What’s The Big Deal: Leaving Mass Immediately After Receiving Communion

Mass Exodus: Leaving Mass After Receiving Holy Communion

written by Fr. Lawrence Adamczyk:  While not as bad as missing Mass, leaving Mass immediately after receiving Holy Communion is still very disrespectful to your Spouse.  Again, let’s use the analogy of Jesus the Bridegroom and the Church as His spouse.  Leaving immediately after receiving Holy Communion, screams that you really do not understand what has just happened. 

You have just received the God of the Universe, the One who created you, the One who died on the cross for you, the Eternal, the Almighty God into your heart and soul and you don’t even stop to say “thank you” to your spouse.  You cannot have a deep personal intimate relationship with the one who loves you more then you can ever know, if you leave as soon as YOU get what YOU want.   I have fallen madly and passionately in love with the God of the universe.

I have been a priest for about 8 years.  You know what breaks my heart?  For more than 8 years now, I have been standing at the back of the church greeting people as they leave Mass.  It breaks my heart when people leave Mass right after receiving Holy Communion; and it is not because as St. Paul says that “we must render an account.” It breaks my heart because of the Book of Wisdom, “I…deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; because all gold, in view of her is a little sand.”  Maybe it is because I am a priest, that I feel so heart broken that people do not reverence the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.  Do they not know that after receiving Holy Communion, they are a walking tabernacle?  What can be so important that one would not spend a few moments in thanksgiving for receiving the Almighty God into your very being?

But the rich young man, “went away sad, for he had many possessions” which were apparently more important to him that following Jesus.  By our Baptism, we are all called to that intimate and personal love that God has for each one of us, it cannot be that only the priest has a deep and personal relationship with God.  Fr. Pedro Aruppe, one time superior General of the Jesuits is quoted as saying, “Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way.

What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.  Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything.”  Remember love is not about feeling or emotions; love is not about sex; love is about the choice to sacrifice for the good of the other.

P.S. – Would you do Courageous Priest a favor and share this info with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Email right now? We truly appreciate it. Or leave a comment, we would love to hear what you think.

23 comments to What’s The Big Deal: Leaving Mass Immediately After Receiving Communion

  • Liane

    There is this parish i went to Mass. After dismissing people, he went in front of the altar kneeling and recited a prayer of thanksgiving with the poeple then procided down the aisle. I’m sure the congregation will love that.
    I did.

  • Krys

    There are so many graces God wants to give us during this special time after Holy Communion – yet, because we rush away, they are wasted.
    But, you know, Father, you are partly responsible for this situation. You write that you stand at the back after Mass greeting people as they leave. Think about it. Why do you stand at the back? Catholic priests in the past never used to do this – it was only Protestant ministers who shook hands with the congregation (Nice sermon, vicar!).
    Catholic priests understood that this was not the time to chat to the faithful. O course it’s good to meet and greet the people of the parish, but surely this could be done after ten minutes of quiet prayer first – or some other time?
    If you really believe that you have truly received God your Creator and Saviour, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity into your body and soul, and that He remains with you as long as the host remains (about 15 minutes), (or, as the saints teach us, for as long as we are willing to keep Him company) then why aren’t you on your knees in adoration and thanksgiving? How can you expect the faithful to spend quiet time with Our Lord at this most intimate of times, when the priest dashes out to the back of the church instead of showing an example of a better way?
    The cult of man has replace the adoration of God, and sadly, although you don’t like it, you are part of the problem. It’s a brave parishioner who dares to stay and pray when the priest is actively, albeit unknowingly, encouraging a mass exodus.

