September 11, 2022

Dear Parishioners and Friends of our parish,

I hope you are doing well!  After a relatively calm summer, this week is beginning to see the return of many parishioners to our church. I thought this would be an appropriate time to remind ourselves of the proper reception of the Eucharist at Mass. In Holy Communion, we receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As Catholics, we believe that Christ is truly present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist under the appearance of bread and wine. It is a Real Presence, not a symbolic presence. Thus we must approach this sublime gift of love from God worthily.

Recently, I am told that an odd thing has happened more than once at our church, and our liturgical ministers have asked that I bring it to everyone’s attention. It has to do with some people who come forward to receive Holy Communion, placing one hand upon the other correctly, but do not consume the Consecrated Host immediately. Instead, they walk away carrying the Host in one hand or, in a few instances, putting it in their pocket. Whenever this happens, the priest or Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion would have to stop right away and follow that person to ensure that the Sacred Host is consumed. Please know that as a general norm, communicants must consume the Body of Christ immediately upon reception while still standing in front of the priest or Eucharistic Minister. Under NO circumstance should a person bring the Consecrated Host away for another use.

To ensure the proper reception of Holy Communion and prevent any potential sacrilege to the Sacred Host, I am inviting everyone, especially our ushers, to be vigilant. If you happen to notice that someone is walking away with the Host in his or her hand, please do not hesitate to tap the person on the shoulder and ask him or her, calmly and respectfully, to consume it immediately.  If that person does not do so, please immediately notify one of the priests. Your active vigilance will help us to concentrate on the liturgical action without needless distraction or worry.

It is commendable that our ushers are usually watchful in this regard. Ideally, an usher should stand reverently near the columns flanking our sanctuary during the distribution of Communion, and another by the table of the Offertory Gifts in the middle of the church at the same time. Together, these ministers help to ensure a smooth and orderly Communion line. After all, this is one of the most sacred moments in the liturgical celebration when we approach the Altar to receive the Lord Himself into our body and soul. A reverent posture is not only appropriate; it is required.

I want to thank all our faithful parishioners for your attention to this important matter. As a priest, I am always inspired by the reverence that the vast majority of you show when you gather in church for worship. Let us together witness to the ancient Christian truth lex orandi lex credendi, namely, how we pray really shows what we believe.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham