Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

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Monday, February 26, 2007

The Sacred Liturgy, Nos. 20-24

20. The Communion Rites
The Mass is both the re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, and the Paschal Banquet that commemorates Jesus’ Last Supper, when He gave His Body and Blood to the Apostles to be eaten. He desires the same for us, and so the Church teaches that it is desirable that the Catholic faithful receive the Eucharist when they attend Mass.
The Communion Rites are preparation for the reception of the Eucharist. In the Lord’s Prayer, the pattern given by Christ for all prayer, we together ask the Lord for “daily bread,” which the Church teaches “means preeminently the Eucharistic bread.” The priest’s prayer that follows begs deliverance from the power of evil for the entire community.
In the Rite of Peace, the Church prays for peace and unity for herself and the world. The faithful express to each other their unity and mutual charity as Christians. In the United States, the sign of peace is customarily given by shaking hands. It is only given to those nearby in a sober manner, that is, with no distracting gestures, moving through the aisles, conversations, etc. The priest is to remain in the sanctuary during the Rite.
GIRM 80-82

21. The Fraction and the Reception of Communion
After the sign of peace, the priest (and deacons) breaks the Eucharistic Bread. Jesus’ gesture of “breaking bread” at the Last Supper signifies that the many faithful are made one body by receiving the one Body of Jesus Christ (I Cor. 10:17). Only priests and deacons may break the Eucharistic Bread.
The priest breaks a small piece of the Host and puts it into the chalice, symbolizing the unity of the Body and Blood of the Lord in the work of salvation. During these rites, we sing the Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”).
The priest elevates the Host, saying the words of John the Baptist: “Behold the Lamb of God….” The people respond with the sentiments of the Centurion whose servant Jesus healed: “Lord, I am not worthy…only say the word….”
It is most desirable that the faithful receive Hosts consecrated at the Mass they attend, though reserved Hosts may be distributed as well if necessary. Ideally, the faithful receive from the same Host as the priest, symbolizing the unity of the one Body of Christ in the one Bread. The faithful approach the Altar to receive Communion in a procession, expressing their unity as the Body of Christ coming to receive the Lord.
GIRM 83-87

22. Dispositions for Receiving Holy Communion
Holy Communion is singularly sacred and those who approach to receive it ought to strive to worthy of so great a gift. A person must examine his or her life seriously. If one is aware of having committed a mortal sin, one should not receive the Eucharist without having first received the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
An exception is made where Confession is not available, something almost never the case in the diocese of the United States, where it is offered regularly. In such a situation, a person is to make an act of perfect contrition (declaring to the Lord that one is sincerely sorry for having sinned), with the intent of going to Confession as soon as possible.
Mortal sin is defined by three elements: (1) grave matter, i.e. something serious; (2) full knowledge of what one has done; (3) full consent of the will, i.e. acting freely and not coerced or under duress. Such sins separate one from God and prevent one from receiving Communion.
As we prepare our souls for Communion by going to Confession, we also prepare our bodies by fasting one hour prior to receiving Communion.
It should never be presumed or taught that everyone at Mass must receive Communion. It is up to each person individually to decide whether or not he or she is worthy to receive, and to act accordingly.
RS 80ff

23. Distribution of Holy Communion
It is the Celebrant’s responsibility to distribute Communion, assisted by other priests and deacons. In cases of true necessity extraordinary ministers assist the priest.
The Host may be received on the tongue, or in the hand. Communion patens are to be held by the servers to catch particles of the Host that may fall. The faithful may not take Communion for themselves, or pass the vessels from one to another. A person may receive Communion again the same day only within a Mass in which he/she is participating.
Priests (con)celebrating at Mass must receive both species, and always before the people receive.
Communion may be distributed to the faithful under both species, as a fuller sign of the Eucharistic banquet. It must be kept in mind that the whole Christ – body, blood, soul, and divinity – exists in both the Host and the Precious Blood, so it is not necessary to receive both. Communion may be given by means of Intinction, that is, dipping the Host into the Precious Blood. The faithful may not intinct themselves. Hosts distributed by intinction may only be received on the tongue.
RS 88-106

24. The Concluding Rites
After the distribution of Communion, the priest, deacon, instituted acolyte, or extraordinary minister purifies the sacred vessels – Chalices and Ciboria (this name for the vessel containing Hosts is from the Latin cibus, meaning “food”).
A time of silent prayer is always be observed after Communion. It is good to make a Thanksgiving after Communion, a prayer thanking Jesus for the tremendous gift of His Body and Blood in the Eucharist. In the Post-Communion Prayer, the priest prays for the fruits of the Eucharistic mystery just celebrated. This prayer brings to completion the whole celebration of the Mystical Body of Christ.
The Concluding Rites include the announcements, which are meant to come after the Prayer and in no other place. The priest then gives the blessing, either in the usual form or the Solemn Blessing on special feasts and holy days. The Solemn Blessings are good to reflect upon because they express the spiritual meaning of the feast. Then the priest or deacon dismisses then people. The very name of the Mass comes from the Latin word Missa, which is derived from the word meaning “sent forth.” We are sent forth to love and serve God, and one another, and proclaim our faith in all we do!
GIRM 89-90

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