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Bill Buerger wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • What is considered the absolute minimum that is necessary for a Catholic priest to offer a valid Mass?

In other words, if he was in a disaster area or on a battlefield and wanted to say a Mass for Catholics but has perhaps:

  • a metal cup
  • a few drops of wine or plain medicinal alcohol
  • a crust of baked bread
  • some water, and
  • perhaps not even his stole

could he still offer a valid Mass for those faithful?

This is not a question that is unfeasible. In today's unstable world, we could find ourselves in just this kind of situation. My wife and I have wondered which supplies would be best to keep around our home for a valid Mass. In a time of a disaster, which would be the best provisions we could provide a priest so he could offer the Sacred Liturgy.

  • Is this a realistic notion of preparedness?

Thank you.


  { In a disaster what would be the necessary minimum provisions a priest needs for a Mass? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Bill —

That's a great disposition you and your wife have and with the growing hostility toward Christians, and especially Catholics, it's a good question and realistic notion of preparedness.

I'm just speculating, but I believe he would need at minimum:

  • unleavened wheat bread, and
  • grape wine

but I'm not sure how much you would need for each Mass. The hosting family would also need a container for both sacred species and some water.

Thanks again for the good question.


Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi, Mike —

  • Medicinal alcohol is not valid matter.
  • a crust of bread is not valid matter.

Your answer was fine except it did not mention this.

There should be some kind of cloth for what is used as an altar.

The water and the stole should be there but they are not required for validity.

It would also be helpful to have a Missal. Most priests have not memorized the words.

Fr. Jonathan

Mike followed up:

Hi, Bill —

Fr. Jonathan said:
It would also be helpful to have a Missal. Most priests have not memorized the words.

Depending on where you live, some local Catholic book stores, if they also serve the diocese, may carry and allow you to purchase a Sacramentary and/or Lectionary.

These are books the priest normally uses when he celebrates the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

You have to find out:

  • If there is a local Catholic book store that sells them, and
  • whether a lay person can buy one.

    If you explain the reason you want one, they may consider selling them to you.

If you don't have a local Catholic book store, try finding either a Sacramentary and/or Lectionary on Amazon or another on-line book seller.

Hope this helps,

[Related posting]

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