Saturday, June 9, 2012


Clearly this video shows the two postures by which communicants receive Holy Communion at a papal liturgy, both are valid, the norm is kneeling, the exception now made a liturgical norm in many countries, including the USA, is to stand. But clearly a communicant may stand in this country which is the norm, but is allowed the "exception" to kneel by the Church. Let's observe the Holy Father's preferred method which is the universal norm free of any other type of permission from him. Please note too that a priest prevents another priest or perhaps a brother or seminarian from receiving in the hand. I presume that is not allowed any longer at a papal liturgy?

Dear parishioners,

Today we celebrate the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord, also known as Corpus Christi. The basis of this Solemnity is to emphasize the "real presence" of Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament, not only as we receive Him in Holy Communion, but His abiding presence in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar reserved in every Catholic tabernacle throughout the world.

There is a two-fold purpose for the reservation of our Lord's Risen Presence in the tabernacle. The first is so the Church can bring Holy Communion to the sick, dying and housebound. In fact when Holy Communion is brought to one on the verge of death, in other words, their Last Holy Communion, it is called Viaticum, or Food for the final leg of their pilgrimage to their personal judgment and their soul's entry into heaven to await the resurrection of the body at the Final Judgment.

But, equally important is the presence of our glorified and risen Lord in the tabernacle for our personal and communal adoration and praise. We are fortunate to have our Adoration Chapel available 24 hours a day for personal prayer, adoration and contemplation before our Lord. Please sign up to be an adorer so that we can have at least one person there 24 hours a day. You will be amazed how making a Holy Hour before our Lord in Solemn Exposition once a week will bring you peace, increase your faith, and help you to be a better Catholic and thus a better person.

I'd like to remind everyone of the reverence due our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament:

1. When passing directly in front of the tabernacle, one genuflects by touching the right knee to the floor and rising.

2. When the Blessed Sacrament is in Solemn Exposition in the Monstrance, one goes down on both knees, bows one's head and rises. (For both #1&2, one's physical abilities must always be taken into account of course!)

3. We must fast for one hour prior to receiving Holy Communion at Mass. I would recommend one hour before Mass begins. This means from food and drink other than water. Water and medicine can be taken at any time prior to Holy Communion. Chewing gum breaks the one hour fast. Once again, I remind everyone that gum should never, ever be chewed in the Church and obviously never during Mass. If you rub your hand under your pew, you will be shocked at what your hand will find! This is unacceptable of course. No food or drink apart from water should be brought into the Church.

4. We should maintain silence in the Church before and after Mass. Of course quiet greetings and quiet talk after Mass are fine, but away from the tabernacle. But this talk should be seen as an accommodation to the fact that we have no other inside place to do this after Mass. But please be conscious of others who want one place in the world free of chatter to promote awareness of God's quiet presence--the Catholic Church and sanctuary are for prayer and meditation.

5. Mass on Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation are obligatory. But obligation must grow into a desire to worship God not just because it is an external obligation placed upon us by the Canon Law and the 3rd Commandment, but because of an internal desire to know and love Jesus Christ through our worship of Him at Mass.

6. When receiving Holy Communion, be in a state of grace, repenting of any sin and asking God for forgiveness. Normally the prayers of the Mass can accomplish this for venial sins. However, for mortal sins, sacramental confession and absolution by a priest are necessary. One should never receive Holy Communion when one is conscious of grave or mortal sin that has not been forgiven through the Sacrament of Penance.

7. Receive Holy Communion reverently, both internally and externally. Many of you may know that our Holy Father Pope Benedict will only distribute Holy Communion to those kneeling and they must receive on the tongue, not the hand. Many people today feel that receiving Holy Communion standing and in the hand, while well intentioned and as a sign of "being raised up with the Lord through His resurrection", has led many in the Church to lose reverence for the awesome privilege it is to receive our Lord in Holy Communion. If you receive in the hand, please do so deliberately and never, ever walk off with the host. Make a throne with your hand and place the host in your mouth before departing the minister. As well, bow before receiving and make the sign of the Cross afterwards.

8. Some people prefer kneeling for Holy Communion and Church law does not prevent this. Kneelers will now be available for those who wish to kneel. But the norm in the USA remains standing. The choice to stand (the norm) or to kneel (the exception) is yours.

9. Only Roman Catholics in full communion with the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) and their local bishop may receive Holy Communion. Catholics are not free to receive Holy Communion in the Episcopal Church or in Protestant Churches. Receiving Holy Communion consecrated by a priest validly ordained (Holy Orders) is a sign that Jesus has made you fully a member of the Church which includes first and foremost Jesus Christ who is the Head of the Church and then the pope and bishops in union with him and the faith and morals of the Church which characterize the beliefs of Catholics.

Let us renew our faith, devotion and adoration of our Lord in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Risen and Glorified Lord. God bless you.

Your pastor,
Fr. Allan J. McDonald


Carol H. said...

Alleluia alleluia alleluia!

O give thanks to the Lord for He is good!


Bless you, Father!

Anonymous said...

Kudos, Fr. McDonald. Would that every Catholic parish could have such a pastor as you.

Templar said...

8. Some people prefer kneeling for Holy Communion and Church law does not prevent this. Kneelers will now be available for those who wish to kneel. But the norm in the USA remains standing. The choice to stand (the norm) or to kneel (the exception) is yours.

