Sunday, January 4, 2015


The altar railing will be used as intended for the Extraordinary Form after it is blessed at our 2 PM EF High Mass this afternoon (January 4, 2015).

However at the OF Masses, communicants approach four fixed stations for Holy Communion with the minister standing behind the railing. The communicant may elect to receive Holy Communion as is the norm in the USA by standing to do so. The exception to kneel, which is not the norm, but nonetheless allowed, is the choice of the communicant.

It has worked out very, very well and not divisive in the least, not the least!

Interestingly, the use of the traditional communion paten by the altar servers at St. Joseph was never eliminated after Vatican II and continues to this day!
There is no prayer of blessing for an altar railing in the Extraordinary Form and evidently no place to fit it in in the Extraordinary Form.

So I adapted the following blessing from the Ordinary Form's blessing of an altar and a generic blessing from the EF's ritual for blessings.

It will be a part of the prelude to the Mass, prior to the Asperges:

January 4, 2015
Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

(When the priest and minister approach the altar railing, but before entering the sanctuary, all kneel)

P. Adiutorium nostrum in nomine Domini. (Our help is in the Name of the Lord.)
C. Quie fecit caelum et terram.  (Who made heaven and earth.)
P. Dominus vobiscum. (The Lord be with you.)
C. Et cum spiritu tuo. (And with your spirit.)

Oremus: (the blessing is chanted in English)

Priest: Brothers and sisters, our community rejoices as it comes together to bless this altar railing. Let us ask God to look kindly on the place to kneel in prayer and adoration and to receive worthily the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

(All pray in silence for a brief period. Then priest with hands extended;)

Blessed are You, Lord our God, who accepted the sacrifice of Christ, offered on the altar of the cross for the salvation of the world. 

Now with a Father’s love, you call your people to celebrate His memory by coming together at his altar symbolized by kneeling at the altar railing. 

Hear our prayer, Lord, and bless + make + holy, and consecrate + this altar railing.
May this altar railing, which we have built for your holy mysteries be the center of our praise, adoration and thanksgiving.

May it be for us the place where we worthily receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Risen Lord Jesus who suffered and died for our salvation and who makes us one in Holy Communion. 

Here may it be the extension of the Table of the Lord and the fountain of the unfailing waters of salvation.

Here may we draw close to Christ, the living stone, and, in him, grow into a holy temple.
Here may our lives of holiness become a pleasing sacrifice to your glory. We ask this blessing through the Holy Name of Jesus Christ your son who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Then the priest begins the “Asperges Me” and blesses with Holy water the altar, the newly restored altar railing and the congregation.

After the conclusion of the Asperges Me, the priest changes from cope to chasuble for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar as the Introit is chanted.


Gene said...

You as much as instruct them to stand. Does anyone understand how incongruous and stupid it is to stand at an altar rail (unless you have medical issues)? It is like sitting in ranks at a USMC review. Almost as stupid as the Priest facing the congregation at Mass...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The good thing, Gene, is that you and I are not the pope or the local bishop, nor do we make the rules as they are the ones.

We are the sheep and we obey even if we disagree with this, that or the other and we give thanks we are not the pope, the bishop or protestant congregationalists.

Gene said...

True, enough, Fr.

Православный физик said...

Over time, the natural reaction will probably be to kneel

Rood Screen said...


This is a step forward. There's a time to complain, and there's a time to celebrate. This is the latter. Just thank God that you get to be part of the exceptionally rare development.

Rood Screen said...

Joe Potillor,

Yes, Gene's observation will surely come to be clear enough to the more sensitive communicants over time. But patience is required. They'll figure it out.

John Nolan said...

Strictly speaking, the universal norm is to receive kneeling and on the tongue. The exception, allowed by indult, is to stand. The same applies to CITH. Indults may be rescinded at any time. The US had an indult allowing EMHC who were not instituted Acolytes to purify the sacred vessels, but this has now been rescinded.

The fact that most people receive standing and in the hand, and that this is noted in the local edition of the GIRM, is beside the point. It is standing that is 'allowed'; kneeling requires no permission.

For the blessing of the rails, the 'Benedictio ad Omnia' (No.72 of the unreserved blessings in the Rituale Romanum) can be used, substituting 'cancellos istos'. Nothing wrong with your blessing of course, although the language is a bit Novus Ordo-ish. I'm surprised they didn't throw in a Scripture reading (read by a lay person, of course!)

Anonymous said...

You could ask the people who don't want tp kneel to please go to Holy Spirit...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anon - And we would welcome them readily.

Anonymous said...

