At my confirmation “spirit” day my parish priest asked me to altar
serve. At communion one of the eucharistic ministers gave the host to
a lady and I saw her walking very far with it and I started walking after her, she cracked it in half and I believe she put half of it in her pocket. I ran to the deacon and he just said “thanks” and I told the priest and he said “Sometimes people make mistakes”. I almost cried. Who do I go to right now? He won’t make any announcements and he really doesn’t seem like he cared. I am questioning how much he believes in the true presence. What should I do?
A terrible experience to be sure.
What should you do?
There is little you can do at this point about what happened in the past.
However, if this is something that is happening regularly, then it must be brought to the attention of proper authority. That means the local bishop and/or the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. The CDF would be involved because it would involve profanation in a concrete instance. Concerning the regular practice of Communion in the hand which could be leading to danger of profanation, you would contact the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.
In the document Redemptionis Sacramentum we read:
[92.] Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. However, special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.
It may be that the woman who took the Host or part of the Host had the desire to take it to a sick person at home and therefore thought a) she was doing a good thing or b) she had the right to do it.
Again, if this is happening regularly in that parish, or more than one person is doing this, then there is definitely “risk of profanation”. If the parish priest is unwilling or unable to something about “risk of profanation”, then higher authority must.
What should take place in that parish, in my opinion, is that the pastor should give a workshop with clear instruction about how to distribute and when not to distribute. Also, he should post in the bulletin and also preach from the pulpit about the proper manner of reception of Communion. If there are more than one instances of this he should suspend Communion in the hand.
If this sort of thing is happening in the parish regularly, and the priest and the deacon(s) seem uninterested, then you may have the responsibility to bring this to the attention of the bishop of Congregation.
Toward the end of Redemptionis Sacramentum we read:
[183.] In an altogether particular manner, let everyone do all that is in their power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected. This is a most serious duty incumbent upon each and every one, and all are bound to carry it out without any favouritism.
[184.] Any Catholic, whether Priest or Deacon or lay member of Christ’s faithful, has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan Bishop or the competent Ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff. It is fitting, however, insofar as possible, that the report or complaint be submitted first to the diocesan Bishop. This is naturally to be done in truth and charity.
You can always write to your local bishop, explaining what you saw happen, and then ask what you ought to have done after the parish priest did not seem concerned. You always have the right to write to the bishop, and in this case you did already speak with the pastor.
If you write, don’t editorialize and don’t run any one down. Be brief and respectful, sticking closely to the facts without lots of additional commentary.
Finally, I think that Communion in the hand increases the risk of profanation exponentially. For that reason it should be suspended everywhere. But that is above my pay grade.