WHICH ORDINARY TO MENTION AT MASS

And More on Self-communion

ROME, SEPT. 27, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Q: When a priest is celebrating the liturgy of one rite in a church or institution of another rite, which ordinary has primacy of remembrance in the commemorations: the bishop of the rite being celebrated or the bishop whose diocese the church or institution is in? Similarly, I belong to an Eastern-rite religious community. But, because of our evangelical ministries — for example, Teen Encounter and Cursillo — in our community’s spiritual center, we have biritual faculties in the Roman rite as well. The majority of our attendees belong to the Roman rite. Therefore, this question: When we celebrate Mass in the Roman rite, which ordinary ought to have primacy of remembrance, the ordinary of our institution or the local Roman-rite ordinary? Finally, I took over the ministry at a local assisted-living facility. The priest who did it faithfully for several years returned to Lebanon and the social director ask me to continue. Since he had been celebrating the Maronite liturgy (in English, of course) for the residents, I am doing the same. The majority of the tiny congregation, however, is Roman rite. Again the question: Which ordinary has the primacy of remembrance, the Maronite ordinary or that of the local diocese? (The facility is not a Catholic one.) — J.T., Methuen, Massachusetts

A: This is not an easy question and there may be no clear-cut answer as the situations can vary widely.

The purpose of mentioning the Pope, the local ordinary and in some cases the patriarch or major archbishop in the Eucharistic Prayer is not a question of honor or respect but of communion. As the Roman Canon says, we pray “una cum,” “together with,” the Pope and the local bishop. In a way this mention renders each local assembly a true manifestation of the universal Church.

In the Latin rite the criterion for mentioning the local bishop is based on territorial jurisdiction. Only a bishop who has present jurisdiction over the territory or place where the Mass is celebrated is mentioned.

The priest may optionally mention the auxiliary bishop by name; or do so collectively if there is more than one auxiliary. Not mentioned are bishops emeritus or bishops who preside over a celebration outside of their diocese.

There are some special cases in which territorial jurisdictions do not coincide with diocesan borders. For example, a military ordinary usually exercises his territorial jurisdiction over military bases around the country and it is his name which is mentioned when Mass is celebrated in those bases or on navy ships. The recently appointed Anglican ordinary will exercise his jurisdiction over the churches and other institutions that pertain to the ordinariate and his name is mentioned when Mass is celebrated in those churches.

When priests are traveling, they only mention the bishop of the place where they happen to be celebrating Mass, and never their own ordinary, even if they are celebrating for groups from their own diocese.

This is the case of the Latin rite. With respect to the Eastern Catholic Churches, my knowledge does not extend to the particular laws and customs on each and every one of them. I believe that they follow the same basic rule of territorial jurisdiction, but some might also have other special forms of jurisdiction.

For example, jurisdiction in India’s Syro-Malabar Church is basically territorial, although the jurisdiction of the Archeparchy of Kottayam is co-extensive with that of the territory of the Syro-Malabar Church. This eparchy serves exclusively the members of the Knanaya community which traces its origin from a group of 72 Judeo-Christian families who arrived in India from Mesopotamia in A.D. 345. If a member of this diocese marries outside of the community, he or she ceases to pertain to the archeparchy and is incorporated into the eparchy of residence.

Thus the variety of the venerable Eastern Churches precludes a definitive answer for all cases. At the same time, I believe it is safe to say that when celebrating according to an Eastern liturgy the question of which bishop should be named should be resolved according to the laws and customs of the specific Eastern Church and not those of the Latin rite.

With this in mind I would say the following with respect to the specific questions.

If Mass is celebrated in a church or monastery which falls under the territorial jurisdiction of an Eastern bishop, then he should be mentioned even in those cases where the Mass happens to be celebrated according to the Latin rite. The local Latin-rite bishop would still have authority over the celebration of the Roman Mass at the church, and any norms he has given regarding liturgical practice for his diocese should be followed.

