Dear friends in Christ,
The most wonderful part of my first two months as the parochial vicar has been seeing the reverence and respect which the Most Holy Eucharist is offered by our parishioners.
It delights me to see our Thursday afternoon and Wednesday evening Holy Hours attended by so many souls adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I am filled with hope and consolation as I give Communion every day to souls who so clearly believe that the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Son of God.
One Sunday, in between Masses, I saw a young boy kneel patiently while the Tabernacle was opened and the supply of Hosts checked. When the Tabernacle door closed again, he rose and resumed moving about the Church. That moment touched me deeply. That kind of behavior can only be taught by word and example -- from parents whose lives are completely given over to belief in the Real Presence and a parish community which recognizes that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life.
And while the vast majority of us need no instruction on the way we receive and adore Jesus in the Eucharist, a few of us need some gentle reminders. I know these do not come from a place of malice, but rather it’s just a need for some refreshers.
We are to receive the Eucharist, not take it from the Church’s minister.
We say “Amen” out loud before we receive the Body of Christ as a public assent of our belief in the Real Presence.
If we receive Communion on the hand, we are to extend our hands, one over the other and flat. This is what the early Christians called “making a Throne for the King.” Presenting cupped hands increases the chance of the Host being dropped.
We consume the Host before returning to our pew to make our Thanksgiving. We do not walk around the church with the Host in our hands.
We do not bite, break or snap the Host.
If we receive Communion on the tongue, we are asked to come up last in line. We may not agree with this Archdiocesan instruction, but we might think of how pleasing obedience is to the Lord, especially just moments before receiving the Eucharist. And it is one small act of charity for others.
Again, these are very gentle refreshers. Thank you for all that you do to create a parish community and culture in which the Eucharist is so treasured and revered. It is my privilege to serve you as a priest of Jesus Christ.
~ Fr. Anthony, Parochial Vicar