I refer to the letter from Fr John Speekman (November AD2000) in which concern is expressed about the majority of Catholic secondary school students who are ignoring their obligation to assist at Sunday Mass. Fr Speekman finds it difficult to distribute the Lord's Body at school Masses, because these students do not confess their deliberate failures in this regard in the Sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving Holy Communion.
It has greatly disturbed me also in school, youth, and funeral Masses to see so many non-practising students going up and showing little sign of reverence, love or faith for the Lord's Body, and making the Lord enter in their apparently unprepared and indifferent hearts. I have shed silent tears to see Jesus openly ridiculed and persecuted by so many non-practising Catholics. They have turned a deaf ear to Jesus' soft voice, "I am Jesus, why are you persecuting Me". Jesus asked Saul this question before his conversion
Our bishops, priests, RE teachers and parents have the duty and the privilege to proclaim more boldly the truth about the greatness of the Eucharist. St Paul urged the Corinthians in his time "to prepare ourselves, and examine our conscience for so great and so holy moment. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgement upon himself" (1 Cor 11:27-29).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that anyone "conscious of a grave sin" must receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion (CCC, 1385).
Unworthily received Communions would be greatly reduced if the bishops were to ask their priests to celebrate a Liturgy of the Word in our secondary schools where now they celebrate the Eucharist. The Catechism is one of the most important documents and the greatest gifts of the Holy Spirit since the Council of Trent. Our priests and Church leaders should at all times promote and encourage Catholics to read and study this important resource and reference book of our Catholic faith.