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Evansville, Indiana
July 2, 1993     The Message
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July 2, 1993

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2, 1993 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana C happens when Father can't come? By FATHER WILLIAM DEERING ..... Director. of Worship ...... - .... has happened already in our diocese: at least two times in re- s either the parish priest was too ill to preside at Eu- charist or the priest who was to come in was unable to get to the parish for mass. What were the people to do? In this day and age, as the number of priests has dwin- dled, we have fewer and fewer parishes with more than one priest. When a priest is unable to have Mass it is next to impossible to find another priest to fill in. In some places, there are parishes who regularly plan on not having a priest present. In this country from 1980 to the year 2000 the number of priests is at a decline of 30 percent. We in the Diocese of Evans- ville need only deal with un- planned priestless Sundays. To this end, the Council of Priests has adopted the pol- icy for the Diocese of Evans- ville, printed at right. Unplanned priestless Sunday 1. Unplanned absence is defined as an emergency event where the pastor or administrator experiences some un- foreseen illness or other situation making it impossible for a Saturday evening or Sunday parish Mass to be cele- brated, or where a priest scheduled to help is unable to fulfill the scheduled Mass (in this case where the local priest is also not available.) 2. In such a case the following procedures are to be followed: A. If the absence is unknown and unplanned, after a wait of 10 minutes, the designated person is to begin the Liturgy of the Word. B. The people are to be reminded that Christ is present and received in the Liturgy of the Word. C. The designated community leader who conducts the Liturgy of the Word shall notify the Bishop and the local dean as soon as possible. 3. The person or persons who will have the responsibility of responding to the emergency will have been previously designated by the local pastor, administrator, or pastoral life coordinator and trained by the diocesan office of wor- ship for the Liturgy of the Word. The person or persons could be a pastoral associate, deacon, Eucharistic minis- ter, lector or similar designated for his approval. I I Ul u ill I II II II I II I I I cy for unplanned priestless Sunday in effect since This policy was promul- gated by Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger on March 9, 1993 to be effective as of July 1, 1993. The policy stated says nothing of a Communion Service. Only the Liturgy of the Word. This is not to deprive the faithful of re- ceiving the sacrament. In fact, when the priestless Sunday is planned provisions have been made by the Bishops of this Country to include a commu- nion service. The policy of this dio- cese presumes that the number of hosts in the tabernacle are not suffi- cient to take care of the as- sembly. Liturgical Law states that enough conse- crated bread is to be kept in the tabernacle for shut- 1 ins, to be used as viaticum for private adoration. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal states: "It is most desirable that the faithful receive the Lord's body from hosts consecrated at the same Mass..." (56,h.} The reason being that the Eucharist is an "act!on," not a static "thing;" it is the action of the entire assembly to- gether with the presiding priest or bishop making the sacrifice of Jesus pre- sent and giving thanks and praise to God through Jesus. The act of commu- nicating at the table of the Lord follows the Eucharis- tic action. Hence the presumption that there are not enough hosts in the tabernacle for those assembled. Almost 400 people from around the diocese have been or will be trained. You will know who they are when they are pre- sented their certificates in their parish churches. It is hoped that the Un- planned Priestless Sunday is not a frequent occur- fence. However, we should all be reassured that we are not deprived from being in the real l)rcsenc:e of God. In St, Matthew's Gospel we read the promise of Jesus: "Where two or three are gathered in my name there I am in their midst." God is also present in his Word proclaimed within the assembly. The Constitution on the liturgy reminds us that Christ "is present in his word, since it is he himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church." And in the Dog- matic Constitution on Di- vine Revelation we read: "The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures as she vener- ated the Body of the Lord, in so far as she never ceases, particularly in the sacred liturgy, to partake of the bread of life and to offer it to the faithful from the one table of the word of God and the Body of i i L ,L Christ... And such is the force and power of the word of God that it can serve the Church as her support and vigor, and the children of the Church as strength for their faith, food for the soul, and a pure and lasting fount of spiritual life." Perhaps it is in times like this that part of Synod prayer takes on real mean- ing: "Empower us with Your Spirit to use fully the many gifts You have given us. Increase our faith. Help us to see Your plan for the Church."