As we prepare to reintroduce the reception of the “Blood of Christ” to the community, I will continue to offer some points for your reflection so that the experience of the reception of the Eucharist will be positive for all. Things to think about and remember:
• As Catholics, we believe Jesus is really, truly and substantially present under the appearances of bread and wine. When we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, it is an act of faith. We receive it, we don’t take it, we do not deserve it, we can’t demand it but we receive it as an act of faith. When we approach the Minister of the Eucharist and they say “Body of Christ\Blood of Christ” the proper response is “Amen” or “I Believe”. We are responding to the statement of faith – Body of Christ\Blood of Christ. We do not respond with (these have all been heard here) yea, okay, thank you, sure, silence, or “I’ll take two father” referring to the number of host one wants for a pyx. Remember: a statement of faith has been made, Body of Christ\Blood of Christ, we respond to that statement of faith.
• One may receive only the Body of Christ or the Blood of Christ; one is not required to receive both. If receiving only the bread or the wine you are not receiving only “part” of Jesus. As a church, we have taught that in receiving only the bread or wine we receive the full presence of Jesus. If one is extremely sensitive to gluten (even in the so-called “gluten free” host there is an extremely small amount of gluten which is required) then I suggest one receive the Blood of Christ for communion.
• Intinction (dipping the host in the wine to receive both species) is only permitted to be done by a priest and\or a deacon and not by the general congregation. We will not do intinction at Holy Angels.
• Whether one receives on the tongue or in the hand is a moot point. One way is not holier or more respectful than the other. I suggest to folks to receive in the hand because I believe it helps to keep people healthier. If you have a cold and\or a respiratory issue, etc. please receive in the hand and please refrain from the cup. This may not be your preference but then again this is not about you and what you want. It is about the Lord and about how what we do connects us in the Lord – what you prefer may make people sick. Not to care about that is a sin.
• As I have mentioned before if you are sick, please stay home and take care of yourself and\or those of your family that are ill. There are no “holiness points” gained by coming to mass and getting people sick.
• When receiving from the cup the minister will say: “Blood of Christ” and you will respond “Amen.” They will hand you the cup, please make sure you have a firm hold so as not to drop the cup. Once you have taken a sip, not a gulp but a sip then hand the cup back to the minister – making sure they have it before you let go. If the Precious Blood is spilled or a cup is dropped don’t panic, the ministers will know what to do. Remember there is no sin involved here unless you have done something intentionally.
• Parents, particularly those of younger children, make sure you have gone through this process with them before they come forward to receive Communion, particularly if they want to receive from the cup – kids are curious. We will be working with our younger members both in the school and in the Formation Program in the coming weeks but some may want to receive before that time. Let them taste a red wine before they receive so they don’t end up spitting it out, gagging or make all sorts of facial contortions when they receive. Help them understand what they are doing and what they are receiving.
• Finally, at least for this letter, the cups for the Blood of Christ will be located by the two side doors on the north and south side of the church in front – door that leads to the sacristy and the door that leads to the car port.
We have an opportunity to re-educate ourselves when it comes to the reception of the Eucharist. Let’s not miss it for our sakes and for the sake of all.
Blessings, Fr. Howard