On the Feast of Corpus Christi, we give thanks and praise to God for Christ’s continued presence among us through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. We should recall, however, that we receive the Body of Christ in Holy Communion to become more and more what we already are: the Body of Christ, which is the Church!
As we do each year on this feast, we offer a few reminders concerning the proper reception of Holy Communion:
1) The Eucharistic fast is one hour before receiving Holy Communion; water and medicine may be taken. For the elderly and the sick, the fast can be dispensed.
2) As you approach the minister, bow your head reverently as a sign of devotion to the Lord’s Presence in the Eucharist.
3) You may receive the Host on either the hand or the tongue. Please make it clear to the minister which way you are receiving (e.g., if receiving on the tongue, keep your hands folded).
4) If you receive on the hand, hold both hands up, one on top of the other, making a throne to receive your Lord and King. After the minister says, “The Body of Christ,” please respond clearly, “Amen.” Allow the minister to place the Host in your hand. (Please don’t grab it from the minister; nor should you receive the Host only using one hand.) Then use your other hand to place the Host in your mouth; please do not use the same hand – this awkward motion may cause the Host to drop.
5) If you are carrying anything in your hands, please receive on the tongue for the sake of reverence – this includes rosaries, canes, pocketbooks, worship aids, etc.
6) If you are holding a small child, please receive on the tongue – it is much safer.
7) If you receive on the tongue, say “Amen” first, then extend your tongue out of your mouth. Please do not move until the minister has placed the Host securely on your tongue.
8) Please allow the Altar Server to place the paten under your hands or your chin as you receive to ensure that no fragments fall to the ground.
9) If you receive from the chalice, again bow your head as you approach the minister, say “Amen” clearly, and take the chalice with both hands, being careful not to spill any of the Precious Blood.
10) Christ is fully present – Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity – under both species, in the smallest fragment of a Host, and in the smallest drop of the Precious Blood. That is why we take such great care of it, but it is also why it’s acceptable to receive under only one species.
11) We do have low-gluten hosts available; just request one in the Sacristy before Mass begins.
12) If you are not Catholic, or if you are Catholic but not properly disposed to receive Holy Communion, you are still welcome to come forward in the procession. If you do so, simply cross your arms over your chest as you approach the minister, who will make the Sign of the Cross on your forehead.
13) The Communion hymn allows us to join our voices as a sign of our unity in Christ that we experience through Holy Communion. (All the hymns for Mass can be found in the worship aids in your pew.) There will be time for silent prayer after the hymn concludes.
14) Please remain kneeling until the Blessed Sacrament has been returned to the tabernacle.
May our devotion to the Eucharist bear much fruit as this great Sacrament strengthens us to bring Christ’s Presence to a world in desperate need of Him.