Sacred duty

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  I write seeking helpful guidelines for proceeding in accord with scheduled Sunday and Weekday Celebrations of Mass in the sudden situation of not having a celebrant. We have only two parish priests and both from time to time are heavy sleepers. On some sleepy mornings, we have a full assembly of the faithful and a deacon in the church, but we are without a priest. 

The usual Plan B taken is for the Deacon to preside over an impromptu Communion Service. Sacred vessels are removed from the credence and the deacon then proceeds with the Rite of Communion of the Sick and Homebound. Readings for the day, a homily, and universal prayers are included. An alternate that has not been considered until now is that if the priest can arrive late, say 15 minutes or so, then waiting for the priest is the better choice. A drawback to that new idea is it fails to respect the busy schedules of parishioners. 

Do you see room for improvement?


A:  Have someone contact the priest thirty minutes before Mass to make sure he’s awake. A priest has a sacred duty to celebrate a scheduled Mass. If your priests need help waking up, that is the problem to address.

You may also notify the vicar general about your priests’ behavior.