DSCAP 18-19: Conditions for Celebration

Chapter II of the Directory for Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest covers numbered sections 18 through 34. Here, we’ll discuss “Conditions for Holding Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest.”

So, a priest isn’t available or doesn’t show up. It could happen for lots of reasons. In my experience, snowfall and oversleep and medication adjustment and just simply unreachable. For colleagues in ministry, there is no priest available.

Church teaching here is simple: go somewhere with a priest.

18. Whenever and wherever Mass cannot be celebrated on Sunday, the first thing to be ascertained is whether the faithful can go to a church in a place nearby to participate there in the Eucharistic mystery. At the present time this solution is to be recommended and to be retained where it is in effect; but it demands that the faithful, rightly imbued with a fuller understanding of the Sunday assembly, respond with good will to a new situation.

And this can be a challenge in some situations. People who once had a resident priest now lack one. The reasons might be sound and well-discerned, but some resentment lingers. Perhaps the good will here can and should be mutual. A bishop can no longer staff a parish with a weekend presider. Will he go himself a few times a year and offer it up to good will? Will he permit liturgy led by deacons or lay people even if that is not his preference? Good attitudes are catchy. Who leads?

19. The aim is that the riches of Sacred Scripture and of the Church’s prayer be amply provided to the faithful gathered on Sundays in various ways even apart from Mass. For the faithful should not be deprived of the readings that are read at Mass in the course of a year, nor of the prayers of the liturgical seasons.

The importance of the Lectionary cycle is a prime consideration. Likewise the prayers of the Missal. Does the DDWDS means the core seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter? Or would they include the procession of Sundays in Ordinary Time?

Directory for Sunday Celebrations in the absence of a priest English translation © 1988, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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