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Q: I have heard that the Church does not allow us to dip the Host into a chalice so that we can receive the Eucharist under both forms. But when I watched part of World Youth Day, I saw many clergy, including bishops and cardinals, doing this. What are the rules of the Church on this practice?

A: Last week, I explained that the dipping action is called intinction. Check out my answer from last week on why the clergy received by intinction at the World Youth Day. This week, I’d like to explore why the lay faithful are not permitted to receive by intinction. First, lay faithful are not permitted to self-communicate by dipping the Host that they will consume into the precious Blood. When we “self-communicate” we are giving ourselves the Eucharist. As lay faithful, we must be in a posture of reception when we receive the Eucharist. This is also why we do not take the Host out of the ciborium (the bowl that holds the Hosts) ourselves; it must be given to us. So then why can’t the Eucharistic Ministers, priests or deacons dip the Host into the consecrated wine and offer it to us? The practice is not permitted here in the Diocese of Trenton and the reason goes back to scripture. In St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 11:25), we hear an early form of the Eucharistic liturgy. It says, “ In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’” Notice that Jesus does not say, “dip” but “drink.” The Diocese of Trenton stopped the practice of intinction because as a liturgical action, dipping does not match the words that Jesus says. In addition, when intinction was practiced before Vatican II, it was a complicated and messy process. A cloth needed to be put under the chin of the person receiving by intinction so that no drop of Precious Blood would be lost.  Then the Host was put directly into the mouth of the person receiving Communion. This would not be a helpful way to distribute communion during a pandemic. If this is all so, why can’t the lay faithful receive the Precious Blood by intinction but the clergy can? The clergy celebrating or concelebrating the must receive the Eucharist under the form of both Bread and Wine to complete the sacrifice of the Mass. This liturgical action is not required by the lay faithful. However the lay faithful can rest in the fact that, in the Host, the lay faithful receive all of Jesus:  Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

Q: I have heard that the Church does not allow us to dip the Host into a chalice so that we can receive the Eucharist under both forms. But when I watched part of World Youth Day, I saw many clergy, including bishops and cardinals, doing this. What are the rules of the Church on this practice?

A: There are two questions here. What is the dipping action? And what are the rules for the laity on this? In my answer this week, we will talk about the dipping action. Next week, we will tackle the rules for the laity on this practice. The dipping of the Host into the consecrated wine is called “intinction.” This is an approved way to receive the blood of Christ as stated in the current edition of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal: “The blood of the Lord may be received either by drinking from the chalice directly or by intinction” (245). As the question states, the clergy at World Youth Day received the Blood of Christ by intinction. Why? In order for the sacrifice of the Mass to be completed, the priest and/or concelebrants must consume  the Bread and Wine. Intinction is a way to do this without passing the cup around to all the clergy. The question then becomes, since we cannot receive the Blood of Christ from the cup because of the pandemic, why can’t the lay faithful receive by intinction as well? Join me next week as I explore this question.

Q: How can I prepare myself to receive the Eucharist?

A: A great way to prepare to receive the Eucharist is to come to Mass early. This allows you to prepare yourself quietly for the experience of the readings and the prayers of the Mass and the reception of our Lord in communion. Although it is small practice that each of us can adopt, it has the power to strengthen our faith and help us appreciate more deeply the mystery we are invited to enter as we approach the presence of God with us in the Eucharist. Those few minutes of quiet preparation have the spiritual effect of making our heart “an avenue for the Lord.” All it takes is a little time to recollect our thoughts, recall what we are doing and thank God for the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

Q: When And Why Was The Eucharist Instituted?

A: With great clarity, the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy teaches: “At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his body and blood. He did this to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the centuries until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is received, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future life is given to us” (SC 47).   SC: the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy – source


Q:  What is meant By Transubstantiation?

A:  During the Last Supper, Jesus “took bread, said the blessing, broke it and giving it to his disciples said, “’Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it , all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.’” The bread was not as a symbol of His Body. The wine was not as a symbol of His Blood. Therefore during the prayers of consecration said during Mass, the whole substance of the bread truly becomes the substance of the Body of Christ and the whole substance of the wine truly becomes the substance of the Blood of Christ. This change is called transubstantiation. 

Q:  In the Creed, we say that Jesus is consubstantial with the Father. What does that mean?

A:  Jesus Christ is not simply one with God; He is of the same existence, the same essence as God. Jesus is God.

Q: Can we have the wine in little cups like they do in protestant churches.

