Monday, January 5, 2015
ON BLESSING ALTAR RAILINGS; HOLY COMMUNION PROCESSIONS AND THE COMMUNAL ACTION OF RECEIVING HOLY COMMUNION
The most powerful sign of the horizontal at the EF Mass is the traditional way in which Holy Communion is distributed when the communicant kneels at the communion rail. As a child and teenager I received Holy Communion at an altar railing from the time I was 7 until I was about 18 as my home parish in Augusta was late in changing this time honored and most reverent means of receiving Holy Communion kneeling to the now more banal standing method.
Yesterday was the first time ever as a priest that I distributed Holy Communion in the traditional method at the full length of an altar railing! I felt like it was Holy Thursday when I process with the Most Blessed Sacrament through the Church to the Altar of Repose and all are kneeling in adoration as our Eucharistic Lord passes by them!
There is a real, reverent and authentic sense of "community" and of the "communal" nature of receiving Holy Communion at the extension of the "table" of the Lord which is the communion railing where the "meal" aspect of Holy Communion is truly visible and experienced.
And the true "Holy Communion Procession" is experienced in the traditional way of receiving Holy Communion at the Communion Rail. Christ processes up and down the full length of the communion railing, as communicants await for His passage before them and unto them!