"On the solitary Mass"
- a reflection by Br Patrick Scheiner
For this reason, celebrating private mass for most modern Catholics seems to be almost a 'no go' and they criticise priests who share another point of view on this issue.Therefore, in the modernist view, the priesthood or the sacred ministry is only for those who have a congregation. Regrettably, being a priest without a congregation does not make sense for many contemporary Christians. It is, of course, quite right that the priesthood is not for oneself. alone It has to be in communion with a bishop. This is the Catholic view and cannot be changed.
In the Independent movement however, we have a lot of priests who celebrate mass on their own as they have no congregation or only small congregations, which are wide spread all over the country. Are 'indies' rather odd, doing that? I would say no, as they adhere to an ancient tradition. In the early church there were a lot of eremite priests who had to celebrate on their own.
What does such a private celebration mean? By celebrating mass on our own, we do not want to be loners, even trying to create our own church. We always celebrate Mass in communion with the Bishop and in spiritual communion with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Morevover, we do it for the whole Catholic 'universal' church! By celebrating private masses the priest is aware, that he is surrounded by the angels and that Jesus Christ becomes present in the most holy gifts of the altar. We do it not because we believe in a God who is punishing us – but in a God who loves us dearly. This love is brought to the altar by the 'instrument' of priesthood. What greater love can there be? We offer holy Mass for those in need, but also for the faithful departed! It is not a worldly thing but something which brings us closer to the Spiritual world into which we shall one day enter. Our world needs more and more this presence of Christ and our prayers and sacraments. For this reason, I encourage all, who are ordained to the priesthood to celebrate this marvellous sacrament at the very least on Sundays! We are only physically on our own when we have no congregation around us. We can be sure that we will be surrounded by the spirtual world and when we celebrate mass, we always do it in spiritual communion with our brethren, whether they are phsically present or not. It´s a sign of love and light we bring into this world of distress and darkness.