A priest who ‘get’s it’ about how people receive Communion!

Vote for Fr. Z!WDTPRS KUDOS to Fr. Lankeit!

Here is the text from his 30 January bulletin of the Cathedral of Sts. Simon and Jude in , Very Rev. Fr. Fr. John Lankeit.

Here is a link to the PDF if you want to see his emphases!

Here is the text, ne pereat.

While you read this, do an examination of conscience.  Do you do any of the things he describes?

A Letter from Our Cathedral Rector

Dear Parishioners,

I want to thank all of you who have recently started receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, not to mention those of you who already had been.  [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] This subject has generated a lot of buzz over the past few weeks, the vast majority of which has been overwhelmingly positive.

While my main objective in encouraging reception on the tongue is to deepen appreciation for the Eucharist,  I also have a pastoral responsibility to eliminate abuses common to receiving in the hand.  Such abuses are no doubt unintentional.

Nevertheless, what I witness troubles me.  And I’m not alone.

In 2004, responding to the problem of Eucharistic profanation, the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacrament released an official instruction entitled REDEMPTIONIS SACRAMENTUM: On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist.

Regarding Holy Communion, the document states:

“[S]pecial 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.” (Paragraph #92).

Here are just a few examples of profanation that I see all too frequently:

•  Blessing oneself with the host before consuming it. (The act of blessing with the Eucharist is called “Benediction” and is reserved to clergy).
•  Receiving the host in the palm of the hand, contorting that same hand until the host is controlled by the fingers, then consuming it (resembling a one-handed “watch-the-coin-disappear” magic trick)
•  Popping the host into the mouth like a piece of popcorn.
•  Attempting to receive with only one hand.
•  Attempting to receive with other items in the hands, like a dirty Kleenex or a Rosary.
•  Receiving the host with dirty hands.
•  Receiving the host, closing the hand around it, then letting the hand fall to the side (as if carrying a suitcase) while walking away and/or blessing oneself with the other hand.
•  Walking away without consuming the host.
•  Giving the host to someone else after receiving…yes, it happens!

We would never treat a  piece of GOLD with such casualness — especially in this  economy!!  Yet many treat this Eucharistic “piece” of GOD with casualness at best, indifference and irreverence at worst.

Of course, much abuse is due to ignorance, owing to poor catechesis, which is precisely why I have written about this issue for four consecutive weeks. [OORAH!]

Yet we have another great incentive…

When Holy Communion is received on the tongue…every single one of these abuses is instantly eliminated!  [ERGO….]

The way we treat another person says more  about our relationship with  that person than any words we might say.  This is especially true of our relationship with the Divine Person, Jesus Christ.  So let us continually seek to increase our reverence for our Eucharistic Savior, and to eliminate anything that degrades the respect He deserves.  The graces we receive will surely be greater than anything we can imagine!

God’s Blessings… my prayers…

Very Rev. Fr. John Lankeit
Ss. Simon & Jude Cathedral

If you do any of those those things…. KNOCK IT OFF.

You priests and bishops out there… please help people receive more reverently.

Kneeling and directly on the tongue is a great start.

Say a prayer, now please, for Fr. Lankeit.

By the way… this is the Cathedral of the Diocese of PHOENIX, AZ.

Remember who the bishop is there?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Fr. Z KUDOS, Just Too Cool and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Ben Yanke says:

    I can picture the kneelers coming out already…

  2. Marek says:


  3. As a parishioner of St. Simon & Jude, I want to thank you so much for posting this, and for praying for our amazing priest, Fr. Lankeit! He needs those prayers.

  4. Tom Ryan says:

    Compare this with the syndicated Q&A authored by Fr. John Dietzen on the subject of Benedict XVI and Communion in the Hand:


  5. wantny says:

    A good pastor in the diocese of Rockville Centre, NY tried to enforce paragraph #92 of Redemptionis Sacramentum as well. He spent months preparing parishioners to receive on the tongue, as he had been made aware of disturbing situations whereby the Eucharist was being profaned. Unfortunately, one week after he made the switch to distributing Communion on the tongue only, the “liturgy nun” of the Diocese demanded that he reverse his policy, effective immediately.

  6. THREEHEARTS says:

    Three witnessed abuses to the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass , the Eucharist.
    A priest chased a little boy too young for communion down the aisle arrived at the boy’s parents just as the mother wrapped it in a tissue and placed it in her purse. When asked what were they doing. Our dog is sick…
    Another church same diocese on the North West Coast of north america, another young boy too young to receive took the host back to his mother and she too put it in her purse. The priest when challenged and this priest one had to challenge. Denied it had happened at first, then said the mother put it away as she did not want it defiled. Then would not come out of his rectory to confront my son and be shown who the woman was. The most dreadful I have kept for last. Big picture on the morning rag of a young fellow waiting in line for the first day’s opening of IKEA on a sunday around mid morning. His sister went to mass took the Eucharist and brought it to him in the line up. He told the reporter he did not want to miss mass and so his sister went and fetched the Eucharist while he held their places.


  7. ejcmartin says:

    Unfortunately I once witnessed someone go up to communion singing, hymnbook in hand. Once he got up to the priest he nodded in the direction of the hymnbook not skipping a beat of the tune. As if choreographed sometome earlier the priest (also our local VG) placed the Eucharist on his hymnbook as the the communicant went back to his pew.

  8. David Homoney says:

    It is funny, but in the 70s is when all this stuff changed. Alters and priests did a 180. Receipt of the Blessed Sacrament in the hand started. Mass said in the vernacular began. Platoons of EMHC started rushing up. Music went from sacred to mealymouthed drivel. Sermons went from catechetical to mishmash and on and on and on. What has been the results?

    Before the change 75% of Catholics went to Mass every week, now 25% at best
    We have abortion legalized and in the case of NYC 41% of all pregnancies end in abortion. We are awash in contraception, co-habitation, fornication, sodomy, and pornography. We see all the people in the line for Communion and how lackadaisical they are about receiving the body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. When can we all admit, that the application of Vatican 2 has been an abject failure? Notice I am not saying that Vatican II was wrong; the more I read the documents of the council, the more I love them, but the application has been awful, and I fear for the souls of all who taught falsity about V2, for they may be very toasty now.

    The silver lining to all of this is that the parishes that offer the EF or are strictly the EF are thriving and growing parishes. They are filled with young people and young families living and on fire with the Catholic faith. Most NO only parishes are getting older, with stagnant or dropping attendance. I get so tired at times of hearing all the mushy “diversity” crap about COTH vs. COTT, there is not doubt that COTH has been an abject failure and along with lack of teaching has lead to the sad state of Eucharistic reception we see today. Our Holy Father’s actions speak louder than words. Pepe Benedict is the Pope of Christian Unity, but as importantly Fr. Z he is the Pope of Catholic Tradition and Identity. May God Bless him and keep him going strong.

  9. APX says:

    “When Holy Communion is received on the tongue…every single one of these abuses is instantly eliminated!”

    I’m reminded to back in my younger years the priest at our parish went on a rant during his homily about mothers coming up for communion with their toddler in tow in one arm and receiving communion in the other hand. The issue that comes to my mind now when re-thinking this is if they receive it on their tongue, how does the priest or communion distributor deal with toddlers who have grabby hands and grabs at the host? I’m not arguing that one shouldn’t receive communion on the tongue; I’ve just seen some very grabby toddlers at church. [Parents should keep control of their children’s grabby hands while they receive.]

  10. Joshua08 says:

    I am very much against communion in hand, but to play devil’s advocate. I have the legitimate option of doing so in the US and most other countries. However I can only receive with one hand as my right arm is disabled (at least more than enough to be useless in receiving communion). Does that mean I am required by the Church to receive on tongue even where communion in hand is permitted?

    If so I wish I had known this the last time a priest refused me communion for trying to receive on tongue.

  11. RichR says:

    Remember who the bishop is there?

    Oh how sad. People who are upset with this Rector can’t complain to the Ordinary……or Rome.

    I might say this, too. The head of the NCCB’s CDW takes Eucharistic profanation very seriously. Bp. Aymond was our bishop in Austin before he went to Lousiana, and he was very diligent on this point.

  12. Nerinab says:

    @APX : regarding “grabby toddlers”- I just hold the hands of my child if I carry him or her up with me to Communion. It has never presented a problem. Actually, having a baby or toddler in my arms was the way I got started receiving on the tongue. Some priests and especially EMHCs are uncomfortable with distributing on the tongue, but when I have a child in my arms, they never make a fuss.

  13. Hey Joshua08!

    2 words regarding your priest: Out him! Find out who your parish council president is and tell him you would like to say a few words about this subject at the beginning of the next council meeting. Don’t prepare! Just say one Salve Regina for your priest. Our Lord will give you the words! Just tell the council how you felt when the priest refused to give you Communion on the tongue. Then go to your Bishop’s office and tell him. Your priest sounds like a bully. He already knows what his duties are and what your rights are. He must be confronted in an upleasant and powerful way or he will continue to run roughshod over little people. [Confronting in an “unpleasant” way is not the way to do it.]

