Tuesday, May 19, 2020 –
Now that we have discussed the “what is” and the “how tos” of the Eucharist, let’s get into a few of the “what if” scenarios. Keep in mind a lot of these questions come from third graders. There may be some real doozies…
What if I have missed Mass or committed a mortal sin? Should I receive the Eucharist the next time I come to Church?
If you committed a mortal sin, you must receive the Sacrament of Penance before receiving the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Missing Mass on purpose, without a just reason, is a serious sin.
However, if you have no way of getting to Mass (i.e. you cannot drive and your parents will not take you), or you are ill or have a serious reason, then you are not to blame for missing Mass.
What if I missed Mass on purpose?
See previous question. Missing Mass is a serious sin. You should go to Confession before going to Communion.
What if I have no way of getting to Mass? (i.e. I cannot drive, I am stuck on the moon, or my house is surrounded by 20 feet of snow?)
If you truly have no way of getting to Mass, then it is not your fault for missing Mass. Do take time to pray and reflect on the readings for Sunday. If you are still unsure, ask a priest.
What if I am truly scared to leave my house and miss Mass?
If you are truly and wholly scared to leave your house, then you should consult a Priest about your fears. No Priest wants you to live in dire fear. They want to help you, but they also want you to understand that you are not held to an impossible standard. True fear—whether it is from driving in icy conditions or from a virus—is justifiable reason for missing Mass. However, I strongly encourage you to reach out to your Priest so he can help you.
We are currently in a very trying and somewhat scary time. Many people fear leaving their home because of coronavirus. Thankfully, many Bishops have given a blanket dispensation for the foreseeable future regarding Mass. In our own diocese, the faithful are not obliged to attend Mass. In fact, the most vulnerable populations (elderly, infirm, etc.) are even encouraged by our Bishop to remain home. No Bishop or Priest wants you risk your health or life. Remember, you are not expected to do the impossible!
What should I do if I cannot receive Communion?
If you cannot receive Communion (perhaps you were not able to get to Confession), then you should continue to kneel in your pew during Communion and make a Spiritual Communion. Briefly get up to let others around you get to Communion if they need to, but immediately return to kneeling and prayer.
I saw Father ask for “the people bringing Communion to the homebound to step forward.” What does this mean and who are these people?
Father is asking for his specially appointed people to come forward. These people are Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC). They have been commissioned by the Bishop to help Father distribute the Eucharist when Father needs help. He sometimes asks these people to visit the sick and shut-in. They take the Eucharist directly from Mass to the sick, read the readings to them, and administer (give) them the Holy Eucharist.
What if I am in the hospital or unable to get to Mass (elderly, shut-in, etc.)? Can someone bring me the Eucharist?
If you are in the hospital for a long time or unable to leave your house, you can call the Church office and talk with the priest about homebound Communion. Depending on your needs or how long your stay is, he may appoint one of the EMHCs to bring you the Eucharist on Sunday.
Be aware, however, that many Bishops have currently suspended homebound Eucharist until further notice for all but the most dire circumstances (i.e. threat of death).
What if I am sick? Do I have to come to Mass?
NO! You are allowed to miss Mass if you are truly sick. Also, it is kind of yucky to spread germs around. Please understand that “sick” usually does not mean a slight tummy ache or paper cut. Use your best judgement, but also do not try to “skirt the system” by thinking every little “issue” is a reason to miss Mass.
What should I do if I feel sick during Mass?
Take care of you, even if that means leaving. You can absolutely leave Mass early if you start to feel sick. Nobody, especially the priest, wants you to throw up, pass out, or get other people sick.
Saint Mark Ji TianXiang, pray for us!