When, as mentioned above, an Eastern priest celebrates Mass according to his own rite outside of a place under the territorial jurisdiction of his own eparch, the mention of the bishop will be based on the laws and customs of the rite itself. If those laws allow for the mention of the local Latin ordinary, well and good; if not, then the priest follows his own tradition. The fact that most of the people assisting at an Eastern Mass might belong to the Latin rite would not determine which bishop was named.

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Follow-up: Self-communion

Several readers asked for further clarifications regarding self-communion, an issue we dealt with in the Sept. 13 follow-up article.

One correspondent asked: “Relative to the interesting discussion regarding self-communion at Mass by extraordinary ministers, which I understand (from your ZENIT article) is prohibited, I wonder whether this prohibition also pertains to extraordinary ministers who offer Christ’s blood to the faithful at weekday Masses. On Sunday Mass, with multiple extraordinary ministers engaged, the extraordinary ministers form a prayer circle after Mass and pass the cup around to each other in a circle, doing so with proper reverence, seemingly in compliance with the Holy See’s instructions. Our practice in weekday Masses, however, is quite different. Normally there are only two extraordinary ministers offering the Blood. If all the Blood is not consumed during distribution, then our practice has been that each extraordinary minister consumes what remains in the chalice as he takes the cup to the sanctuary side-table. Is this improper self-communication? If so, one might correct this by having the two ministers administer the unconsumed Blood to each other. But I wonder what the practice should be if, for some reason, there is only one extraordinary minister distributing the Blood?

“In a related matter, when I take Communion to a homebound individual and find that for some reason I am unable to distribute the host, I have always said a prayer and consumed the host myself. Our pastor has allowed this as an alternative to bringing the unconsumed host to the rectory. Presumably one would do the latter in the case of multiple unconsumed hosts, but I personally have never encountered that particular situation.”

According to the U.S. norms for distribution of Communion under both kinds:

“52. When more of the Precious Blood remains than was necessary for Communion, and if not consumed by the bishop or priest celebrant, ‘the deacon immediately and reverently consumes at the altar all of the Blood of Christ which remains; he may be assisted, if needs dictate, by other deacons and priests.’ When there are extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, they may consume what remains of the Precious Blood from their chalice of distribution with permission of the diocesan bishop.”

First of all, it is presumed in this case that the extraordinary ministers have first received Communion from another minister before initiating the distribution of Communion. This is why their later consuming would not be a simple self-communion.

If there is only one extraordinary minister, then the priest and/or deacon would consume the extra Precious Blood. Since the number of those attending daily Mass is usually quite regular, it should be fairly easy to calculate the amount of wine needed for consecration. The extraordinary minister should consume from the chalice only if the celebrant were impeded for some legitimate reason.

It is not correct to consume the Precious Blood after Mass. If the extraordinary ministers have received necessary permission from the bishop, they should consume immediately after the distribution of Communion. It is probable that this practice is based upon a misinterpretation of the norms that allow for the purification of the sacred vessels after Mass.

With respect to the situation when the extraordinary minister is unable to distribute a host, I would say that in this case it is legitimate for the minister to consume the host. If possible, it would be preferable to give two hosts to the last communicant, but such situations are not always foreseeable.

An English reader asked for clarification on the point that the minister might not receive twice. He wrote: “It is my understanding that ministers, and indeed everyone, can receive Holy Communion a second time in a day provided that they are ‘participating’ in a sacrament, which the minister you refer to would be. Can you please clarify this point, and perhaps expand upon what qualifies as ‘participating’ in such cases?”

There appears to be a misunderstanding of the law on this point. At one time there was a doubt regarding the meaning of the word iterum (which can mean either “again” or “a second time”) in Canon 917. The Holy See’s body for authentically interpreting laws decided that it meant “a second time.” Therefore, except in the case of viaticum for the dying, a second communion is permissible only within Mass, not at any sacramental celebration. Communion outside of Mass is not, strictly speaking, a sacrament. This term would only apply to the Eucharistic celebration itself.

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Readers may send questions to liturgy@zenit.org. Please put the word “Liturgy” in the subject field. The text should include your initials, your city and your state, province or country. Father McNamara can only answer a small selection of the great number of questions that arrive.

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