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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Friday, February 22, 2008
A Gentle Reminder
A Gentle Reminder
To receive Holy Communion or the Eucharist means the same thing, it is the Body of Christ that we receive, it is our spiritual food as we move forward towards Heaven. There are no words to describe the sacredness of what we receive at Mass. When it comes to receiving, the priest or extraordinary minister holds up the consecrated host and says to the person “The body of Christ”, to which the person replies “Amen” meaning “so be it” or
“let it be so”. Amen is a sort of completion word, a conclusion. Amen may be described as a sacred “agreement” word between God and the person receiving Holy Communion. In other words, it is a very sacred moment when you receive the Body of Christ (either on the tongue or on the hand, supported by the other hand underneath).

Sadly some practicing Catholics do not know about or perhaps have lost sight of the sacred character of that great moment when receiving Holy Communion. Again the priest or minister of Communion holds up the sacred host and says to the person” Body of Christ”: instead of saying “ Amen” clearly, I have heard such replies as “ cheers”, “thanks mate”, “you’re looking well”, “good-on-ye”, in other “responses” the “amen” becomes some sort of a low-sounding grunt, while a small few receive the Eucharist with dirty hands or with gloves on and some with chewing gum in their mouth!!!! This all adds up to a sheer lack of respect for the Eucharist.

Also it is a sign of poor spiritual preparation for the Mass. The worst offenders, if that’s the right word, are among the adults. By and large most people receive the Sacred Host with reverence, great! Keep it that way: But where there is a lack of reverence in this matter, then the priest is bound to express what has just been expressed. It may simply be that some have not heard it before. I, as a priest here in this parish, enjoy celebrating Mass with people of God, for the people of God. After each Mass, after distributing the Eucharist among the faithful, I feel fulfilled having done what God expects me to do, for a priest this is a great privilege. I’ll leave you to reflect on what I have just expressed, and lastly concerning the FAST before Holy Communion (“Father! I never knew we had to fast before receiving Communion”..!).

Canon Law (919) states the following “whoever is to receive the Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before Holy Communion from all food and drink, with the sole exception of water and medicine, the elderly and those who are suffering from some illness, as well as those who care for them, may receive the Eucharist even if within the preceding hour they have consumed something.” Fr Kieran S.V.D.
P.S. the church also asks communicants to make a special sign of reverence before Holy Communion. This can be a bow, genuflection or the sign of the cross.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 1:49 pm