All Glory, Honor and Praise to Our Lord Jesus Christ, and my sincere Thanks to you Father (and the Holy Spirit who is truly alive and active in your heart, mind and soul).

jeanksme said...

Thank you, Father!

Bill Meyer said...

Father, a most wonderful statement of principles which I shall forward to others. I wish our parish could reform in this direction, but alas, we have a liturgist, and she loves the word radical.

A small correction, in point 2: ...bows one's head... The possessive form was omitted.

Anonymous said...

Last Sunday, at a former parish I was visiting, the pastor told us that "years ago missing Mass on Sunday was a sin." I took that to mean he no longer believes it is. I am so glad I don't attend there anymore.

Anonymous said...

Hot diggity dog!!!!!!!


thanks ;-)

Father Shelton said...

Well said, very well said indeed, Father.

TCR said...

Deus gubernat navem, and thank you, Father, for manning the helm! Beautiful and inspiring photographs also!!

Militia Immaculata said...

Father, a thousand thank you's!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Father!


Carol H. said...

...still doing my happy dance!...

Anonymous said...

This year no Eucharistic Procession...but kneelers nad intinction instead...hmmm...I wonder how long you've been planning this


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

My only anxiety about allowing those who desire kneel Holy Communion to have a comfortable way to do so is that what the Lord gives someone else might take away, like a future pastor down the road or if the bishop does not agree with my liberal interpretation of what is allowed for the manner in which one receives Holy Communion, although I make abundantly clear that the norm in our country remains to stand for receiving and that kneeling is the exception to that norm and chosen by the communicant.
But with that said, there is a small minority of communicants at St. Joseph who in fact already kneel and on the hard floor. This poses two problems, 1. That the person behind them does not anticipate this posture and could easily trip and 2. the person who legitimately prefers this posture is not given the courtesy of a more convenient way to kneel and then rise again.
In addition to that I have seen very pregnant moms, and by that I mean very pregnant, kneel on the floor with great difficulty and arise with equally great difficulty. No one needs to be a martyr for wanting to kneel and there is not need for the parish to make their ascetic practice of kneeling more rigorous and extreme.

ytc said...

Spoken like a true ROTR priest!

We should all pitch in and buy Fr. McDonald a plaque.

ytc said...

For the record, PLEASE READ:

Google is using us blog commenters to figure out house numbers from pictures they have taken for Google Earth and Google Maps.

Their ploy is to attach a picture of a house number to these blog security checks in order to use us to figure out what the numbers are.

The NUMBER picture IS NOT part of the security check! You can put in any number you want and the security check will pass. I don't like being used!

vateken tew

Templar said...

Let not your heart be troubled Father. We can only do that which we can do, and need to trust in the Holy Spirit for what the future will bring.

I am extremely confident that with the availability of kneelers you will see the minority become the majority in your Parish.

Anonymous said...

" ... ike a future pastor down the road or if the bishop ... "

We often hear a lot about being pastoral from folks who don't seem to know what it means.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Fr, it is the right thing to do and God bless you for it. Let him, Bishop or future Priest, who changes it back be anathema...

Anonymous said...

I am sure that the reverence shown by kneeling is important for many people, but for me one of the important features of kneeling is the BEING SHOULDER TO SHOULDER AT THE RAIL. One of the most bothersome things about the current usual practice, on the tongue or in the hand, and I don't think a personal, near-the-"stationary" distributor, kneeling-pad makes any difference, is the sense of rushing and maneuvering, which greatly reduces the sheer ABILITY to feel reverent at the time of reception. egnard 6

ytc said...

Anonymous, that is a good consideration, yes. With an altar rail, one can easily receive Holy Communion and remain kneeling silently for probably fifteen seconds afterwards in meditation without lengthening distribution time at all.

The stupid "procession" buffet-style pew-by-pew manner, however, kills the possibility of this instantly

Anonymous 2 said...

Father, thank you for formulating and setting out those very helpful reminders and clarifications.

On the kneeling question, we used to have an altar rail at St. Josephs before the renovation of the Church a few years ago. Is it feasible to think about restoring it for those who wish to kneel (in light of factors such as cost of and time for construction, aesthetic considerations, etc.)

Ytc, Thanks for the warning. However, I don't really understand it (I am not very tech savvy I am afraid, and perhaps I am not alone in this). What exactly do we need to be careful about?

Templar said...

Reports from the Saturday Vigil Mass were that approximately 75% of Communicants used the kneelers.

Would be interested in hearing feed back from the Sunday Masses by those who attend.

As for a Rail, I agree it is superior to the kneelers, but all things in due time. Let us enjoy what we have been given for a minute. I suspect that if prayer and desire alone brought rails St Joseph would have one, but there's more to it as we all know.

Anonymous said...

May God bless you for this Father! There are a few priests in the Atlanta area who would like to do some things like this but are scared to death. Perhaps your courage will embolden them!

I watched today while the celebrant stayed behind the altar while Holy Communion was being distributed, so that all of the EMHCs could do their "job." This, following a homily invoking Gandhi. It's almost too much to bear.

God bless,

Bill Meyer said...

I would love to kneel to receive, but in a church with no provision made for that, I would find it difficult to rise again, so rather than create a spectacle, I do not.