I’d like to talk about the reception of Communion. There are a couple of parishioners in our community who have a disorder called “celiac”. It causes a person to have an allergic reaction if they come in contact with gluten which is an element of wheat. Hosts are made of wheat and therefore contain gluten. For a Catholic with celiac there is the risk of having a reaction by going to Communion. The reaction can vary from person to person based on their toleration of gluten. Some can consume only a small particle of the Host, some can receive the Host if the gluten content is minimal, and others cannot receive the Host at all and will receive the Precious Blood alone. Still others may not be able to receive from the cup because of transference from other Communicants.
I say this not to alarm anyone, or single out anyone, or embarrass anyone. My point is that if you are a person who has this dietary disorder, please contact me or Deacon Ray and we will do all we can to see that you receive the Body and Blood of the Lord under one or the other form, sensitive to your needs.
Let me continue about Communion with regard to the proper manner of receiving. We can sometimes get sloppy and I encourage everyone to be attentive to the action of receiving the Eucharist. Please approach the priest, deacon or extraordinary minister prepared to receive. As the person raises the Host to you, nod your head in reverence. When he or she says, “The Body of Christ” or “Blood of Christ”, give your consent, your agreement, your firm belief that that is what you are receiving by saying clearly in an audible voice “Amen”. Then extend your cupped hand or your tongue.
And here is where it gets a bit messy – if you received in your hand, then immediately step to the side, stop and face the altar, and place the Host in your mouth. Carrying the Host down the aisle or back to your pew is improper. Consume the Eucharist immediately in front of the altar.
Then approach the cup minister with the Precious Blood and repeat the nod of the head and assent with an “Amen”. If you do not receive from the cup please know it would be appropriate to make the sign of the cross as you pass the cup station where the Blood of Christ is present.
There have been times when someone will find a Host on the floor in a pew. This is uncalled for, and if done intentionally is a desecration of the Eucharist that carries an automatic Excommunication upon the person who intentionally did this.
Please be conscientious of your disposition and reverence in receiving the Body and Blood of Christ.
Finally, a practice that developed a few decades ago but was never permitted for general use is “intinction”. That’s when a priest is permitted to take the Host and dip a portion of it in the Chalice to give Communion under both forms of bread and wine to a person for a specific reason.
There is no reason for a parishioner to ever receive a Host, walk over to the Precious Blood, dip the Host in the cup and give oneself Communion. No reason at all. Why does this matter?
At the Last Supper Jesus took the bread and told his disciples to “Take and eat”, then he took the cup and told them to “Take and drink”. He never told them to ‘Take and dip’!! Actually, the only time Jesus is recorded as having dipped bread at the Last Supper was to indicate His betrayer, Judas.
I believe the command Jesus gave us is the directive He wants us to follow…eat and drink, not dip! If you are ill, have the flu, and maybe mean well by not wanting to pass on any germs, then simply: Do Not Receive from the Cup. If you have a phobia about germs then: Do Not Receive from the Cup. Whether you receive under the form of the bread alone, or of the wine alone, you receive Christ in His entirety – body, blood, soul, and divinity.
Thank you for taking the time to reflect with me on the manner of receiving Communion and your kind adherence to what Jesus commanded His disciples to do.
This past week I met with about 100 people at St. Mary church. The majority of them agreed that a Sunday Mass at 9:00 A.M. at St. Mary church would be the best time for now. Here at St. Bernard the weekend Mass schedule will remain: 4:30 Saturday Vigil, then 9:30 and 11:30 am, and, 6:00 and 8:00 pm – for now.
I’m grateful that Fr. Norm helps us when he is available, and I will be calling on other diocesan priests to assist if they can. In light of my weekend schedule, let me assure you we will reduce the number of Daily Masses. For those few who attend an evening Daily Mass, I will bring your concern and desire to the priests of our district. Possibly, in a parish where there are two or three priests on staff or retired – unlike here – and an evening Mass can be offered. All I can do is ask for you.
Thank you for your prayers; as your pastor, know that you are in mine daily. Peace, Fr. Dan