Friday, March 05, 2010

a hypothetical

OK, this one goes out the the Priests:

Today is, on the calendar, the first Friday of the month of March.

On the liturgical calendar, it is Friday of the Second Week of Lent.

According to the rules, one must celebrate the Lenten weekday (which takes precedence over any celebration of a Votive Mass in honor of the Sacred Heart, which is an option during Ordinary Time).

Are ya' with me so far?

On First Fridays (theoretically in honor of the First Friday devotion), myself and the Deacons of the parish make Communion calls to homebound parishioners.

But, if there is no First Friday liturgical devotion today, could a pastor, hypothetically, intentionally NOT make Communion calls?

[I know, I know: "But, Father, these people wait for you each week".]

I know what the answer is on the emotional level. I'm asking on the catechetical level. Could this be a "teaching moment" in a penitential season, to show that Lent is different from the rest of the year? Is asking the homebound to make a "Spiritual Communion" as a Lenten sacrifice "over the top"?

For those who have not had a Priest come to your home to bring Holy Communion to a loved one who is either sick or unable to get to Mass, realize that they days seem to be long gone when the house would have a reverential silence from the time the Priest entered the door with the pyx containing Our Lord. Gone are the days of someone in the family meeting you at the door with a lit candle, and a table laid out with a white cloth and candles and a crucifix.

So, anyway, all you clergy out there, ponder my question and let me know what you think.

Meanwhile, I'm off to do my Communion Calls.


Fr. Selvester said...

People aren't asked to fast from the sacraments in Lent. The prohibition against votive Masses on a Lenten weekday is merely a liturgical distinction that determines HOW the liturgy should be celebrated. (i.e. giving precedence to the season)

But, the idea of receiving Communion on First Friday isn't inextricably tied to a Mass of the Sacred Heart. In fact, even the devotion of going to Mass on First Fridays "works" in places where the priest chooses not to say a votive Mass of the Sacred Heart.

So, the liturgical distinctions should not determine that the faithful who wish to receive Holy Communion once a month should be deprived of that. I do think that asking someone to forego Communion because it is Lent is "over the top" as you put it. That might only teach them that Lent is a season of self-punishment. Besides, I come back to my first point: we don't fast from the sacraments (or sacramentals) in Lent.

If you really wanted to then perhaps in Lent you could sidestep the whole "problem" by making your Communion calls on the second Friday of the month and use that shift as a way of teaching about the importance of giving due precedence to Lent?

Victoria said...

Having a very devout grandmother, when my time came to receive Holy Communion at home I knew to put out the sick call set and, although I was unable to receive the pastoral associate at the door with a lighted candle, received her in silence and waited for the reading of the scriptures and the giving of Holy Communion.

Sister, a lovely woman, didn't know what the sick call set was and didn't stop talking until she said the Our Father and gave me Holy Communion and immediately started talking again.

I have been receiving Holy Communion at home for a year now and father hasn't once enquired if I wished him to hear my confession. He has specifically instructed the people who distribute Holy Communion at the hospital not to ask if anyone wishes to have their confession heard.