Friday, August 22, 2008

Stuff Catholics Like

Communion Services - NOT

Ok for you non-Catholics, Communion Services (CS) are Mass wannabes or Mass Lite. They are the Vanilla Ice and Milli Vanilli's of the church world.

They are used in place of Mass, normally on weekdays but sometimes on Sunday's, when a priest isn't available to say Mass. They follow the same basic pattern as the Mass but omit the consecration of the bread and wine (the most important part). Communion is distributed using Hosts that have been previously consecrated by a priest.

Usually, but not always, a Deacon will perform them. Sometimes it's a nun or, God help us, a lay person (regular dude or dudette). The lay people that do them are almost always some grey-haired priest-wannabe lady who can't wait to get up there on the altar and play church. One of the worse parts is the almost forcing of people to hold hands during the Our Father. Touch my hand hippy dude and it's go time. A half hour of this is way more painful than running a marathon, trust me.

I can't go to them any longer. My net grace for the day ends up in the negative. The ton of grace I get for receiving communion is wiped-out (and then some) by me wanting to stuff the person performing the CS into the baptismal font or using them to reenact the stoning of St Stephen (not that kind of stoning Donk).

The painfulness of these things are fresh in my mind. Sam and I went to one last Monday at the beach. At our home church daily mass lasts 25-30 minutes tops. This CS lasted 37 minutes! Yes I timed it. The guy doing it, deacon maybe but I'm not sure, gave a 10 minute homily!!! My priests at home don't preach that long at Sunday Mass. Yo Chatty Cathy, it's 9am at the beach on a sunny day, shut the yapper and get on with it. I've got my skin cancer to work on.

Sam is much more patient than I am, duh. She goes to them a fair amount of the time and somehow tolerates them - I guess living with me for almost 20 years has given her infinite patience. The benefits of receiving holy communion out weigh all the negatives of the junk that goes with a CS for Sam.

Yes I know that in some cases they are better than nothing (barely). And that in some area's of the country that's all people can get on Sunday. But our area has plenty of priests and there is really no excuse for having then on a regular basis. Besides I hate them almost as much as I hate that pinko-commie Sign of Peace.

Ok, I feel better now. Deep breaths Rob...


sam the wife said...

Play nice, don't the uncharitable comments dear!!! +JMJ+

Colleen said...

I feel your pain! We just recently had a visiting priest at our parish who likes to hear himself talk so much that he gives a "prequel" before every reading. That's right, he tells us what the reading is going to be about, and then we still have to hear the reading. Crazy! Priests are AMAZING and I love a good homily, but when they start adding in all this funny/unnecessary stuff, it really puts me over the edge.

Roger said...

I am so glad that we have a lot of priests near us that we have never had to have a communion service, so I can't complain.

I am NOT a fan of holding hands during the Our Father, and I personally want a little more Latin - it's so cool, especially if you understand it, which I should be able to eventually since we're having all of our kids learn it.

At least the beach was still sunny when you were done though, right? :)

Rob said...

Colleen - Yeah the priest at the beach gave a mini-homliy at the start of Mass, before we could even sit down. A regular homily. And then another mini-homliy at the end of Mass right before the dismissal...and this was for daily Mass. The thing is he seemed like a good priest and had good things to say - it was just way too long and at the wrong time

Roger (what a great name) -

I love the latin too. We used to have a Latin Mass once a month at our church. Then our old pastor had the nerve to get old and die ;). It was cool while iut lasted. Too bad I went to CCD during the 70's and got Zero Latin - but I know all the words to Kumbaya.

Yeah the weather was perfect at the beach.

mary margaret said...

Rob, I really have to agree with you on this one. I do not attend communion services, because I intensely dislike them. The main reason is because the person who leads them (no Deacons in my diocese) are basically trying to "play priest". Yeah, they don't pretend to consecrate the bread and wine, but the impression that they give is that they could, if only the Big, Bad Church would just get with the program.

Heck, I grew up in a mission parish. Our Priest rode the "circuit"--three parishes each Sunday. There were no daily Masses available in my home town (and no Communion services, either). Frankly, it was a great blessing that we had Sunday Mass without driving 20 miles.

BTW, the US Open Tennis tournament is coming--care to pick a winner??

Rob said...

TG - I'm gonna ride the Nadal train for now. I know it's hardcourt but he's on a roll.

How about you?

NancyP said...

Well...let me offer another perspective. I worked as a DRE on a small overseas military base. The first priest I worked for was just fine. The second often dumped me with communion service duty (we had noon Mass three days a week) so he could either schmooze with the base brass or hang out in the classified work area with the airmen. I, lay person, was extremely uncomfortable and unhappy with that situation. Most days, no one showed up, but I conducted quite a few communion services because, well, people were there. Believe me, I have never, ever wanted to be a priest. I just wanted to do the best I could under bad circumstances that I could not control.

I eventually quit in frustration over this and several other issues. I plan never to work in a parish setting again.

I hope you'll revise your opinion of all lay ministers...some of us are just as trapped in the communion service box as you are. We just don't feel able to tell you about it. We want you to meet Jesus in the Eucharist, untainted by our personal struggles.

Rob said...

Nancy - I have lots of friends who are lay ministers. I was just making a joke about some who can't wait for the priest to leave so they can play priest. I knwo that sometimes CS's are the only choice for some people to receive. I just personally can't stand going to them, while my wife can handle them fine....

nancyp said...


Actually, I can't stand going to them either. Even when there's an emergency and the priest can't make it.

That's what made my bizarre situation so much worse.