Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Liturgical abuses in Valletta

St. Augustine Church, Valletta
In normal circumstances Bishops, priests and deacons distribute Holy Communion in virtue of their office as ordinary ministers of the Body and Blood of the Lord. 

The only exception should be when the size of the congregation or the incapacity of the bishop, priest, or deacon requires it, the celebrant may be assisted by other bishops, priests, or deacons. If such ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are not present:

 "the priest may call upon extraordinary ministers to assist him, i.e., duly instituted acolytes or even other faithful who have been deputed for this purpose. In case of necessity, the priest may also depute suitable faithful for this single occasion (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, GIRM 162)."

Alas, the parish of St. Augustine in Valletta is abusing this norm. It is happening quite often that during morning Mass, when the congregation is composed of a handful of people (20 at most), after the priest has concluded his own Communion, he distributes Communion to the extraordinary minister, and then hands the sacred vessels to him for distribution of Holy Communion to the people.

This is clearly an abuse - the priest is still relatively young and walks unaided.

Church authorities, kindly note. Perhaps such a practice has reduced attendance to this Mass which up to 3 years ago had a congregation of around 60.