  • […] What’s The Big Deal: Leaving Mass Immediately After Receiving Communion […]

  • Father Larry,

    I’m a father of two little one’s and I’m trying to teach them about the Mass. Little by little I see my daughter grow…she can now make the sign of the Cross. Sometimes it’s really difficult, but it’s important to instill in them the importance of staying through the Mass until they receive the Blessing and the Priest processes out the exit. We sometimes have to wait out in the Narthex…but we still wait for the procession. Tonight I felt so much like a old stone and not like a weather vein. It was nice. People laugh at my daughter sometimes, but it’s important for me to correct her gently. She’s too young to understand right now and her behavior at Mass is innocent.

  • Tim

    Great reflection. I would also add that, in leaving after we receive, we are missing two other things that are quite significant. 1) We need to understand that HOW we pray, both individually and as a community, expresses WHAT we believe. In other words, our physical action reflects what is going on spiritually and communicates what we believe. We SIT in receptivity to the readings while we show a special importance of the Gospel by STANDING out of respect and attention to the proclaimed Word of God as it is proclaimed; we KNEEL during the eucharistic prayer in adoration and humility (in the same way one proposes on one knee to show love to ones beloved); we OPEN OUR ARMS to show our vulnerability and surrender to God during the our father; a person is DUNKED in the baptismal font as a sign of drowning and death to sin; a priest LAYS PROSTRATE at ordination to show his desire to lay his life down for his people.

    Here is why this is important: The communion rite does not end until the last person has received, and during that time, we are to be standing together as a community to physically embody and represent who we have received and what that calls us to, namely, communion with one another. Again, our gestures and postures communicate our theology. Therefore, what is being communicated when one leaves that united body? Division, which is utterly antithetical to what is supposed to be happening, namely, becoming what we receive–communion, which Christ calls us in the sacrament to be for one another. We stand together to symbolize our unity in each other that has just been effected by receiving this sacrament.

    It is important to have our personal prayer time and quiet space, but there is a time and place for that. We are encouraged to do that AFTER Mass or during the time of sacred silence reserved after communion before the final blessing, but to do so during the communion rite (even after we have personally received) would be to detract from what is actually happening and being communicated in that specific moment. It is not me-and-Jesus time, but the prayer of the community gathered together in communion as the body of Christ, which has been effected by our reception of Christ’s body and blood that draws us into communion with one another. This challenges us to ask ourselves the question: what is more important, the theology of the Church, or MY own personal theology? This individualized, privatized notion of sacraments needs to change if we are to ever understand their true meaning.

    2) In a sense, to leave early is to miss the whole Mass. We miss the entire point of the Mass and the Eucharist completely without that last piece of the puzzle. Mass and the Eucharist strengthens us, not only for ourselves, but primarily for OTHERS. When we leave early, we miss that essential part of the Mass in which we are SENT OUT, that is, to take what has happened in these walls OUT to the world, proclaiming the gospel by our very lives. This call to MISSION–to share in Christ’s own mission–is intrinsic to the meaning of discipleship, and we miss out greatly on what it means to be a disciple of Christ if this is not present. Christ, in his own mission on earth, was SENT by his Father; the apostles were SENT by Christ; we, too, must be SENT. We do nothing on our own apart from Christ; It is HIS mission in which we take part, and that is something to be received, not grasped. This is why we are blessed at the very end of Mass–to be empowered to continue doing his work on earth. Besides, I don’t know anybody that is in such a perfection condition that they are not in need of another blessing by the God of the Universe. Is that alone not worth an extra minute?

    • Tim,

      Your comments are excellent – more Catholics should be aware of them. May I have your permission to copy it on my blog? Or Twitter it?

      Blessings and thank you,
      Marie

  • Judy

    Freddy, those issues you mentioned ARE very important, and what Father was saying DOES have to do with those, also. If people KNEW their faith, KNEW what was happening, they would LOVE their faith, and would NOT vote for someone such as Mr. Obama, or even THINK of supporting abortion, or any kind. It is all tied together, and when the pieces are their, the lights go on, SO let us all try to be better apostles and help those that are confused. I am sure FAther speaks of all those things you spoke of, during his homilies, with a loving and charitable attitude. I know our priest is teaching us all, every Sunday, as he knows many do not know their faith, and he wants us ALL to know and love our most precious gift, which is our Catholic Faith. Christ’s peace!!

