St Michael Family,
Let us continue with learning more about the Holy Mass, our postures, gestures and behavior. This week we will focus on the Communion Rite.
The eating and drinking of the Lord’s Body and Blood in the Paschal meal is the culmination of the Eucharist. The themes underlying these rites are mutual love and reconciliation that are both the condition and the fruit of worthy communion.
When it is time to join the Communion Procession, exit the pew (without genuﬂecting) and walk reverently toward the altar, with your hands folded in prayer over your chest. Remember this is a moment of holy encounter with God who will enter our body and life. Hence, great reverence and a holy disposition of our entire being is an appropriate attitude.
To receive Holy Communion, make a gesture of reverence (slight BOW) before the Blessed Sacrament as you approach the priest, deacon or extraordinary minister of holy communion. Don't forget to say AMEN which means SO BE IT or YES - "you are truly present Lord in Holy Communion".
You may receive the Blessed Sacrament either on the tongue, which is a preferred manner, or in the hand. If you are carrying a child, walking with a cane or have other difficulty with your hands, it is easier to receive on the tongue.
When receiving in the hand, place one hand over the other hand, palms open, and lift your hands to chest level. The minister will say, “The Body of Christ” and you audibly say “Amen”. With the lower hand, take the Blessed Sacrament and reverently place it in your mouth immediately. Please remove gloves and push long sleeves up before receiving in the hand.
When receiving the Precious Blood from the sacred chalice, make the same gesture of reverence (slight bow) when you approach the minister to receive. The minister will say, “The Blood of Christ” and you audibly say “Amen”.
If you do not receive from the sacred chalice, make a (slight BOW) as you pass the sacred chalice in procession back to your seat.
KNEEL, STAND or SIT in prayer or join in singing the hymn when you return to your pew after Holy Communion. When the priest sits down or says “Let us pray,” please stand and raise the kneeler gently. (GIRM #160 American adaptation says that people may “stand, sit or kneel”.)
What is the importance of Sacred Music and what are the hymns appropriate for Mass?
St. Augustine said, “To sing well is to pray twice.” And in the Second Vatican Council document Sacrosanctum Concilium #112 it is stated that "The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art.”
Perhaps of all the musical traditions of the Church, none is more beautiful than the deep and long tradition of chant. It is at once both simple and complex, the work of humans but the sounds of Heaven. Through much of the history of the Church, chant has held the place of primacy in the liturgical traditions of the West. After Vatican II, this ancient and sacred form of art fell into disuse. But this was never the intention of the council. At St. Michael's, we use songs and hymns that are approved by USCCB only and those that are liturgically appropriate for Holy Mass and other Rites.
Sacrosanctum Concilium #116 explains, “The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as especially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.”
Blessings to you and your families.
Fr Carl, Pastor