EWTN Catholic Q&A
Communion service without priest
Question from Jun Correa on 11-05-2007:

Hi! I'm a convert from the Philippines. Since my conversion in 1999, I often hear the term "Dry Mass" which really pertains to a communion service without a priest. This is usually conducted by a extraordinary minister of the holy communion. I tried reading the GIRM for guidelines but couldn't find any. My questions are:

1. Is this term "dry mass" a legitimate term used by the Church? 2. Where can I find guidelines for this? 3. Can this fulfill our Sunday obligation?

I asked these questions because two Sundays ago, my family went to a nearby chapel where a Sunday Mass is supposed to be celebrated by a priest but then only a extraordinary minister came with consecrated hosts. My family and I hurriedly left the chapel when the service was starting so we could catch the Sunday Mass at our town's parish. My conscience was bothered because I felt that we ignored our Lord's true presence in the consecrated hosts.

Thanks for your help.


Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 11-05-2007:

The term "dry Mass" is not a canonical term. I have never heard of it before.

If a person is able to attend Mass on Sunday, then the person is obligated to attend Mass. Attending a Communion service is never required and does not fulfill the obligation to attend Mass. You did the right thing of leaving in order to attend Mass elsewhere.

A Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest is permitted on occasions when it is impossible to have Mass and when no other nearby Mass is available. However, there is no obligation to attend such a service.