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Mary K. wrote:

Hi, guys —

In my daughter's primary school in England, when there is a Holy Day of Obligation, and they have no priest to say the Mass, one of the teachers will do this.

The teachers also distribute ashes on Ash Wednesday.

  • Is this acceptable?

I don't think this is correct.


  { Is it OK for teachers to celebrate the Mass on Holy Days of Obligation when no priest is available? }

Mike replied:

Dear Mary,

Thanks for the question.

Only a priest can celebrate the Mass; no woman can and, even if she tried, it would be totally invalid.

If there are no priests to celebrate the Mass on Holy Days of Obligations, this should be made known to the local bishop. It is his responsibility that the faithful receive the sacraments of the Church at Catholic parishes he oversees.

Lay Catholics, with permission of the pastor of the local Catholic parish, and proper training, may distribute ashes on Ash Wednesday.

I hope this helps,


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