In light of my having to be away from the parish last month for a wedding and for the diocesan priests' convocation; and, then considering I am on vacation this month – out of town July 4th -15th, I thought it would be helpful to address the issue of Communion services again. I wrote about Communion services back in October of 2020, but here's a bit more.
The main point to stress is that while I really appreciate the hunger for Holy Communion in parishioners, Communion services are not something to be scheduled, given our situation, with several Masses available each weekend, and with daily Masses at towns that are pretty close to us. Communion services are really to be used in unexpected, emergency situations. Imagine the pastor waking up sick on a Sunday morning, and there's absolutely no way to find a guest priest quickly enough to offer Mass. In that case, the default would be a Communion service, led by one of our deacons. Communion services are scheduled in areas of the world where priests are so scarce that even weekly Mass is impossible. Those places exist: where a priest arrives at a town to celebrate Mass only once a month, or perhaps even less. Also, Communion services might be scheduled in nursing homes, given that priests already have many parish Masses and funerals.
When I am away from the parish on retreat, or vacation, or another commitment, we are trying to schedule Mass at least on Wednesday, and perhaps on Friday, if we can get a priest. Priests are very scarce for us as well. Even retired priests are already fully booked these days. They are not as available as some people might think. My staff can tell you how hard it is sometimes to find a priest to fill in, when I'm away. [You remember that the week of June 20th-23rd, most priests were up in Detroit at the diocesan priests' convocation. That made all priests especially scarce that weekend.]
On days with no scheduled Mass, groups could pray the Rosary together, or the Liturgy of the Hours. We have adoration still on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well. How right that parishioners have a hunger for the Eucharist! May that hunger lead us to pray for and encourage more vocations to the priesthood!
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu, Mariae et Iosephus,