Why can't ministers of Holy Communion bring the Eucharist to Sunday-school teachers who are working during Mass?

By April 1, 2015 9 Comments

Full Question

My parish refuses to have an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion go to the Sunday school classrooms to offer the Eucharist to the teachers at Communion time. Since the teachers are sacrificing themselves to teach during Mass, should they not be given the opportunity to receive the Eucharist? Though they could attend a later Mass, in reality 90 percent of them will not do this. Their classrooms are only a few steps away from the worship space.


In reality, the 90 percent of teachers to whom you refer need to learn what the Mass is before attempting to teach Sunday school. Better to have no Sunday school than to have the blind leading the blind!
We are not Protestants for whom Sunday school is sometimes considered to be equal to the main worship service. Mass is like nothing else. Nothing on the face of the earth can equal what happens on the altar. Any sacrifices we make are miniscule compared to the sacrifice of our Lord’s very body and blood. I don’t mean to berate anyone here, but to miss the supreme importance of the Mass is to not understand Catholicism at all.
The Catechism reminds us:

The command of Jesus to repeat his actions and words "until he comes" does not only ask us to remember Jesus and what he did. It is directed at the liturgical celebration, by the apostles and their successors, of the memorial of Christ, of his life, of his death, of his resurrection, and of his intercession in the presence of the Father (CCC 1341).

Further, if the children aren’t preschoolers, they should be at Mass as well.


  • Luke says:

    “It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do without Holy Mass.”–St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)

  • Sunday School and Mass are entirely different.

  • chris Diego says:

    Your answer was hard core! Thanks be to God.

  • MMConvert says:

    Agreed. However, Protestant bashing is one of the things that sickens me the most. As a covert, I didn’t put up with Catholic bashing from Protestants. There are things both can learn from each other. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • Shirley says:

    The questioner answered their own question when stating that though most are able to go to a later (& might I add earlier or even 5pm Saturday ) Mass; they probably won’t. Sad that some don’t understand that skipping Mass for that reason is a mortal sin. Or to receive communion in the state of mortal sin has grave consequences before God. Your pastor is right to protect them from adding a serious offense against God to what is already being done when skipping Mass; by not allowing communion to be brought in lieu of Mass & should be thanked. Possibly your pastor can find some religious (nun, brother, tertiary, etc.) to take over Sunday school classes & let the teachers, parishioners & extraordinary ministers in question sit in; so they can learn about our faith, the Creed, Who God is, transubstantiation, & why the Eucharist is the source, the center, & the summit of our catholic faith. It will clarify why being on church property for any reason can never equate to worshipping God while praying Mass; & the gravity of receiving the Most Blessed Sacrament in mortal sin. Worshipping God is what He commands, not suggests, we do & rightly so. Only those who believe in & live our faith should teach it. Only those who believe in & live our faith should be chosen to be Extraordinary Ministers or any ministry involving Mass & the Sacraments. While no one is perfect; this is most serious. Those being taught about our faith, also learn what they see being done & may follow suit. I applaud this site for their answer. God bless!

  • Lorry Davis says:

    I’m on our RCIA team, and whenever I have to”Break open the Word”, I will go to Mass earlier, so I won’t miss receiving the Holy Eucharist

  • Fran says:

    Why is Sunday school being taught while Mass is on? why are the teachers being asked to make this choice? We do Sunday school overlapping mass, so the children bring their work in to the offertory before joining the mass

  • DL. says:

    God’s holy spirit is not just in the communion, nor is it confined to just the mass itself,when we humbly repent of our sins and ask the LORD to forgive us we are filled with God’s holy spirit, so to exclude someone from partaking in the communion because they are teaching the children is telling the person that their work in the church is not important.

  • Jean says:

    Why be so hard on the teachers? The problem is obviously with the pastor, who by having the Sunday School being taught during the Liturgy of the Eucharist is a) putting an unnecessary hardship on the teachers who would have to attend a second Mass–not that easy folks when you have a family! and b) sending the message to the children that missing mass is OK.if you’re at Sunday School.
    The problem is that “Sunday School” has historically been a neglected step-child to the Catholic school system. Why not learn something from those awful Protestants? They know how to do Sunday school and they know how to be supportive of their volunteers. Possibilities–hold classes on another day; hold classes after Mass, begin classes 10 minutes before Mass and have students rejoin the Mass during the offertory–this can be done with dignity and reverence with the students staying in their groups. And make sure those teachers get some serious thanks and recognition by the ENTIRE congregation by the end of the year.
    That said, I agree with DL—receiving communion is not the same as attending Mass, but to bring Our Lord to the classroom reverently shows what a high value we place on receiving His Body, and could be a wonderful source of strength and grace to both teachers and students.

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