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On Receiving Holy Communion

Just a Thought..


Every now and then it becomes necessary to refresh our minds about the way the Church celebrates the mystery of the Eucharist. It is easy to get into habits which do not reflect the way the Church wishes us to receive Jesus in Holy Communion.

The Church has always encouraged the reception of Holy Communion as real partici-pation in the mystery of Christ’s Passover and a profound moment of personal inti-macy with Christ really present in the Sacrament.

For a long time we have been used to receiving Holy Communion in the hand; for this we make with our hands a little throne in which to receive our King who sacrificed his life for us. With clean, empty hands and with gloves removed, we receive him with utter reverence and consume the host in the presence of the minister before turning away. The correct and only response to the words of the minister “The Body of Christ” is “Amen”.

The option of receiving the Sacred Host on the tongue remains as does the option of kneeling rather than standing.

When receiving under both kinds there are many possibilities: drinking from the chalice, intinction, using a tube, using a spoon. The use of spoon or tube is unknown among us (though is still practiced in the Orthodox tradition). Intinction must be administered by the bishop or priest; the idea of self-intinction is expressly forbid-den. For practical reasons the use of intinction is not practiced in this parish.

Again, the correct and only response to the minister’s words “The Blood of Christ” is “Amen”.

The normal practice is to receive from the chalice while standing; this greatly re-duces the danger of accidents happening.

Part of our preparation for the reception of Holy Communion is the Eucharist fast from food and drink (except water and medicines) for one hour before reception. The elderly and the infirm are not bound by this Eucharistic fast.

Our Communion with Jesus makes us a living Eucharist, sharing our life and love with others.

Fr Seán Wales, C.Ss.R.

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