Sunday, March 8, 2020


I am on vacation at a beach Mecca. One of the things that is very edifying is the number of Catholics who attend Mass here who are on vacation. In the summertime, young families fill one the churches here to capacity at a special tourist Mass for the summer season only at 9:30 AM. All of them are tourists.

But to my point, I attended Mass in lay clothing and sat in a pew far from the altar. At the Sign of Peace, the deacon asked the congregation to "offer the Sign of Peace." Naturally, I am not anti-social or rude, so I offered my hand to those around me. One gentleman gladly shook my hand, but others looked on in horror as I offered my hand. It was kind of funny actually.

The deacon should not have asked us to exchange the sign of peace, because there is a reflex to offer one's hand.

At Communion time, I went up to one of 8 Eucharistic E ministers (no chalices offered, thank God!). I received in the hand from one of these ministers and yes! HE TOUCHED MY HAND! Which means that if he touched the persons before me hands, I could be contaminated!

After I received, I was able to observe others receiving. This Mass was packed in a church that seats maybe 1,800. Most were geriatrics like me. Almost all received in the hand but on the move.

By this I mean that they popped the Host in their mouth as they moved away from the minister and return either to their pew or to their car in the parking lot.

Yes, in a church of about 1,800 prior to Communion, there were about 900 after Holy Communion to receive the Final Blessing and the Commission to Go Forth Glorfying the Lord with our lives!

Thus we experience the OF Mass in the Coronavirus age. 


Anonymous said...

Yep, thus my concern expressed days ago here: EMHCs are the ones to worry about, not the ordained ministers.

rcg said...

So how many sanitized their hands before stepping up for Communion in the hand? Even if they didn't actually touch the leper next to them during the Sign of Peace, they touched pews, door knobs, etc.

ByzRC said...

The sign of peace, not being received from the altar, needs to be retired as meaningless symbolism. Too many people do not care for this invasive action. 2 years ago, when at a Roman mass, I had to shake what I discovered to be a sick child's clammy hand. Very shortly thereafter, I ended up in bed with the flu for three totally miserable days....and I rarely get sick.

A traditional Roman priest that I know has this way of snapping the consecrated host onto the communicants tongue with his forefinger and thumb such that it is affixed and we never actually touch. To me, he is by far the best at distributing communion. Again, and in my opinion, the overwhelming majority of EMHCs that I've encountered are by far the worst at distributing holy communion. They seem totally clueless when not communing in the hand which, of course, has to be accompanied by a soulful glance deep into my eyes as well as the goofy and toothy "welcoming" grin.

John Nolan said...

There was a reminder in the newsletter yesterday morning that it is never necessary to shake hands at the Pax; a simple bow suffices. The trouble is that unlike the older rite, there is not a giver and a receiver, and if someone proffers his or her hand it is extremely bad manners to refuse it.

I don't actually object to shaking hands, but yesterday I had to blow my nose several times and didn't want to infect anyone. So even before the deacon intoned 'Offerte vobis pacem' I dropped to my knees and buried my head in my Graduale Triplex. No-one bothered me.