ON RECEPTION OF HOLY COMMUNION
This week we would like to share with you a recent article written by Fr. Greg Markey, Pastor at St. Mary’s Church in Norwalk. The Article, ‘Communion on the Hand,’ appeared on the Website, (www.catholic.org).
I encourage parishioners to give prayerful consideration to following Pope Benedict XVI’s lead by receiving Holy Communion on the tongue in the New Year.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (Catholic Online) – The beginning of each year is often a time of “New Year Resolutions”, and a wonderful resolution for 2009 would be to start exercising the option of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue in Mass. Let me explain why.
This past summer Catholics were horrified when a professor at the University of Minnesota willfully desecrated the Eucharist. On the internet Professor Paul Zachary Myers invited anyone to obtain for him a consecrated Host from a Catholic Church so that he could desecrate It. Another man read about the request and took a Host from the London Oratory, videotaping Himself taking It from the Mass. He then sent the Host to Professor Myers and posted the video on the internet.
Professor Myer then proceeded to drive a rusty nail through the Host in order to show the “absurdity” of the Catholic belief in the True Presence, and posted photos of the event on his website. Unfortunately the event set off a series of copycat crimes, and these desecrations are all over the internet. What can be behind so much hatred? Even a child understands that it is not right to mock what others hold to be sacred. I have offered Mass in reparation for this sacrilege, and I know that many good Catholics have also done forms of prayer and penance in order to console the wounded heart of Our Lord. Do you remember last year here at St. Mary’s when we found a Host under one of the pews in the church? I know from other priests that this happens every once in a while in other parishes as well. These incidents remind us that it would certainly be more difficult for people to take the Host improperly if everyone were receiving Holy Communion on the tongue. As the Catholic Church teaches, “If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful” (Redemptionis Sacramentum, 92). Many people born prior to the Second Vatican Council will remember when everyone received Holy Communion on the tongue and kneeling. This has been the long held practice for thousands of years (although during certain periods of the early Church it did allow Communion in the hand). While many think that it was Vatican II that called for this change, it is important to note: Vatican II never called for Communion in the hand. Communion in the hand was the result of disobedience which forced the hand of the Church (no pun intended!). After the Second Vatican Council some dioceses in the world started to make their own rules about receiving the Communion in the hand, disobeying the laws of the universal Church.
Witnessing this practice without approval, the Vatican stated that it feared that this disobedience would lead to “…both the possibility of a lessening of reverence toward the august sacrament of the altar, its profanation, and the watering down of the true doctrine of the Eucharist” (Memoriale Domini). Therefore in 1968 Pope Paul VI graciously sent out a questionnaire to all the bishops of the world asking if there should be a prudent change in the Church’s practice on how Communion would be distributed. The poll numbers came back overwhelming against Communion in the hand. Hence the Vatican concluded: “The answers given show that by far the greater number of bishops think that the discipline currently in force should not be changed. And if it were to be changed, it would be an offense to the sensibilities and spiritual outlook of these bishops and a great many of the faithful” (Memoriale Domini). Nonetheless the disobedience continued and some of these dioceses petitioned Rome to officially permit Communion in the hand. A year later, in 1969, Pope Paul VI gave an indult to the French bishops permitting each bishop to decide the question in his own diocese (En réponse a la Demande). An indult is a special permission for a particular situation, rather than a universal norm. Nonetheless eventually the majority of dioceses in the world took advantage of the indult and simply permitted the practice. Why did the Pope allow it? Perhaps it can be best summed up by the words of Our Lord about why divorce was allowed in the Old Testament: “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives” (Matthew 19:8). Their disobedience had reached such a point that it would have been difficult to have them return to the traditional practice. Nonetheless some countries like Sri Lanka did not use the indult, and maintained the long held tradition of receiving only on the tongue. Recently there have also been dioceses around the world such San Luis, Argentina and Lima, Peru that have returned to the traditional practice and no longer permit Communion in the hand. This is an option fully supported by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. Furthermore, if one does receive Communion on the hand, there is always the danger that particles may be remain in the hand. The Council of Trent infallibly teaches that Our Blessed Lord is truly present even in the particles as well: “If anyone denies that in the venerable sacrament of the Eucharist the whole Christ is contained under each form and under every part of each form when separated, let him be anathema” (Chapter VIII, Canon 3). For this reason the priest always purifies his hands of particles at the end of Mass, and uses a corporal (a small white cloth meant to catch the corpus, or body, of Our Lord). Finally another major event occurred this past year when Pope Benedict XVI asked that from now on, all who receive Holy Communion from him must receive It on the tongue and kneeling. I am sure that by insisting on this ancient practice the Pope is trying to foster a deeper respect for the Eucharist as well. When Rome did give the indult to the French bishops in 1969 it stated, “The new manner of giving Communion must not be imposed in a way that would exclude the traditional practice.” Therefore Communion on the tongue is still the common practice for the universal Church. While both practices are permitted in most dioceses, I encourage parishioners to give prayerful consideration to following Pope Benedict XVI’s lead by receiving Holy Communion on the tongue in the New Year.
