03 February 2008

Reception Of Holy Communion: The GIRM Speaks

My emboldening. 284b suggests that Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion who administer the chalice may not consume the Blood of Christ which remains, but should give what remains to the priest or deacon for them to consume.

160. The priest then takes the paten or ciborium and goes to the communicants, who, as a rule, approach in a procession. The faithful are not permitted to take the consecrated Bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them from one to another. The faithful communicate either kneeling or standing, as determined by the Conference of Bishops. When they communicate standing, however, it is recommended that they make an appropriate sign of reverence, as determined in the same norms, before receiving the Sacrament.

161. If Communion is given only under the species of bread, the priest raises the host slightly and shows it to each, saying: Corpus Christi (The Body of Christ). The communicant replies: Amen, and receives the Sacrament either on the tongue or, where this is allowed and if the communicant so chooses, in the hand. As soon as the communicant receives the host, he or she consumes it entirely. If, however, Communion is given under both kinds, the rite prescribed in nos. 284-287 is followed.

162. The priest may be assisted in the distribution of Communion by other priests who happen to be present. If such priests are not present and there is a very large number of communicants, the priest may call upon extraordinary ministers to assist him, i.e., duly instituted acolytes or even other faithful who have been deputed for this purpose. In case of necessity, the priest may depute suitable faithful for this single occasion. These ministers should not approach the altar before the priest has received Communion, and they are always to receive from the hands of the priest celebrant the vessel containing either species of the Most Holy Eucharist for distribution to the faithful.

284. When Communion is distributed under both kinds:

a. the chalice is usually administered by a deacon or, when no deacon is present, by a priest, or even by a duly instituted acolyte or another extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, or by a member of the faithful who, in case of necessity, has been entrusted with this duty for a
single occasion;

b. whatever may remain of the Blood of Christ is consumed at the altar by the priest or the deacon or the duly instituted acolyte who ministered the chalice. The same then purifies, wipes, and arranges the sacred vessels in the usual way.

Any of the faithful who wish to receive Holy Communion under the species of bread alone should be granted their wish.

285. For Communion under both kinds the following should be prepared:

a. If Communion from the chalice is carried out by communicants’ drinking directly from the chalice, a chalice of a sufficiently large size or several chalices are prepared. Care should, however, be taken in planning lest beyond what is needed of the Blood of Christ remains to be consumed at the end of the celebration.

b. If Communion is carried out by intinction, the hosts should be neither too thin nor too small, but rather a little thicker than usual, so that after being dipped partly into the Blood of Christ they can still easily be distributed to each communicant.

286. If Communion of the Blood of Christ is carried out by communicants’ drinking from the chalice, each communicant, after receiving the Body of Christ, moves and stands facing the minister of the chalice. The minister says: Sanguis Christi (The Blood of Christ), the communicant responds: Amen, and the minister hands over the chalice, which the communicant raises to his or her mouth. Each communicant drinks a little from the chalice, hands it back to the minister, and then withdraws; the minister wipes the rim of the chalice with the purificator.


Benfan said...

In my innocence I was asked to be a EMHC. I agreed and went along to a training session. We were told to approach the altar at the Lamb of God. The purificators were not to be folded but left any old way it didn't matter at the side after communion. They looked like discarded tissue paper. We had to purify the vessels. The parish is small so there was not really any need on an ongoing basis. I did not feel right about dumping the purificators so I folded them over the Chalice. I was told by another EMHC that what I had done was unnecessary. I told her it was necessary for me. I gave out HC once and it really disturbed me. I never expected it but I had such a strong question of "what am I doing here?" When I found out the GIRMs I resigned. It was a little difficult because you come under a certain amount of scrutiny but I'm so happy to be away from it now.

gemoftheocean said...

ttony - While in principle I agree with the one re: the priest, deacon or instituted acolyte consuming the remains of the Precious Blood, there is a VERY practical reason why it may even be advisable for a lay EM to assist.

Scenario: Large urban US parish. There is NO deacon, Communion given under both kinds, and as to instituted acolytes? Well and truly dreaming. Add a few hundred people at Mass. Take one priest. Size 150 pounds if he jumps up and down on the scale a little. Now as careful as the priest is not to consecrate MORE than needed, at best, they're only guessing as to how many people will drink from the cup. It's quite well possible that by ONLY HIM consuming all that remained he may be well over the limit for alcohol. He could potentially be legally drunk. And there are many occasions where a "supply priest" would drive himself to Mass.

Here's where "the boys" weren't thinking things ALL the way through. I think having an EM help consume the remainder after Communion would be downright sensible, if not preferable to having the priest get arrested for drunk driving.

Ttony said...

Errrrrrr, why not make that "Communion In One Kind Only Sunday"?

gemoftheocean said...

ttony, because then *every* Sunday would be One Kind only Sunday. As to my own parish at the 5:15 Sunday, we only distribute Communion under one kind. I know during the day they have enough EMs for the Communion Cups, but if the pastor had to do back back Sunday AM Masses he could be looped by Mass two if some of the EMs didn't help.

I'm not really confident re: the "current powers that be" with re: to his own, shall I say "fastidiousness" in the way a few of the EMs they've sent our way to "help" have been trained under his auspices. Let me put it this way: I (and not the pastor or whomever "trained" them) was the one to inform them of the good practice of cleaning their thumb and forefinger after giving out Communion. It was "news" to them.

The supply priest I assist on Sunday was grateful I pointed that "little niceity" out to them. I know I probably might come off as somewhat of a liberal to many in the trad blogdom as far as liturgical matters go in my defense of the Mass vs populam. But believe me, when it comes down to brass tacks as to the handling of the Sacred Species I know I'm only there as an extra set of hands, but WHOMEVER helps should be just as fastidious as the priest (or MORE, given the priest these days.) Benfan's experience makes me shudder too regards the sloppiness in handling the purificators, for instance.

Ttony said...

Another alternative is a limited amount of wine in the chalices which are to be consecrated for the people. It means that those who come up late for communion will receive in one form only, but we know that that's fine!