A Renewed Option for Holy Communion

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In a canonical decree issued on November 9th, Bishop Stika altered his earlier decree pertaining to the distribution of Holy Communion during the present pandemic. The alteration permits the distribution of Holy Communion onto the tongues of communicants, in the manner traditional to the Roman Rite. This alteration takes effect on the First Sunday of Advent.

At Saint Mary’s, distribution in the traditional manner will take place after Mass, and will follow one set of procedures on Sundays, and another set on weekdays.

SUNDAYS: After each Dominical Mass on Saturday evening and Sunday, those wishing to receive Holy Communion on the tongue should leave Saint Mary Church and proceed through the Marian Courtyard to Saint Mary Chapel, maintaining the prescribed social distance while doing so. Enter Saint Mary Chapel and keep to your right, maintaining the prescribed social distance inside the chapel. When it’s your turn to Communicate, kneel before the priest or deacon and receive the Sacrament. Afterwards, rise and move to your left as you exit the chapel. Please do not congregate in the foyer afterwards, and please remember that the chapel itself has restricted occupancy during the pandemic. The above procedures will also apply on solemnities.

WEEKDAYS: After each ferial Mass, those wishing to receive Holy Communion on the tongue should proceed to the sanctuary, genuflect before the Most Blessed Sacrament reposed in the tabernacle, and then stand in a socially-distanced line at the sacristy doorway. One communicant at a time should enter the sacristy, kneel before the priest or deacon, and then receive the Sacrament. Afterwards, rise and promptly exit the sacristy through the St. John Paul II Chapel.

There is an alternative practice of using a small “houseling cloth” placed over the palm of the hand, from which the Sacred Host is then received directly into the mouth of the communicant.  This practice is acceptable, provided the cloth is properly purified at home after Mass.

In Christ,

Father Shelton

P.S. Some General Norms from the Instruction
Redemptionis Sacramentum
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
25 March 2004

A. The faithful should normally receive sacramental Communion of the Eucharist during Mass itself, at the moment laid down by the rite of celebration, that is to say, just after the Priest celebrant’s Communion. It is the Priest celebrant’s responsibility to minister Communion, perhaps assisted by other Priests or Deacons; and he should not resume the Mass until after the Communion of the faithful is concluded. Only when there is a necessity may extraordinary ministers assist the Priest celebrant in accordance with the norm of law.

B. So that even by means of the signs Communion may stand out more clearly as a participation in the Sacrifice being celebrated, it is preferable that the faithful be able to receive hosts consecrated in the same Mass.

C. The faithful should receive Communion kneeling or standing, as the Conference of Bishops will have determined, with its acts having received the recognitio of the Apostolic See. However, if they receive Communion standing, it is recommended that they give due reverence before the reception of the Sacrament, as set forth in the same norms.

D. In distributing Holy Communion it is to be remembered that sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who seek them in a reasonable manner, are rightly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them. Hence any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to Holy Communion. Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.

E. Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. However, special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.

F. The Communion-plate for the Communion of the faithful should be retained, so as to avoid the danger of the sacred host or some fragment of it falling.

G. It is not licit for the faithful to take by themselves and, still less, to hand from one to another the sacred host or the sacred chalice. Moreover, in this regard, the abuse is to be set aside whereby spouses administer Holy Communion to each other at a Nuptial Mass.

H. A lay member of Christ’s faithful who has already received the Most Holy Eucharist may receive it again on the same day only within a Eucharistic Celebration in which he or she is participating, with due regard for the prescriptions of can. 921 § 2.