Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

From the December AD 2001
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin

    Question:  We attended a funeral Mass recently at which the priest did not distribute Holy Communion -- Why?

   Answer: Apart from All Souls Day, even though the celebration of Mass is always the "public worship of the Church, a Requiem is somewhat "private." It is assumed that in a given church the Mass of the day also will also have been celebrated, and that the faithful will have received Holy Communion during It. Until the early part of the twentieth century the Church's Eucharistic fast encouraged reception of Communion at the earlier Mass. You may have noticed in your missal that the "Kiss of Peace" and the associated Communion prayer are omitted from requiems -- the reason being that these are connected to the reception of Holy Communion by the faithful.1

    In the years before Vatican II the Church recognized that the friends and relatives of the deceased might have a strong desire to receive Holy Communion at his funeral, offering the graces received for his swift departure from Purgatory. And quite practically speaking, some of those at the Requiem Mass may have had no other opportunity to receive their daily Communion. So the Church does allow the celebrant of a Requiem to distribute Holy Communion if he judges it opportune.

    Yet, on the other hand, particularly in light of the great loss of faith since the Council, priests may have a significant reason for not distributing Communion at funerals. We have all heard stories about modernist Catholics who receive Communion regularly without have been to Confession in years, and about celebrities and politicians who live notoriously immoral lives -- sometime not even Catholic -- who prresent themselves to receive Communion. Funerals bring out a whole cross section of people, often including some who ought not receive Communion. No priest wants to see any of these folks in a position where they feel compelled to receive sacrilegiously for social reasons. So sometimes, particularly at emotional times like funerals, it just makes sense to avoid the problems.

    In any event, the Mass is quite complete, even if ony the celebrant receives our Lord in Holy Communion.


   1. See Q&A, "Sign of Peace in the Traditional Mass?" Parish Bulletin, June 1994


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Our Lady of the Rosary, 144 North Federal Highway (US#1), Deerfield Beach, Florida 33441  954+428-2428
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