I had never heard of a lay service until I moved up north. Now sometimes I don’t have the opportunity to go to mass so I go to a lay service. Oh wait a second you might be thinking What the heck is she talking about? Isn’t Sunday mass an obligation? Well long story short it’s not always possible to have a priest in for mass.
Like I said before I am in northern Canada and I don’t know if you ever looked on a Canadian map before but you would notice that in this area all the communities are miles and miles apart. In this archdiocese we have 47 communities but only 14 priests in a very big area of 430,000 square km.
People often ask me Why don’t you just drive to where there is a priest? And this is where I have to laugh because then I would have to explain that I would have to drive hours or even take a plane to get to where a priest is. I wish I was exaggerating when I say that but I’m not.
In some of our communities we only have access by plane because of the many lakes. If the winters are cold enough we have something called ice roads but these are only open for maybe two months. So it means that traveling between communities really isn’t easy.
That being said we have something we call lay services when we don’t have a priest present. What Catholics have lay services? You can’t be a real Catholic if you go to that…. Yep I hear that too often and it’s really starting to annoy me.
Basically a lay service is the same Sunday readings you would have at Mass (including the Gospel read by the lay leader) with a reflection about the readings. And after that we have the breaking of the Bread Breaking of the Bread?!? How the heck does that happen if the priest isn’t there to consecrate the hosts?!? So what happens is that when the priest goes to this parish he consecrate many hosts and keeps them in the Tabernacle.
I want to say it’s similar to Mass but at the same time it’s not really. People who lead lay services actually have more artistic freedom. I don’t want to write too much so I will keep it at that.
If you have any questions about lay services please comment below or send me an email. I would rather you ask questions than silently judge these services. It’s so easy to make up our mind about something without knowing much about it.