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Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest

Introduction to the Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest

The Diocese of Manchester has been blessed for many years with a sufficient number of priests to celebrate Mass for the faithful; unfortunately the number of ordinations does not at this time replace those priests who have given a lifetime of service to our local church. In light of this reality it may be difficult in the future to provide a Sunday Mass every week in every parish of the diocese. This situation is not unique to us alone, but also exists in other dioceses of the United States and in other countries. In order to address this, on June 30, 1988, at the specific request of Pope John Paul II, the Congregation for Divine Worship published a Directory for Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest.

The approved guidelines and procedures for the Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest in the Diocese of Manchester will enable the people of the Diocese to remain vibrant Catholic communities centered in the Eucharist. With the hope that we may always provide the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass every Sunday in every parish this provision is meant for the unfortunate occasion when a priest may not be present to celebrate the Sunday Mass or a Holy Day of obligation in his parish. Let us continue to pray that the faithful in the Diocese of Manchester will always be able to celebrate the Eucharist each Sunday which is the fullest sign of our unity in faith through the Risen Lord.

Permanent Deacons and two lay people from each parish have been trained to lead a Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest in the event that a priest is not available to celebrate Mass on a Sunday (Saturday vigil) or Holy Day. The resources on this page are made available to assist those who have been trained as Lay Leaders of Prayer to be prepared to lead a Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest.

Message from Bishop McCormack (pdf)

Background and Policy (pdf)

Guide to Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest (pdf)

Sacristy Checklists:

Video: Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest led by a lay person.

Video: Part 1: Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest led by a deacon.

Video: Part 2: Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest led by a deacon.

Diocese of Manchester
The Catholic Church in New Hampshire

153 Ash Street, Box 310
Manchester, NH 03105-0310
(603) 669-3100
Fax: (603) 669-0377

© Diocese of Manchester