Please pray for the sick… Christine Exantus, Suzanne DePreta, Evelyn Flaharty, Diane Ojohanna, Phil De Felice, Sr., Vincenzo Giannitti, Janet Rodgers, Aidan Moon, Mary Daniele, Lena Cocchia,
Please pray for those who have recently died. . . Alverta Sahd, Frances Lorusso, Thomas Carucci, Sr. Julia McCarthy, Ella Palumba, Vito Melfi, Arthur Capalbo, Avery Cardinal Dulles
Moms & Tots… A group of moms and children meet with Fr. Walsh each first Tuesday of every month at 10:30 a.m. in church for Eucharistic adoration, followed by snacks in the parish hall. Please join us. Our next meeting will be on February 3rd.
Religion Classes for Adults. . . Catholics who have not yet received Holy Communion or Confirmation, and for non-Catholics who wish to join the Church, every Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. in the rectory. The class is on a 7 week cycle: If you miss one, we repeat it. Interested? Please contact Providencia at (203) 324 -1553 ext. 21.
NOTE CHANGE: Session III of RCIA—Adult catechism– will be held on WEDNESDAY NIGHTS beginning on March 10th.Call the office for more details.
Congratulations to MARISA CARPANZANO and CHRISTOPHER MEYER. . . Who are this year’s recipients of the Saint Thomas Aquinas Award for academic excellence! The award is given by Bishop Lori to exceptional students. Marissa is an eighth grade student at Trinity Catholic Middle School, and Christopher is an eighth grade student at Saint Aloysius School. Marisa and Chris are our parish academic champions, and we applaud them both!!
Parish Women’s Society… We would like to begin a parish society for the spiritual growth of women. Please contact Monsignor if you are interested: Ext. 11.
The Latin Reading Group… Is translating St. Augustine’s Confessions…And meets every Wednesday in the rectory at 6:15 p.m. High school Latin is all that’s needed. Just walk in.
Introduction to New Testament Greek Class … Meets every Thursday evening in the rectory at 7:30 p.m.
Year of Saint Paul… A Plenary Indulgence is offered the faithful through June 29th: by visiting the adoration chapel at Saint John Fisher Seminary Residence on Newfield Avenue: the chapel is open Monday through Thursday, 6:00 a.m.—11:00 p.m., and from Friday at 6:00 a.m. until Sunday 11:00 p.m. The usual conditions apply: sacramental confession and communion, praying one Our Father and Hail Mary for the intentions of Pope Benedict XVI apply.
Sunday Readings for Feb. 8th: Jb. 7:1-4, 6-7; 1Cor. 9:16-19, 22-23, Mk 1:29-39
Calling all 10:00 a.m. Singers! . . . Do you have even a little singing experience? Do you usually attend the 10:00 a.m. Mass? Come join us in the choir loft – we really need you! Rehearsals are Thursday nights at 7:30 PM in the music room in the basement of the church. For those who want to learn or refresh their knowledge of the basics of music, there is a short optional Music Theory Class at 7:15 p.m. For more information, call Scott Turkington 324-1553, ext. 18.
Banns of Marriage…1st: Dominic Dougherty & Karen Lewis
10th Annual Catholic Awareness Day…State Capitol in Hartford on Monday, February 9th. In light of the pressing issues facing Catholics today during this session of the General Assembly, please be encourage to attend.
The 20’s and 30’s … The next meeting will be on Monday February 9th at the “Upper Room at Columbus Park” at 6:30 p.m. located at 205 Main Street here in Stamford. Our Topic this month will be “Stump the Priest” – come with your questions….bring your friends! We will also discuss upcoming Service Opportunities such as “Christmas in April” and Ministry to the Homeless. Finally, a schedule of Social Events will be listed for all interested: Ski rip, Ice Skating Social, Movie Night, and others.
St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies … We are studying Pope Saint Gregory the Great’s Four Books of Dialogues, Wednesday evenings in the rectory at 7:30 p.m.
St. John’s Bible Study…We are using The Bible Timeline Series every Thursday in the rectory at 7:30 p.m. Join us!
Coffee and refreshments… Following the 10:00 a.m. Mass, in the Monsignor Nagle Hall.
Ash Wednesday… Just a head’s up: February 25th –Lent begins. During Lent, all Catholic churches in the Diocese of Bridgeport will remain open every Tuesday evening for Confessions: 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Easter. . . April 12th.
St. John’s in The ADVOCATE . . .
