First it should be
noted that if someone leaves Mass before a certain point (e.g. before the
priest's communion), he/she may NOT meet their Sunday obligation.
should be noted that thanksgiving after Communion is "necessary" and that the
time after Holy Communion is "the most profitable" time for prayer...
"Thanksgiving after communion is also necessary. The prayer we make after
communion is the most acceptable to God, and the most profitable to us." (St.
Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)
should spend sufficient time in thanksgiving after Holy Communion to show due
reverence to the Blessed Sacrament; for Our Lord is personally with us as long
as the appearance of bread and wine remains." (Baltimore Catechism)
"After Holy Communion we should spend some time in adoring our Lord, in thanking
Him for the grace we have received, and in asking Him for the blessings we
need." (Baltimore Catechism)
divine Redeemer is most closely united...with each and every one of the
faithful, and He ardently desires to speak with them heart to heart, especially
after Holy Communion." (Pope Pius XII)
In fact, we should
stay AFTER Mass to make a proper thanksgiving...
Mass we should give God thanks for having allowed us to assist at this great
Sacrifice, and we should ask pardon for all the faults we may have committed
while assisting at it." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)
the Mass, which is subject to special rules of the liturgy, is over, the person
who has received Holy Communion is not thereby freed from his duty of
thanksgiving; rather, it is most becoming that, when the Mass is finished, the
person who has received the Eucharist should recollect himself, and in intimate
union with the divine Master hold loving and fruitful converse with Him. Hence
they have departed from the straight way of truth, who, adhering to the letter
rather than the sense, assert and teach that, when Mass has ended, no such
thanksgiving should be added, not only because the Mass itself is a
thanksgiving, but also because this pertains to a private and personal act of
piety and not to the good of the community. But, on the contrary, the very
nature of the sacrament demands that its reception should produce rich fruits of
Christian sanctity." (Pope Pius XII)
Bear in mind that
Christ's Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament remains for a while even after
Communion (e.g. an estimated/approximate fifteen minutes after receiving Holy
body of Christ remains in this sacrament...so long as the sacramental species
remain" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in
the history of the Church")
Holy Communion Jesus Christ abides within us by His grace as long as we commit
no mortal sin; and He abides within us by His Real Presence until the
sacramental species are consumed." (Catechism of St. Pius X)
should do their utmost to be respectful of the Holy Eucharist and remain in
church to make a proper thanksgiving, even staying after Mass.
Those who make a habit
of exiting Mass right after receiving Holy Communion without a
legitimate/satisfactory reason are, at best, misguided. IMHO, this should be
mentioned in Confession so that a holy priest can determine whether such actions
were seriously sinful or not. In any event, such behavior should be stopped and
those who have previously left Mass right after Holy Communion without a
legitimate/satisfactory reason should make reparation to our Blessed Lord Jesus.
Keep in mind what Holy Scripture says about receiving the Eucharist
"Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will
have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord." (1 Cor. 11:27)
The above illustrates
that Catholics should NOT depart Mass early (whether one has had Holy Communion
or not) and, in fact, we should stay AFTER Mass for a proper thanksgiving. It is
also good to remember that "the first person to leave Mass early was Judas."
certain events may occur (hopefully extremely infrequently!) in which it
might be justifiable for a Catholic to exit before the final blessing. For
example, if an emergency occurs. Obviously exiting Mass early should NOT be done
outside of legitimate necessity & one should NOT make a habit of it (outside of
some legitimate necessity, of course). And remember that if one's early
departure occurs before a certain point, the abbreviated Mass attendance may not
satisfy the person's Sunday obligation. Also, if a person knows in advance that
he/she will have to leave early for some legitimate reason, he/she might want to
sit near the end of a pew in the back of the church in order to avoid
disruption, causing scandal, setting a bad example, etc.
Regrettably in our
age, there may also be situations (e.g. cases of extreme abuse at Mass – such as
the intentional use of invalid materials, the pseudo-consecration by those not
in Holy Orders, etc.), where it may be appropriate or necessary to walk out of
the church before the service is over. Should such events occur, find another
Mass and contact the appropriate Church authorities.
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