Saturday, September 10, 2011

When Mass Becomes a Near Occasion of Sin

I try to support the Mass in both forms in my parish because the same priest, our pastor, celebrates both and does so with the utmost reverence and care. Now, if he could only get the rest of the parish to follow suit.

Rebecca was scheduled to lector at the Vigil Mass this evening.  She is very careful with her dress and her mannerisms and takes care to read in such as way as to make herself invisible.  At the exchange of peace, she remains at her place and simply nods toward the priest.   When we don't have a server, Father expects her to take a paten and assist him with distributing Holy Communion.  She spent enough years as an altar server to know what to do.  She gets to Mass about 30 minutes before it's scheduled to start, and then she goes over the readings and sets a paten at the place where she will be sitting.  She takes nothing upon herself and everything she does is sanctioned by the pastor.

Tonight, I once again had to bury my head in my hands so as not to see the fiasco that a wanna-be EM caused.  He took it upon himself to approach the altar at Holy Communion so that he could "assist" by holding a paten.  He caused such a disruption that I no longer thought that I should approach the altar because of the anger I felt. Rebecca was trying to make her Communion when he asked her where the second paten was.  She shrugged.  He then kept asking the priest where the second paten was, and then he preceded the priest off the altar, the priest who was carrying the Ciborium.  Then he put his hands on Father and directed him where to stand.  And then he directed Rebecca to go assist the EM as he would be assisting Father.

You don't see this nonsense at the Extraordinary Form.  But I would submit that if we no longer had EM's, we wouldn't see this at the Novus Ordo either.  Then again, if the altar boys would show up once in awhile, it probably wouldn't happen either as there would be no void for anyone to think they have to fill.

The gentleman in question has been leaving hints for a few years that he'd like to be an EM.  Thankfully, his request has fallen on deaf ears, because I can just imagine what we'd have to endure otherwise.

I said a Hail Mary for myself and another for my poor pastor.  It's not the time to correct someone when he's holding the Sacred Body of Christ.  But I bet I know what he was thinking.

How long, oh Lord, how long?


  1. you have my sympathies. I see enough to make me want to run screaming--

  2. I'm sure you do. The larger the parish, the more EM's, the more likely you are to see this kind of stuff. We don't even have that many EM's, only one per Mass, but some people still find a way to disrupt the solemnity.

  3. I counted 15 EM's at the 6:00 Mass tonight.

  4. Caroline, that is unbelievable. Here is the thing: would there ever have been 15 priests at that same church administering Holy Communion?

    About how many people attend the Mass?

  5. And how many minutes are we really saving? I mean--we are talking about 15 minutes TOPS, for a well attended mass. Are we all that important to the world that it can't spare us for a few extra minutes. Not even to mention that God has such a low priority, that we can't give Him some of our time, so that His priests can administer the Sacraments to all the parishioners.

  6. Could you even imagine 15 priests ? I'm not good at estimating numbers..It's a big parish, but believe me there are plenty of empty seats at the Masses. I'd say maybe 300 were there last night.

  7. What drives me crazy is when a seminarian is assisting at Mass, but has apparently been instructed to take a seat during the distribution of Holy Communion, in favor of the EM's. Even worse, is when a visiting priest, often a missionary, remains seated (or kneeling) while the EM's take over.

    While traveling, on at least two occasions, we have found ourselves at Masses in which the celebrant, astoundingly, took a seat for the entire time, and the EM's were the only ones giving out Holy Communion.

    So sad...I have a secret loathing of the entire ministy of EM's, even though I know that it is sometimes necessary. But it has been exploited to the point of absurdity. Doesn't anyone know what "extraordinary" means anymore?

  8. Patricia, that drives me to distraction as well, except our pastor has instructed the EM's who assist at Mass that when there is a visiting priest, they are not to come forward. He also has instructed them that if a visiting priest is celebrating Mass, and he is available, he will come out of the sacristy after the Our Father and that will be a signal that no EM should come forward. Now if he only get the wannabe gentleman in line (sigh).

    Kelly, I would submit it would add a negligible amount of time, maybe 5 minutes? I agree with your sentiments about our self of self-importance. Sad.


Comments which reflect true Christian charity are always welcome. Comments which attack the Pope, the Church, priests or other bloggers will go in the dustbin, especially if they are anonymous. Thank you and God Bless you!