I saw St Joseph's some years back. I have never seen Holy Spirit. I have a hunch, however, that though St Joseph's may have more square feet, there may be less room for people there.

Gene said...

Anonymous, At St. Joseph's, the concern is not whether there is enough room for people, rather is there enough room for God. You are correct, at Holy Spirit there is ample room for people…and not much else.

Rood Screen said...

Communists, fascists and racists worship "the people". Christians worship God.

Anonymous said... you believe in the real presence? If you do, you should know that God is present in all Catholic churches. You should also know that the purpose of church buildings is not to provide a place to keep God out of the weather, but to provide a place for PEOPLE to gather to worship Him.

JBS...when PEOPLE gather at church they are not worshiping each other. They are worshiping God. Your conversation about communists and fascists and racists makes no sense at all.


Anonymous said...

At the Latin/English Novus Ordo I attend, people go up to the altar rail to recieve as if it were a TLM, except they recieve from an adult Altar Server/Reader/EMHC who is vested in alb and cassock (there is no altar cloth, but one of the servers uses a paten). People who want to "process" or don't realize the parish offers the option of kneeling recieve standing from the priest. It's not perfect but it's an acceptable compromise. I think it'd be better to have a slightly longer Mass and recieve from the priest. Those that find it inconvenient could offer it up and use the additional time to pray for more vocations to the priesthood.

Gene said...

Anonymous, God is present where He wills to be. He is not trapped in any Church nor is He pressed between the pages of the Bible or any book. Assignment: Look up "Freedom of the Holy Spirit."
The purpose of Church buildings is to glorify God.

Anonymous said...

As if God could be glorified by anything we build.

Maybe he'd be glorified if you knitted him a nice sweater, or baked him a batch of cookies, or sent a donation to FAM in his name.

Anonymous said...


We know God is not "trapped" anywhere, but IS GOD PRESENT IN THE TABERNACLE IN CATHOLIC CHURCHES? (Sounds like you don't think so.)

You think it would be fine if we just built churches ("for the glory of God") and walked away and left them...PEOPLE never came back?

You really seem to have no idea what you're talking about....

Gene said...

Yes, I believe in the Real Presence. You are the one who has no idea what you are talking about. Churches are built to the glory of God…which may be manifested in many ways besides in worship. After all, Mass can be held anywhere, including on battlefields and in soccer stadiums. God's Presence is always contingently contemporaneous and contemporaneously contingent (those are theological terms…you might want to read a bit now and then). This means that God's Presence in the Tabernacle is not something about which we can presume. He is there contingently…it is His will to be there, but He is not constrained by our doctrine or dogma. God's will is never predicated upon any act or will of man. To say otherwise is both Gnostic and Pelagian.

George said...

The Uncreated has dominion over the created. The Divine Order is superior to the Temporal order.There is no greater reality than God, Who is Ultimate Reality and Who is not limited by space and time.
He is there in the Adoration chapel or reposed in the church tabernacle waiting for us.
In our world today, there is a constant stream of electronic transmissions which our senses cannot perceive unless we have a cell phone or some other device to convert and display them so that our senses can perceive them . The receiving device presents the transmitted data to us in a form palatable to our senses.
And so it is with our God, who is present in the Scripture to our eyes and ears, and is present in the Eucharist under the appearance of bread and wine in a form which we can see, taste and consume.
He is where He is when He is, because of His beneficence, generosity and love and Divine Will and because He has the power to do so. It is we human beings, with our limitations of mind and body, who in our own way of thinking project limits onto what God can do.
If the Consecrate Host were to be broken into a hundred pieces, Christ would be fully and completely in each one. How can this be?
I would ask you how can it be that millions of people in different places watch the same television show fully and completely. If you open a web page on the Intranet, do you and many others who are opening the same web page not see it fully and completely? In times long ago, people would have considered these things beyond belief and a miracle. Yet for us today it is something quite ordinary. The things God does, He does because He has the power to do so and He does these things because He is Love, Mercy and Generosity itself.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

So Gene....when the Priest says "This is My Body"...nothing happens?

I'll chat with you another day....

Gene said...

Anonymous, what in the Hell are you talking about? You clearly have no understanding of the most basic theological issues…what has anything I said got to do with "This is my body?" Of course something happens…and man (people) has nothing to do with it.

Juden said...

You have painted yourself into a corner, Gene, and I'm pretty sure you know it.

Gene said...

Why don't you explain…there is no corner. I am not arguing, I am stating basic theology and doctrine which cuts across Catholic and protestant denominations. Prots do not accept the Real Presence, but they do understand the theology of the Holy Spirit just as we do.