FRAMINGHAM — Appeal Committee members continue to check on whether a Communion service at St. Jeremiah Church meets a Catholic’s weekly obligation to attend Sunday Mass after a canon lawyer told them it doesn’t.
Charles M. Wilson, executive director of the Saint Joseph Foundation in San Antonio, told Appeal Committee co-Chairwoman Mary Beth Carmody this week that the consensus among foundation members is Mass is part of the weekly duty.
"The Foundation believes that (Communion) services do not satisfy the obligation and has said so publicly on a number of occasions," said Wilson in an e-mail sent to the Daily News yesterday.
Members at other parishes in vigil in the Archdiocese of Boston told the Appeal Committee that Communion services satisfy a Catholic’s obligation to attend Mass of Sunday, said Carmody.
"I’m still trying to figure this whole thing out," she said. "I take this very seriously, and I want to find out the answer. I know it’s within canon law. The only question is whether it meets the weekly obligation."
Last week, in a statement, Bishop Richard Lennon, the archdiocese’s vicar general, said under Church law all Catholics have an obligation to participate at Sunday Mass unless it is impossible for them to attend.
Communion services do not fulfill one’s obligation to participate at Sunday Mass, Lennon said. [Source]
If a Catholic is unable to attend Mass because of distance, health or lack of availability, then their Sunday obligation is already dispensed. A Communion service might be a good thing to have when there truly is no priest available for Mass within the area – but in no way is it or could ever be a substitute for the Sacrifice of the Mass. To many places see Communion services as a way for lay participation and are robbing the faithful of participation in the Sacrifice of the Mass. Especially since when they do this people don’t take the effort to go to another parish that is actually offering Mass.