Id like to share a thought with you about the reception of Holy Communion in our parish.
Over the years a few cases have surfaced of people, sometimes adults, sometimes children, coming up for Holy Communion, receiving the Sacred Host on the hand and then going straight back to their seats without consuming the Sacred Host.
Now, this may be an innocent mistake, especially if a child is involved.? Or again, the person may not be a Catholic but was urged to go up for Communion by a well-meaning friend.? It is not for me to judge peoples motives.?? However.
If the priest, deacon or Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist notices this happening he/she must intervene and request the person either to consume the Sacred Host or to return it to the Minister.? Obviously this can involve going after the person and possible embarrassment.
To avoid confusion and/or scandal, everyone should consume the Sacred Host before returning to their place in the church.? This is best done immediately on reception of the Sacred Host while still in the presence of the Minister.
When we invite Christians from other Churches to come to Mass (say, at a funeral/wedding) we should encourage them to come up at Communion time for a Blessing (and show them how to cross their arms as a sign that they want a Blessing) and explain to them our practice about who may receive Holy Communion.?? This will help to avoid awkward moments and any embarrassment at what is, after all, a profoundly sacred moment in our worship.
May our reception of the Gift of God in Jesus, our Eucharist Lord, make us ever more reverent in the presence of this great Mystery.
Thanking you for your attention,
Fr Sean Wales, C.Ss.R.