Lay Communion services should be used more

Dear Editor, The hope expressed by Fr Paddy Gleeson (IC Letters 18/12/2014) that the bishops will keep the pastoral care of the faithful, and especially the elderly, in mind in the area of keeping available the reception of Holy Communion in the situation where Mass is no longer available, is timely. The bishops are coming up with varying and differing ways of dealing with the ever-growing shortage of priests.

While no moves have been made to rationalise the number of diocesan bishops we have the amalgamation of parishes, which are the basic Christian communities, and the appointment of "co-parish priests" of up to five parishes, where neither the priests nor the parishioners can easily get to know one another.
Last year through The Irish Catholic we read reports of the various pressures on parochial clergy sometimes leading to severe stress and occasionally to suicide in the priesthood.

Unfortunately a number of priests who have reached and spoken out on difficult institutional Church teachings/rulings were either banned or silenced by either Vatican authorities or local bishops. It is fortunate that other local priests continue to administer the sacraments such as the Communal rite of Reconciliation to meet the pastoral needs of their parishioners thus keeping such parishioners within and part of the Christian community. Making the point that the pastoral needs of the local Church community are sometimes more important than the institutional Church's current interpretations.
Indeed Fr Gleeson's reminder of the practice of Eucharistic Communion services in the absence of a priests is timely especially for parish communities where there is a shortage of priests and hopefully this practice will be more widely used, as is already practiced in the UK, USA and elsewhere.

Yours etc.,

John Power,


Dublin 9.