  • Teresa

    This is relevant to the subject. I happened to be watching the Golden Jubilee Mass for Our Lady of the Angels Monestary on EWTN yesterday afternoon. I usually don’t watch during the day, but have been sick with the flu. Anyway, when it was time for Communion, I was totally amazed! Communion Rails!!! People were receiving in reverence kneeling at the Communion Rails, with an Altar Server and the Patton, just like we used to when I was young. To say it was beautiful doesn’t describe it!! It made me cry!! Didn’t realize how much I missed them until I watched that Mass. This is the way Our Lord should be honored. On your knees in reverence and love, not waltzing up to receive in the hand……like they’re dolling out a bunch of poker chips. Ugh!! How I miss those Communion Rails. That was the way to receive Our Lord.

    Maybe if we brought back a little more reverence to receiving, people wouldn’t be running out of Church with the Host still in their mouths like it was nothing!

  • Linda Goodrich

    I have never left Mass right after communion, but I’ve been tempted. Why? Because following this beautiful sacrament, with its attendant uplifting music and prayers, I am in a state of peace, calm, and have a refreshed soul – THEN the congregation is asked to sit and listen to parishioners at the pulpit making endless announcements, pleading for money for various causes, and so on. I’d rather leave and carry my elevated spiritual awareness with me to the parking lot than have it shattered by the above. Why couldn’t announcements be made before Mass instead?

  • When we receive Holy Communion we are receiving the New and Eternal Covenant between Christ and man. Christ gives us His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, all that he is and all that he has for us. We give him our body, blood, soul and humanity, all that we are and all that we have, for Him. If we do not receive Him worthily, we eat and drink judgment upon ourselves.

    How do we give Him our body, blood, soul and humanity? By preparing ourselves for eternal life in heaven. During the ten minutes or so after we receive, when He remains the living Christ within us, we pray, we thank Him, we reflect on all He has done for us, we ask Him to help us prepare for eternal life with Him.

    If w don’t want to stay with Him even ten minutes more, what does it tell Him about how much we care about spending eternity with Him?

    Dear friends, we live in an age where the demons are rampant, where the President of the United States declares war on the Catholic Church and on the institution of marriage. The question before us in our age, in every age, is whether God or man will be the organizing principle of our lives and the source of all that we need. God bless you all.

  • […] What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything.” Remember love is not about feeling or emotions; love is not about sex; love is about the choice to sacrifice for the good of the other. http://www.courageouspriest.com/big-deal-leaving-mass-immediately-receiving-communion […]

  • ”What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything.” Remember love is not about feeling or emotions; love is not about sex; love is about the choice to sacrifice for the good of the other.” You are so right Courageous priest. We should be reminded of this fact ever so often so that we can courageously choose the right things/persons to fall in love with.

  • Dear Father
    I think a great deal depends on people falling in love with the Eucharist.. In other words with Jesus Christ. The Eucharist when taken seriously leads to often confession. For all this to happen priests have to ask themselves how many hours a week do they spend in the confessional. The great saints like Padre Pio and the Cure of Ars etc.
    This will only come when Priests preach this from their homilies and they need to belabor this time after time.
    Most people go to confession once a year and most priests spend very little time in the confessional… What do you think?? and what can be done about this from your point of view.. that is assuming I am right about this..

    I am very depressed about the state of our priests.
    Of coutrse I do pray for them,

    Another thing Priests should be seen in front of adoration often..
    That is another secret.. Adoration and the Eucharist on display 24/7 in all churches with old pensioners acting as guards and overseers..
    That is my six cents worth
    GBY and KGFG

  • Mary

    Jesus asks us to remain with him for a time after reception of Holy Communion so that he can impart special blessings to us and listen to our needs and concerns. How unspeakably tender is His love and desire to be close to us and hear us tell Him of our need and love for Him and to thank Him for the greatest gift…………..the gift of Himself in the Holy communion.

