Part 5 Structure and Elements

Chapter 55 Holy Communion Outside of Mass

Preliminary Questions



History of Holy Communion Outside of Mass

Mass of the Presanctified


Preliminary Questions


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Taft, Robert F.  "The Frequency of the Celebration of the Eucharist Throughout History", in Between Memory and Hope, ed. Maxwell E. Johnson (The Liturgical Press Collegeville, Minnesota), Chapter 5, 77-98.

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Luther held fro the sacramental somatic presence of Christ:  Christ is present in usu, i.e., in the accomplishment (or celebration) of the sacrament.  However, this does not mean simply at the moment of the administration of the sacrament.  He wanted to recover the "event" character of the eucharistic action.  In usu means within the scope of the command of Christ.  The command of Christ concerns an action:  "Do this..." But to do this involves the distribution and the eating and drinking along with thanksgiving.  Moreover, Luther does not seem to have seriously challenged the eschatological meaning of the sacrament; for if Christ makes the sign, it remains as long as the bread and wine remain.  For although he is not favorable to the specific Catholic practice of ritual veneration of the Eucharist, he does no oppose bringing the Eucharist to the sick outside the liturgical celebration. (Kilmartin, 158)

History of Holy Communion Outside of Mass

Apostolic [0-399]

Faithful took Bread home to eat during the week, on journey's etc.

Becomes a talisman and is legislated against.


Patristic [400-799] —




Early Medieval [800-1199] —

Death bed Reconciliation and Viaticum.


Medieval [1200-1299] —



Late Medieval [1300-1499] —



Reformation [1500-1699] —



After Trent [1700-1899] —



Before Vat II [1900-1959] —



Vatican II [1960-1999] —



Tomorrow [2000-2099] —

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Mass of the Presanctified

Mass of the Presanctified refers to a mass in which the bread and wine have been consecrated at a previous eucharist.  They have been "Presanctified"  they are taken from the eucharistic chapel and brought to the altar in a solemn procession.  The Mass of the Presanctified usually historically included the gathering rites the Liturgy of the Word followed by selected prayers of thanksgiving with the procession to the place of repose.  Bringing the eucharistic bread and wine to the altar of sacrifice followed by the Lord's Prayer, the Communion Rite, and the Commissioning Rite.  It was presided over only by a priest.

The last example of the mass of the Presanctified in the Roman Rite was found in the Good Friday Liturgy in the Missal of Trent which was in effect until the revision of Holy Week in 1955 by Pope Pius XII.

In issuing Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of the Priest the Holy sea is extremely careful to distinguish this rite from mass of the Presanctified so that there is no confusion between the role of authorized (ordained) and unauthorized minister of the eucharist.  Part of this caution results, I believe, from the fear of the clericalization of the laity prevalent in some quarters in the early twenty first century. 

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Anointing With Holy Communion In A Home

1. Start Hello. [Health assessment.]

Baptism (water: not sin but vows). Prayer.

2. Word Depending on health assessment, as Sunday Eucharist, including General Intercessions.

3. Response

A. Imposition of hands.

B. Berakah: Blessing God over the oil.

C. Anointing.

D. Prayer

4. Eucharist (Thanksgiving)

The Lord's Prayer

Meal Sharing (Communion) [Match Sunday experience.]

Prayer after Communion

5. End Blessing. Announcements. Touch.


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© Copyright: Tom Richstatter, Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist, Cincinnati Ohio, Order of Friars Minor. All Rights Reserved.  This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Every effort has been, and is being made, to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own.  Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it.  This site was updated on 03/20/15 .  Your comments on this site are welcome at