. . . 50 years ago, or so:
February 4, 1941: St. Joseph’s Hospital To Be Started March 19. “Contract for the construction of St. Joseph’s Hospital on Strawberry Hill has been signed with the date for breaking of ground set for St. Joseph’s Day, March 19, if weather conditions permit, Rev. N. P. Coleman, treasurer of St. Joseph’s Hospital Fund and representative of Most Rev. Maurice F. McAuliffe, bishop of the Hartford Diocese, has announced. The contract for the general construction was awarded to the Edward Corning Co. of 204 East 39th St., New York, at a price of $362,000. This sum does not include equipment, furnishings or grading. Announcement was also made that plans for the institution, drawn by Raphael Hume, architect, of 101 Park Ave., New York, with Charles F. Neergaard, one of the nation’s leading specialists in hospital design and construction, as consultant, have been enlarged to provide for 75 beds, instead of the 50 proposed when the project was first considered.”
February 7, 1942: St. Ann’s Society Has Been Helping Needy 52 Years – Founded in 1890 by Rev. Thomas J. Keena, Curate in St. John’s Church – Distribution of Thanksgiving and Christmas Baskets Is a Time-honored Custom. “St. Ann’s Society, a woman’s organization in St. John’s Catholic Church, which functions for the purpose of aiding the poor, has a long and flourishing history. Founded in 1890 by Rev. Thomas J. Keena, curate of St. John’s under Rev. William H. Rogers, especially because of the depression, which began in 1888, had been the cause of so much need. The group has continued the same practice ever since. It began its first meetings, which were each Wednesday afternoon in the church, to instruct children of the poor in sewing and on Wednesday evenings to carry on other work. This was done years after the present St. John’s church building was dedicated. The first officers were: President, Mrs. Nellie Brennan Plunkett; vice president, Mrs. Charles Donohue; secretary, Miss Anna Walsh; treasurer, Father Keena.”
February 7, 1955: Breakfast Chairmen Announced By K of C. “Frank V. Mastrianna, Grand Knight of St. Augustine Council 41, Knights of Columbus, has announced the appointment of chairmen of committees which will make arrangements for the annual communion breakfast. The affair is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 27, with Mass at St. John’s Church followed by breakfast at St. Mary’s School hall. About 800 Catholic men are expected to participate.”
February 8, 1956: Appeal For Funds For Catholic H. S. Under Way. “Rt. Rev. Msgr. Nicholas P. Coleman and the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Hayes have been named Chairman and Co-Clerical Administrator, respectively, by the Rt. Rev. Lawrence J. Shehan, Bishop of Bridgeport. Monsignor Coleman has announced that the nine participating churches of the Stamford area will be divided into two groups. Volunteer workers, to be recruited in the near future, will receive training in fund raising.”
Saturday, January 31
4:00 +John & Evelyn Sexton req. Hannah Young
Sunday, February 1
7:30 +Alexander Munro 31st Anniversary req. De Vivo & Munro Families
10:00 +Father Mark Grimes req. Ginger Gerardi
12:00 Rev. Matthias G. Newell req. Juanita Evans
6:00 +Joseph E. La Cava req. L. Bolanowski
Monday, February 2
8:00 Lillian Janesch req. Cycon Family
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
Tuesday, February 3
8:00 Mary Coffey req. Cycon Family
12:10 +Eva, Charles, Anne & Joseph Kronk & Irene Churley req. Mary Churley
Wednesday, February 4
8:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
12:10 Souls in Purgatory req. Luz
Thursday, February 5
8:00 Special Intention Healing Mrs. Arliss
12:10 +Rosanne Fazio req. her uncle Frank D’Amico
Friday, February 6
8:00 Thanksgiving req. Thang Nguyen
12:10 +Benita Acosta req. Raquel Mesa
Saturday, February 7
8:00 +Anthony Manuele req. Julie Gjelaj
12:10 +Michael Rubino req. Mr. & Mrs. Peter Louglin
Pray for an end to abortion every Wednesday, 7:00 – 10:30 a.m., at Planned Parenthood, 1039 East Main St, Stamford.
Eucharistic Adoration: Fridays, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon.
Holy Name Society … For all men of the parish: The rectory every Friday morning for coffee, Eucharistic adoration benediction & prayer, from 7:00 – 8:00 a.m.
Are you a registered parishioner? …If not, please visit the parish office Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. or call the office for more information [ext 21 or 17].
Sponsor Certificates for Baptism or Confirmation…Are happily given to parishioners of St. John’s, i.e. Those who are registered members; those whose regular Mass attendance is known to the priests, or whose parish membership can be verified by the records of the weekly offertory (envelopes).
Credit Card Offertory…Make weekly or monthly donations by credit card. You can set up recurring credit card donations with the church secretary. She can take your information over the telephone. Call (203) 324-1553 x21.
St. Maria Goretti Society…For the spiritual formation of young ladies from 8th – 12th grades. Questions, please contact Rosa Marchetti at 348-0232.
Note: Fr. Walsh’s column will return next week.