  • Sue

    I always stay until the end of Mass when the correct rubrics are followed. However, all mayhem breaks loose right after communion at the suburban Salt Lake City parish I sometimes attend as there is a “blessing of the children” ceremony. The kids are skipping, chattering, laughing, holding hands as they approach the altar. The priest and deacon bless them–they then run back towards their seats–the parents are just as excited as the kids…this sends a message, in my mind, that the blessing of the children is a more important part of the Mass than the Eucharist. Am I wrong to leave after communion in this instance? The Masses are rife with liturgical abuse, the priest is a huge showman who basks in “the cult of personality”. He singles out his favorite parishioners by name during his sermons.

    • Angela Marie

      Dear Sue,
      I would suggest you find a Parish where you can be fed spiritually. Once you find this parish which is more respectful to Our Dear Lord, you will find peace and be able to really adore Him after receiving Him. I know many people who have had to make this move, as there seem to be some parishes out there just doing their own thing. We are part of the Universal Church and as such, we need to be respectful and follow rubrics which are set down for the very reason of ensuring that Our Lord, the King of Kings, is loved, adored and glorified. Instead of cutting out after Holy Communion, find that respectful parish, and, after Communion, apologize to Our Lord on behalf of those who don’t respect him. You can even make reparation for this! This would please Our Dear Lord very much and lead you along the path of sanctity. God bless!

  • leaving early after communion is the least of my disappointments.
    how about Catholics with cars that has bumper stickers that says Obama2012! what about catholics that religiously go to mass every Sunday and still vote for obama and may even be e loyal democart??? my friend, start thinking outside the box for a minute. maybe pastors of this ignorant souls failed to inform them, the greatest evil we are confronted today! sin of omission maybe? by our very own “shepherds” of the flock

    write something about some parishes/pastors that are too silent about Abortion, same-sex marriage, etc!

  • rina

    Thank you God for this message from this Priest. Many are guilty of this, I know I am. God help us and teach us to love you more and put you in the center of our lives. GOD is the source of all things.

    May I, my whole family and the whole world always give Praise and Thanks to HIM.

  • Teresa

    This is a real slap in the face to Our Dear Lord as far as I am concerned. I used to have relatives that would do that, and it urked me to no end. It is a sign of the insignificance these people have of the precious Lord they have just received, or worse yet, they have bought the lie of some of our dissident Priests and regard the Eucharist as “only a meal……a remembrance”……UGH!!!! This said, if there is a real emergency that’s one thing, but some people habitually leave the Church directly and don’t even bother to kneel in thanksgiving! Personally I would love to see the communion rails returned or at least a kneeler for people who are able to kneel and receive. There is no way any of us can even begin to thank Him enough or love Him enough, or RESPECT Him enough for what He’s done for us!!!!!!!!

    (as you can tell this is a “knocking over the tables in the temple” reaction for me:)

  • Steve

    Beautiful…
    What saddens me even more is all the idle and often loud conversation that goes on before Mass. I’ve been to coffee shops that are quieter and more reverent than some churches I’ve been too. I so value the time before Mass to prepare to receive our Lord.

  • Mary

    Catechesis, Catechesis, Catechesis!

  • lisag

    This is so beautiful. Jesus loves us so much and yet we give him so little time. We come to mass to get what we want and do we ever think of Our Lord and what he wants. Who could stay in such a relationship like that. Yet, there He is waiting for our love.

  • Elana

    Thank you for this subject, Catholics need to know this. It has always saddened me when people leave right after Communion, like you said they are walking tabernacles! It brings to mind what Our Lord said to St. Faustina ; ” people treat me like a “dead object “. How sad. When will people realize what a gift we have as Catholics, the Greatest Gift, Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

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