.- Parishioners at St. Jeremiah’s church in the Archdiocese of Boston are trying to determine whether their weekly Communion service meets a Catholic’s weekly obligation to attend Mass. The church is one of many that have been slated for closure. Parishioners received the news from Archbishop Sean O’Malley May 11, and they have protested by keeping vigil at the church. They began holding Sunday Communion services. A debate has ensued about whether the service can replace the weekly mass.
Canon lawyer Charles M. Wilson, executive director of the Saint Joseph Foundation in San Antonio, told parishioners that it doesn't, reported the Daily News. Parishioners sought Wilson’s opinion on the matter after archdiocesan officials had already told them the same thing.
Appeal Committee co-chairwoman at St. Jeremiah’s Mary Beth Carmody said parishioners in other Boston parishes had said the service, held in a church, can replace the Mass, up until a church is deconsecrated.
About 110 people attended the first weekend of Communion services May 20; 120 attended last week.
In cases when a priest is not available, other celebrations may be held, Wilson said, but special provisions must be made and the bishop must grant special permission.
The Archbishop said he would respond to parishioners within 30 days.