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David wrote:

Hi, guys —

  1. It is allowable for a concelebrant of the Mass to perform the Fraction Rite instead of the celebrant?
  2. I realize this would be a strange circumstance, but is there a rule anywhere that states the concelebrant cannot perform certain functions as long as the celebrant is present?
  3. Can one presume that if the celebrant is physically unable or falls ill, the concelebrant can continue the Mass?

Thank you so much for any and all help.


  { Is a concelebrant, instead of the celebrant, allowed to perform the Fraction Rite during Mass? }

Our colleague Andrew replied:

Hi, David!

  1. The Fraction Rite within the Mass is described in the (GIRM) General Instruction of the Roman Missal at section 83, which begins,

    "The Priest breaks the Eucharistic Bread, with the assistance, if the case requires, of the Deacon or a concelebrant."

    Source: Chapter II: The Structure of the Mass, Its Elements, and Its Parts

    The need doesn't have to be something unexpected. It could be a matter of physical frailty and discomfort (for example, if the priest has arthritis) or it might be something unexpected, but it is not necessarily an emergency. For example, if many hosts need to be broken because of an unexpectedly large congregation. So if the case requires means, it could be any need, as judged by the celebrant.

  2. I don't know of a general rule of the type that would apply in any circumstance.

  3. If a Mass is interrupted by an emergency during the Eucharistic Prayer or later, it is mandatory to resume the Mass as soon as possible. Fr. Edward McNamara answered this question in his column some years ago:

    A Zenit Daily Dispatch: When There's a Medical Emergency [EWTN].

I hope this helps.

God bless!


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