OH MY! MEMORIES AND NOT GOOD ONES: As I was scrolling though facebook, “I’m fed up with ugly churches” posted this photo of “Our Lady of the Fields” Millersville, MD:
Around June of 1979, give or take a year, I went to the first Mass in this very church of a newly ordained Jesuit priest whose mother was my classmate in the seminary. Yes, you read that correctly, but that’s not what this post is about—my mother classmate, that is.
The Jesuit thought that the Mass as a Meal, a convivial meal, needed to have leavened crusty French Bread as the substance to be transubstantiated, although that good Jesuit would never have describe it with that oh so pre-Vatican II terminology.
And what better way to distribute Holy Communion than to Break the Bread as each communicant approached the variety of ministers of Holy Communion. And if you thought you could receive that Meal on your tongue, like a child being fed by her mother, forget about it. The chunk of Crusty Christ was forced into your hand, like it or not
And after Mass, the poor, believing parishioners of “Our Lady of the Fields” were found on their hands and knees, picking the large and small Crumbs of Crusty Jesus out of the then red carpeting in the sanctuary where the ministers stood to force Holy Communion into communicants’ hands.
They and I were horrified and aghast. I was with a seminarian friend of mine at the time. He laughed at the lay people so scrupulous about all the crusty crumbs of our Lord on the carpet. He lamented their Crumb theology! That priest is now laicized and not by choice.
And thus, this kind of sacrilege and outrage was repeated time and time again throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, perhaps two or three generations of Catholics exposed to practices that has led to a weakened Faith in the Church’s teaching on the Real Presence of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.
By the way, that church back then and now reminded me of my home parish of St. Joseph in Augusta before they built a new church next to it.