  14. RichardT says:

    “Popping the host into the mouth like a piece of popcorn”

    I only receive on the tongue, and I never eat popcorn. But I’m puzzled by this one. If receiving in the hand, what is the proper way of transferring the host from one’s hand to one’s mouth without looking like one is eating popcorn?

  15. michele says:

    and my pastor is catching heck for just asking people to not talk in church after Mass.

  16. APX says:

    I only receive on the tongue, and I never eat popcorn. But I’m puzzled by this one. If receiving in the hand, what is the proper way of transferring the host from one’s hand to one’s mouth without looking like one is eating popcorn?
    I’ve always done the thumb, index, and middle finger, pick it up out of your left palm, place in mouth, and let dissolve, as we were told, “You don’t chew Jesus.” Apparently taking communion with your left hand is a big no-no if you’re a lefty. I have seen people receive it hand over hand, but rather than switch hands, take their left hand and pop it in their mouth, which does kind of resemble eating popcorn.

    We have abortion legalized and in the case of NYC 41% of all pregnancies end in abortion. We are awash in contraception, co-habitation, fornication, sodomy, and pornography.

    I hope you’re not trying to say this is all a result of the application of Vatican II. In all fairness, one must look at the aforementioned moral issues from a sociological perspective. At the same time Vatican II came out, North America was undergoing great social change as well. The second wave of feminism was coming out in full force, the Pill was introduced, and women decided they wanted to work instead of stay in the home. The legalization of abortion came out of the second wave of feminism. The second wave of feminism also tried to end pornography.

    At around the same time was the sexual revolution which led to the attitudes that sex was a completely natural part of life and casual sex became socially acceptable. Then there were also the gay right activist and the Stonewall Riots.

    The late 80s to early 90s brought on the third wave of feminism, which also brought forth sexual feminism with its ideologies that women could empower themselves through pornography and prostitution. Also during this time and continuing today,

    Western society has been a victim of secularism and consumerism. Success is measured in how much material goods you have, how much money you make and how good of a job you have. Family values mean very little now. The divorce rate is so high, many couples are opting not to marry, and to remain common-law. If any of this can be blamed on the Church and Vatican II, I would say it’s the Church not helping prepare Catholics for dealing with this over the last 40-50 years.

  17. Marcin says:

    I never receive from the EMHC, just make an extra effort (in a dignified manner, of course) to find a way to a clergyman distributing Communion to receive on the tongue. BUT, when (and it happened on me twice in the same parish) a priest run out of hosts, he deserted leaving us to the EMHC, I received on the hand (EMs are not trained well to distribute otherwise). I’d rather lower my lips to the hand with the Host (sort of like Byzantine clergy receiving at the Altar) than lift the hand up to consume (pop-a-popcorn). It looks and feels this way less as if self-communicating. Lifting the Host with the fingers felt always out of place. General rule: on the tongue if only possible.

    Kudos for the Rev. Rector!

  18. lizfromFL says:

    @Joshua08, my 12 year old son has cerebral palsy and walks with a cane in his right hand. He does most of his “operating” with his left hand if he is standing (shaking hands, holding things, etc). He receives on the tongue. I alternate btwn two parishes depending if I am visiting my parents or not that Sunday. Anyhow, one parish is great about communion either way. About 25% probably receive on the tongue there. The other one has a variety of EMHC’s that all appear to be equally inept with distributing on the tongue. I have had communion drop on three separate occasions there(which I caught). They grimace etc. After drop #3 we decided not to receive when we attend there. The mental stress while in the line was distracting the two of us from where our minds should be at that time. It is sad bc he really needs to receive in the mouth, as he only has one free hand.

  19. AnAmericanMother says:

    That’s how I was taught as a child (high church Episcopalian – one receives at the rail kneeling, but in the hand). One didn’t move the hand once the Host was placed in it, but lowered the mouth to the hand. It seems more respectful to me, also there is less chance of accidents from picking up the Host with the fingers (especially if you’re a bit klutzy – as I am.)
    I try to receive on the tongue when possible – but it’s not always possible.
    I actually received on the tongue kneeling two weeks ago — two EMHCs always come up to the choir loft in the back of the church, and I’ve cleared receiving on the tongue with our regular EMHC so she isn’t startled. We have to climb the stairs to the back of the choir loft, and as I reached the top landing I saw that it wasn’t our usual EMHC but an extremely diminutive (but very pretty) young lady. I am fairly tall for a woman, and it was immediately obvious that she was going to be unable to place the Host in my mouth with any comfort if I remained standing. So down I went on the cold tile floor . . . . fortunately I was able to get up again! She didn’t bat an eyelash, good for her.

