Message from Fr. Mike
December 2, 2023
RECEIVING COMMUNION UNDER BOTH KINDS
As we resume the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ on this weekend, it is important to remind ourselves about the meaning and significance of the Eucharist.
The Mystery of the Eucharist.
On the night before He died, Christ gathered His Apostles in the upper room to celebrate the Last Supper, and to give us the gift of His Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until He comes again.
The Eucharist uses signs to convey sacred realities. The Church teaches us that our “sanctification is manifested by signs perceptible to the senses and is effected in a way which is proper to each of these signs.” The Eucharistic Liturgy uses the signs of bread and wine in obedience to the Lord’s command. After their transformation, they are given to us as the Body and Blood of Christ.
Communion Under One Kind
The communicant makes this act of faith in the total presence of the Lord Jesus Christ whether in Communion under one form or in Communion under both kinds. It should never be construed, therefore, that Communion under the form of bread alone or Communion under the form of wine alone is somehow an incomplete act, or that Christ is not fully present to the communicant. This is not true. For example, there are some pastoral circumstances that require eucharistic sharing in one species only, such as when Communion is brought to the sick, or during the Good Friday Liturgy. We know that under each species alone, the whole Christ is sacramentally present and we “receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace.” At the same time, an appreciation for reception of “the whole Christ” through one species should not diminish in any way the fuller sign value of reception of Holy Communion under both kinds. For just as Christ offered His whole self, body, and blood, as a sacrifice for our sins, so too is our reception of His Body and Blood under both kinds an especially fitting participation in His memorial of eternal life.
Holy Communion Under Both Kinds
From the first days of the Church’s celebration of the Eucharist, Holy Communion consisted of the reception of both species in fulfillment of the Lord’s command to “take and eat . . . take and drink.” The distribution of Holy Communion to the faithful under both kinds was thus the norm for more than a millennium of Catholic liturgical practice.
The Minister of Holy Communion
In every celebration of the Eucharist there should be enough ministers for Holy Communion so that it can be distributed in an orderly and reverent manner. Hence, we need more Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.
All ministers of Holy Communion should show the greatest reverence for the Most Holy Eucharist by their demeanor, their attire, and the way they handle the consecrated bread or wine. Should there be any mishap—as when, for example, the consecrated wine is spilled from the chalice—then the affected “area … should be washed with water, and this water should be then poured into the sacrarium.”
Distribution of the Body and Blood of the Lord
Holy Communion under the form of bread is offered to the communicant with the words, “The Body of Christ.” The communicant may choose whether to receive the Body of Christ in the hand or on the tongue, responding “Amen.” When receiving in the hand, the communicant should be guided by the words of St. Cyril of Jerusalem (313 – 386): “When you approach, take care not to do so with your hand stretched out and your fingers open or apart, but rather place your left hand as a throne beneath your right, as befits one who is about to receive the King. Then receive Him, taking care that nothing is lost.” The communicant should take a step to the side and immediately consume the Host. The chalice is offered to the communicant with the words, “The Blood of Christ,” to which the communicant responds, “Amen.” If the communicant does not wish to receive from the chalice, they should bow to reverence the Real Presence.
After each communicant has received the Blood of Christ, the minister carefully wipes both sides of the rim of the chalice with a purificator. This action is a matter of both reverence and hygiene. For the same reason, the minister turns the chalice slightly after each communicant has received the Precious Blood. It is the choice of the communicant, not the minister, to receive from the chalice.
Children are encouraged to receive Communion under both kinds provided that they are properly instructed and that they are old enough to receive from the chalice. Parent’s permission is presumed. If any parent does not want his or her child to receive the Blood of Christ, please instruct your child to bow to the chalice and walk away. (This article is substantially taken from United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website with few modifications to address our local needs.)
Thank you and God bless you,