Dear Dr. Carroll,
I was somewhat disturbed with what I read in a recent post about "women preaching and offering a substitute mass when the priest is not there." The poster may have been present at a communion service. As the wife of a Deacon and a Eucharistic Minister, I must say that it is valid to have a communion service if for some reason the priest is not available for mass. The format for the service includes doing the readings for the day, a short reflection on the readings is allowed under the rubrics governing the service, the Angus Dei and Lord's Prayer are recited and Communion is distributed. The rubrics state that a communion service may be done by anyone duly authorized (normally in parishes, Eucharistic Ministers) regardless of gender. It is in no way a "substitute mass" and should not be characterized as such. In most parishes that I have been at, communion services are usually held only when the priest scheduled for that mass (normally a daily mass) does not show either due to sickness or car trouble.