Sunday, February 3, 2019

Attention Catholics!

[While I invite everyone to read this posting, it is specifically
directed toward Catholics]
I have the privilege of being a Eucharistic Minister at St. Thomas Aquinas parish in Wichita. For non-Catholics, that means that the priest consecrates the hosts which are (Alka Seltzer-sized, but thinner) discs of unleavened bread into the genuine Body of Jesus Christ. More on the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist (its official name) here.

Because our congregation is quite large (the photo doesn't fully convey the size of the church with its cry room, choir loft, etc.), the Church (in our case the Diocese of Wichita) trains and commissions people to assist the priest by distributing the Eucharist to the congregation.
If able, please extend your tongue a bit
farther than pictured above. 
Now, the point of this posting: if you decide to receive the Eucharist on the tongue, rather than in your hands, here are some helpful suggestions that will make things easier for you and easier for the priest or the eucharistic minister.
  • When it is your turn, move into position and stop! Don't keep "drifting" toward the priest or minister. 
  • Open your mouth moderately wide (perhaps wider than you would instinctively). Keep your head stationary until you feel the host on your tongue. 
  • Extend your tongue as far as you conformably can and leave it extended until, again, you feel the host make contact with your tongue. 
  • Then, close, take a quick glance around, and reverently move away so the next person can receive Communion. 
What brought all of this up? Today, I dropped a host for the first time in two decades. Fortunately, I caught it before it could hit the floor. As I was trying to place the host on her tongue, she prematurely closed her mouth and moved her head forward and knocked the host out of my land. 

There was a second recipient who did everything right until he abruptly moved forward as I was placing it on his tongue and I poked him on the upper lip (sorry about that!). 

If everyone will keep these suggestions in mind, receiving the Eucharist will be easier for all concerned. 

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