i was expected to distribute Holy Communion alongside the Priest..i was unbelievably uncomfortable. If it was now of course i would refuse..but as a young teacher...

Fr Guy in the Primary School distributes Holy Communion himself. What's the rush?

Matt Doyle said...

We have eucharistic services for Catholics during the ecumenical service on a Wednesday afternoon here at the University of Birmingham. I say "we" but I've never had the pleasure of attending one of these.

Fr Richard Aladics said...

Being an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and helping at Mass is one thing, being one and leading/presiding at a Eucharistic Service is another.
The tide is turning Matt.

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Which way Fr Richard?

Fr Richard Aladics said...

Towards God.

Mark said...

The only thing I've ever thought near to this was something in the Catechism, I'm sure, talking about Catholic communities and what to do to fulfill the Sunday obligation when there was no Mass to go to and no Priest. But, I've never read about the quasi-liturgies described here!

Fr Julian Green said...

Matt - the communion service after the Wednesday worship is not led by a Minister of Holy Communion however but by me. The giving of Holy Communion outside Mass is something which is in the Roman Ritual, and always has been. Indeed, in the old days it was the norm in some parishes when Holy Communion was never given during Mass. Such services at Birmingham University have the specific permission of the Archbishop as an interim measure towards having an ecumenical service with no Eucharistic element, after I refused to carry on what was done before, which was the celebration of a Liturgy of the Eucharist preceded by a service presided over by lay people. My refusal prompted this compromise.

Matt Doyle said...

Well done Father Julian for helping the tide to reverse on campus!!