Masses in Private Homes, Offices and Funeral Parlors

 

Circular 2011/13

RE: Masses in Private Homes, Offices and Funeral Parlors

The present discipline of the Church mandates that “The celebration of the Eucharist is to be performed in sacred place, unless in a particular case necessity demands otherwise; in such a case the celebration must be done in a respectable place.” (CIC, 932,#1).

In the past, as an expression of pastoral charity, the celebration of Masses in private homes have been allowed for two specific situations, namely, during the wakes for the dead and for the anointing of the sick and the infirm who cannot attend Masses in the parish churches.

Likewise, Masses in funeral parlors have been given a general permission still in the same spirit of pastoral charity for the grieving family.

At the moment, Masses in private offices have been given a general permission too for the sake of adult catechesis and in order to promote Christian witnessing in the work place.

These general permissions are upheld by virtue of this letter.

Cognizant of the spiritual benefits of celebrating the Eucharist and the opportunity it offers for evangelization and catechesis, we hereby delegate the granting of permission to celebrate Masses in private homes, offices and funeral parlors to the parish priests or moderators of team ministries. The following guidelines must be strictly observed when Masses are celebrated in private home, offices or funeral parlors:

All the requirements for the valid, licit and dignified celebration of the Eucharist must be observed. In particular, we remind the priests that the chasuble and stole must always be worn by the celebrant. The altar must be covered by a white cloth and the table used as the altar must not be used for any other purpose after the liturgy. There must always be a short catechetical homily for such occasions. The Blessed Sacrament not consumed during Holy Communion must either be consumed by the priest during ablution or brought immediately to the nearest parish tabernacle without delay.

All the priests in the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan are beneficiaries of an indult from the Holy See allowing them to celebrate three Masses on weekdays and four Masses on Sundays taking into account the severe lack of priests and the need of communities quite far from the parish church for the presence of the Church. Please be reminded that the poor far flung communities must be the first beneficiaries of this indult. The regular barangay and sitio Mass schedule must not be prejudiced by Masses in private homes and offices. Absolute caution must be exercised to prevent any appearance of commercialization of the spiritual goods of the Church or that only the wealthy can avail of such blessings. Those who have less in life must have more from the Church.

In wakes at home or in funeral parlors where gambling takes place or loud music is being played, Masses must not be celebrated.

In Masses outside the church or oratory on the occasion of family reunions or traditional memorials of the dead, the Mass must not be celebrated in the same venue where the meal will be served. The area for the celebration of the Mass must be distinct and treated with reverence even after the Mass.

Any priest in good standing may celebrate in  or private homes, offices and funeral parlors after duly seeking the permission of the parish priest or the moderator of the team ministry. Needless to say, the parish priest carries the same privilege to celebrate Masses in the above mentioned places within his territorial jurisdiction according to his prudent judgment.

I pray that these instructions on the celebration of the Eucharist outside the churches and oratories may serve to deepen among us love for the Lord and our Holy Mother Church. I invoke the blessings of the Lord upon you.

Sincerely yours,

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan

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