Communion Services

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  Greetings from Down Under.

There appears to be an increasing tendency by the hierarchy and others to intimate that as the number of priests in a diocese diminish the solution to this shortage of priests is to hold more Communion Services. Furthermore, when a priest is absent from his parish for a number of days due for example to being at a mandatory clergy in-service, the custom and practice is for laity to conduct Communion services rather than for example to recite the Liturgy of the Hours.

Is there material (maybe amongst your own publications) that demonstrates that Communion Services is not the ideal solution for replacing the celebration of the Eucharist (Mass). Is it true that Catholic laity and many priests seem to think that this is the way ahead? I hope it is not.


A:  Here’s an article I wrote in 1996.

It was a problem even then.

Liturgy of the hours would be great, but Catholics have a devotion to holy communion, so I doubt that it will change. The people coming to daily mass obviously prefer that to morning prayer, and they are a rather small cohort of the parish. Most Catholics who go to mass just go on Sundays, not on weekdays. So they’ve already decided that they can pray on their own 6 days a week without a priest, thank you very much.