A: Because of the pandemic, we have not been permitted by the diocese to distribute the Precious Blood to the community. We long to receive Jesus…not just His Body but also His Blood. This leads us to wonder whether or not we can receive the Precious Blood in individual serving size cups like they do in other denominations. We cannot do this for many reasons. The vessels that hold the wine that will be consecrated are blessed and set apart from other cups. Also, the material of the vessels that will hold the wine matters because they will hold the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior. That is why our vessels are not only beautiful but crafted from the finest crystal, silver and gold that we can afford as a parish. Finally and most importantly, we could not control what happens to serving size plastic cups after the wine is consumed. The smallest drop of Precious Blood left the bottom of a cup could save the world. This is why our deacons and Eucharistic Ministers lovingly and carefully purify the cups used during Mass to make sure that there is no trace of Precious Blood left. This is also why there is a dedicated sink in our Sacristy that drains directly into the ground. We would never want the Precious Blood of Jesus to be mixed in with everything else that goes down a drain

Q: Why doesn’t the Catholic Church better publicize Eucharistic miracles that conclusively prove that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ?

A: Eucharistic miracles are extraordinary events, where the Eucharist no longer appears under the form of bread and wine but takes on the biological qualities of human flesh or blood or both. They are scientifically verified but cannot be scientifically explained. So why doesn’t the Church publicize these events? Well, our faith is not founded on Eucharistic miracles, but on the proclamation of the Lord Jesus. For Catholics, while we must recognize God can and does do extraordinary things, there is no obligation to believe in Eucharistic miracles. In fact, Eucharistic miracles can unintentionally shake the foundation of faith for some people by leading them to believe that the Eucharistic miracle is more important that the everyday lived experience of Mass. The Eucharist is the true, great inexhaustible daily miracle. To see a list of Eucharistic miracles go to miracolieucaristici.org.

Q: How long is Jesus present after the Host is consumed during communion?

A: The Host (the Eucharistic species of bread) remains for about 15 minutes after reception during communion. This is based on the biology of the digestive system. It also reflects the Catechism’s statement that the presence of Christ “endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1377). This is why many saints have recommended offering 15 minutes of prayer after receiving the Eucharist as a thanksgiving to God. This quiet time allows the soul to savor the presence of God and have a true “heart-to-heart” with Jesus who is more than just with us but who is truly within us.

Here is a nice article: aleteia.org/2017/05/17/how-long-is-jesus-present-in-the-eucharist-after-weve-received-communion/

Q: What are the fruits of Eucharistic Adoration?

A: People who practice/engage in Eucharistic Adoration experience a deeper devotion to Jesus, and this manifests itself in countless ways. The primary fruits are repentance and conversion which lead to increased charity – in other words, we love God, so we come to love His people more too. The Adoration of Jesus in the Eucharist also leads to greater reverence at Mass, a deeper desire for personal holiness, and a stronger sense of union with the parish and the whole Church. A great link to look at titled, 10 Surprising Things That Happen When You Go To Adoration, is available to read on the adoration link on our webpage : holyeucharist.org/adoration

Q: What should I do during Eucharistic Adoration?

A: There is no right or wrong way to pray and worship in Eucharistic Adoration; there are many ways to do this. The main purpose of Adoration is realizing who is present – the Body of Christ. We may meditate silently by gazing on the sacred Host. We may silently speak to Jesus from our mind and heart. We may also rely on devotions and prayers from Catholic tradition, such as the reading of Scripture, silent recitation of the rosary, or the litanies. For the how-to of Adoration at Holy Eucharist you may check out our website: holyeucharist.org/adoration

Q: What is proper etiquette during Eucharistic adoration?

A: Whenever we enter or leave, and whenever we pass before the place where the sacred Host is reserved, we should genuflect (bend on one knee) or bow deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord, to show the reverence due the King of Kings, our Lord and Savior. We should avoid any actions that might disturb or distract others or draw attention to ourselves rather than Jesus. For the how-to of Adoration at Holy Eucharist you may check out our website: holyeucharist.org/adoration

Q: Why is the Host put into a metal vessel for Adoration?

A: The metal vessel that the Host is placed into is called a monstrance. There are three purposes to for this practice that we call Eucharistic exposition: 

1. To acknowledge Christ’s marvelous presence in the sacrament.

2. To lead us to a fuller participation in the celebration of the Eucharist, culminating in Holy Communion.

3. To foster the worship which is due to Christ in spirit and in truth.

Q: I have not been to confession for several years and I have not taken communion because of it. Has the church changed its rules about communion?

