Communion reception

Communion reception

Ken Bayliss

The Holy Father in his conversation with Peter Seewald ( Light of the World, p. 158) said that his current practice of having people kneel to receive communion on the tongue was to send a signal and to underscore the real presence with an exclamation point.

He had heard that in St Peter's Basilica a man had placed the Host in his wallet to take home as a souvenir. I personally saw a young man at a Requiem Mass in suburban Brisbane in the early 1980s receive communion in the hand and place the Host in his shirt pocket.

Such Catholic illiteracy is always totally unacceptable. However, I am pleased to record that at a Requiem Mass I attended last year for a young mother of six children and wife of a young friend, many young people chose to receive Holy Communion on the tongue in a kneeling position at the altar rails.

Communion in the hand began in 1976. The late British writer, Michael Davies, wrote that according to The Universe (then Britain's largest Catholic weekly), "Pope Paul has given permission for Holy Communion in the hand because he believes, as do the bishops, that it will emphasise the sacred nature of the communicant as a temple of the Holy Spirit, as well as the sacred nature of the Eucharist as the Body and Blood of Our Lord."

The average reader remained unaware of the fact that the Pope had made it clear he wished the faithful to continue with the traditional manner of receiving Holy Communion (see Communion in the Hand by Michael Davies, page 3) and that receiving on the hand was to be the exception.

The Parish Priest of St Aloysius' Church, Caulfield, and the Chaplain of the Cardinal Newman Community, Melbourne, deserves our thanks for making available to those under 40, who have never before attended a Mass in English celebrated ad oriens at the High Altar, i.e., where the priest and congregation face east, with the laity encouraged to follow Pope Benedict's desire that people receive Holy Communion on the tongue while kneeling at the altar rails.

The first of the Saturday weekly Vigil Masses was celebrated on 12 May with the goal of exemplifying "sacredness in continuity" and was a fitting prelude to Pentecost Sunday and the start of the Year of Grace.

Holland Park, Qld

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