From the Pastor
June 18, 2017
The Second Sunday After Pentecost - Corpus Christi
Properly Receiving Holy Communion
On January 30, 2011, the Very Rev. Fr. John Lankeit, rector of Ss. Simon & Jude Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona wrote to his parishioners, addressing some abuses commonly observed, seeking to correct them. The following seven points are excerpted from his letter:
“Here are 7 common Holy Communion profanations that I see all too frequently:
· Blessing oneself with the Host before consuming it. (The act of blessing with the Eucharist is called “Benediction” and is reserved to clergy alone).
· Receiving the Host in the palm of the hand, contorting that same hand until the host is controlled by the fingers, then consuming it (resembling a one-handed “watch-the-coin-disappear” magic trick).
· Popping the Host into the mouth like a piece of popcorn.
· Attempting to receive with other items in the hands, like a dirty Kleenex or a Rosary.
· Receiving the Host with dirty hands.
· Receiving the Host, closing the hand around it, then letting the hand fall to the side (as if carrying a suitcase) while walking away and/or blessing oneself with the other hand.
· Walking away without consuming the Host.
· Giving the Host to someone else after receiving (including animals)…yes, it happens!”
In addition to Fr. Langeit’s admonitions, I offer some additional direction. When one is presenting him/herself for the Eucharist, the Host should be received on the tongue, especially if one:
· Has an arm in a sling or cast, etc.; is carrying a baby, a hymnal, or any other item(s) that would prevent one from receiving the Most Holy Eucharist with both hands unoccupied or unobstructed and completely empty. (No single-handed or snatching the Host receptions)
· Has bandaged hands/fingers
· Is wearing gloves
· Is an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion who has a pyx in their hand to bring Communion to the sick
· One has unclean hands or things written on their hands (sometimes seen among young people)
Though the official, universal Catholic norm is still for reception of the Most Holy Sacrament on the tongue (Bl. Pope Paul VI was against reception in the hand, fearing a loss of faith in the Real Presence), if Holy Communion is to be received in the hand it should be so done in the following manner: While in line, the communicant reverences (makes a bow) to the Sacrament while the person in front of them is receiving. When the priest, deacon, or extraordinary minister says, “The Body of Christ,” the communicant responds, “Amen,” and puts out their tongue and receives; or puts out their hands as flatly as possible (one hand under the other); the Sacred Host is placed on the flat palm. The communicant then steps aside (so the next person can receive), immediately places the Host on their tongue with the other hand, and returns to their place in the congregation. (Intinction - the dipping of the Host into a chalice of the Precious Blood – is not permitted for the faithful to do by themselves.)