A: The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance” (CCC, 1415). A sin is mortal when (1) the thought, word, deed, or omission concerns something serious; (2) we think about what we were doing when we commit the sin; and (3) we consent completely to it. If you are unsure whether or not you are in a state of grace, it is a good idea to visit the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

If it has been a long time since you have been to confession, now is a great time to go! Here at Holy Eucharist, I am available to hear confession on Saturdays between 3:30 and 4:30pm or by appointment. If you don’t remember the Act of Contrition prayer or the formula for receiving Reconciliation, no worries. I can guide you through the process and I even have a card with the Act of Contrition, if you need it. Just come. As Father Mike Schmitz says, “Confession is a place of victory.” https://youtu.be/YiVjwlUO9Sc

Q: How long is Jesus present in the sacrament of the Eucharist?

A: Jesus is present in the sacrament permanently. His presence is abiding, not something that vanishes at the conclusion of Mass. The consecrated Hosts remaining after Communion are kept in a special place of honor called the tabernacle.

*Source: [Catechism of the Catholic church 1377, 1379]

Q: What do I do if I have a gluten sensitivity? 

A: The most recent document in the Catholic Church about how to handle gluten sensitivities teaches that the bread must contain some gluten in order to be valid to use during Mass. There are two options for how to handle a gluten sensitivity. For the first option, a low gluten bread can be used for those who have a gluten intolerance. For the second option, if you have a severe gluten allergy, you can receive just the cup during the reception of Eucharist. The Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ are received fully in the Bread and fully in the Wine, in each species of the Eucharist. Unfortunately, at this time, due to the pandemic, we are not able to offer the cup to the community.

Here at Holy Eucharist, we make every effort to enable each person to receive the Eucharist. If you need special accommodations, please see a sacristan at least 20 minutes before Mass. The sacristan can be found near the Eucharistic Minister signup sheets located outside the Sacristy in the hallway leading to the Daily Chapel. If the sacristan is not there, you can let a Host Minister or Welcome Center Minister know that you need to speak with a sacristan. They will find the sacristan for you. If you are comfortable with receiving a low gluten bread, you will be given a pyx (a small round box) and the package with the bread in it. To avoid contamination, you will open the package and put the low gluten bread into the pyx yourself. Then this pyx will be put into Father Andrew’s ciborium (the low bowl that contains the bread to be consecrated). To receive Communion, you will stand in Father Andrew’s line. When you come up to Father Andrew, you will let Father Andrew know that the pyx is yours and he will hand it to you. You will then open the pyx and consume the consecrated Host. 

For more information about how the Catholic Church handles gluten sensitivities and the Mass check out this link: https://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/the-mass/order-of-mass/liturgy-of-the-eucharist/celiac-disease-and-alcohol-intolerance

Q: Why are we having a Eucharistic Revival?

A: Because the Church needs healing, and the world needs the Church. Scandal, division, disease, doubt. The Church has withstood each of these throughout history. But today we confront all of them, all at once. Our response in this moment is pivotal. In the midst of these roaring waves, Jesus is present, reminding us that he is more powerful than the storm. He desires to heal, renew, and unify the Church and the world. How will he do it? By uniting us once again around the source and summit of our faith—the Holy Eucharist.

*source: https://www.eucharisticrevival.org

Q: What does the word “Eucharist” mean?

A: The term “Eucharist” originates from the Greek word eucharistia, meaning thanksgiving. “And when he had given thanks (Greek: eucharistésas or “eucharisted”), he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me’” (1 Cor 11:24).

*source: https://www.usccb.org/eucharist

Q: Is the Eucharist a symbol?

A: No! The transformed bread and wine are truly the Body and Blood of Christ and are not merely symbols. When Christ said “This is my body” and “This is my blood,” He meant it. During Mass, the bread and wine are transubstantiated. What does “transubstantiation” mean? Although the bread and wine appear the same to our human faculties, they are actually the real Body and Blood of Christ.

*source: https://www.usccb.org/eucharist

Q:  What did St. Teresa of Calcutta have to say about the Eucharist?

A: “Jesus has made Himself the Bread of Life to give us life. Night and day, He is there. If you really want to grow in love, come back to the Eucharist, come back to that Adoration.”— St. Teresa of Calcutta

“Known for her heroic works of charity among “the poorest of the poor,” Mother Teresa often remarked that she and her sisters could not carry out their mission without daily, regular Eucharistic adoration.”

*source: Our Sunday Visitor - 11 men and women of the Eucharist