  20. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Excellent, excellent, excellent Fr. Lankeit! This position takes courage and persistence.

    The Phoenix area is a tough area too – not that there isn’t piety but that Catholics there seem completely unformed in Catholic practices.

    How I wish every parish would stop Communion in the hand as soon as there is a bad occurrence – add to that list finding Hosts in pews, Missalettes or on the floor after Mass, or being carried off by recipients. Everything Fr. Lankeit cites happens around here in the Arlington Diocese and the priests act powerless. Thank God I’ve witnessed priests chase down recipients when they see a Host not consumed. We have many devoted and excellent priests here.

    I have only seen one priest put down a white cloth if a Host drops on the floor while distributing Communion, to purify the area later. So many priests, even the very orthodox, appear confused about how to deal with any of these tragedies.

    In most cases it is very simple: stop handing out the Hosts!

  21. abiologistforlife says:

    @David Homoney: The legalization of abortion was an unilateral judicial decision; it doesn’t have anything to do with Communion in the hand, or even the opinions of the American populace.

    Anyway … were the mis-interpretations of Vatican II a US/Western Europe only thing? Because the situation is quite different in, say, Latin America.

  22. Central Valley says:

    Pray God the next Bishop of Fresno, CA is of this mold.

  23. JKnott says:

    In 2008 our area “mother church” was made a minor basilica. Up until that time, Holy Communion was received kneeling at an intact marble communion rail before a magnificent intact sanctuary. The Immaculate Conception was built in 1928, and there have been non stop devotions, confessions and Adoration. In more recent times, while these remained, an option was given for those who preferred to stand for Communion in the back part. Everyone now had their ‘choice.”
    During the basilica application process with the diocese, a sister in the chancery informed the pastor that in order to qualify to become a basilica the pastor was required to announce publically at all the Masses that the norm for Holy Communion was standing and receiving in the hand. So in 2008 kneeling at the altar rail was abolished. Now on the website there is an explanation of the papal appointments in the basilica . In the description it states that, “the building has a special relationship with the Holy Father.” Pretty disheartening, especially when the Holy Father has been so vocal about kneeling for Holy Communion and on the tongue. I wonder why no one has tried to return to the practice of kneeling to be in ” a special relationship with the Holy Father.”
    And with this false rubric, has come the emergence of women giving out communion. Slow but steady erosian is sure to happen. I guess if it were not for the great devotion of the people over the years it would be much worse.

  24. Precentrix says:


    Ecce Panis Angelorum,
    factus cibus viatorum:
    vere panis filiorum,
    non mittendus canibus.

    Know someone who once brought back the Blessed Sacrament for her dolls (not me)… and another who kept It in his sock drawer for years as a young protestant, forgot, and later (after conversion) realised It was still there…

  25. SarahM says:

    I wish this priest would take over my parish…

    I found the preceding 3 weeks letters hiding on their website and thought I’d share the with you all.
    Part 1 – http://www.simonjude.org/documents/888650.010911.pdf
    Part 2 – http://www.simonjude.org/documents/888650.011611.pdf
    Part 3 – http://www.simonjude.org/documents/888650.012311.pdf

    Talk about an enlightening catechist.

  26. albizzi says:

    Remember the words that Sr teresa said to Fr Rutler (St Agnes parish, NY) which he reported in his Good Friday homily (1986 if I remember well):
    “The Communion in the hand is what makes me yhe saddest”.
    Once I heard that, I stopped immediately taking Communion in my hands and even stopped helping as EEM.
    We are not worthy to touch the body of Christ, only the priest has this right.
    Jesus to Mary-Magdalene after His Resurrection: “Noli me tangere”

  27. It’s unusual for me to receive in the hand, since my hands are usually full of toddlers. Like Nerinab, having children was a big part in changing how I received the Eucharist.

    The problem I have is when I receive from the cup. If I’m holding the baby and trying to control the 3 and 4 year olds (and maybe holding the 5 year old’s hand), it’s kind of hard. Well, since the transubstantiated bread is fully Jesus, Body and Blood, I frequently pass on the cup. [A good idea under those circumstances.]

  28. Glen M says:

    In my humble opinion, one of the greatest gifts we could give our fellow parishioners is the wisdom to see what CITH really is and support their rejection of it. Every Catholic should know the history of this issue (Martin Luther, Dutch Catechesim, Archbishop Bernardin). Everything Pope Paul VI warned about in Memoriale Domini has occurred. No pope, council, saint or any Divine Revelation has supported this practice we have today.

    CITH has not benefitted the Church or Her members in any way I’m aware of: no increase in Mass attendance, belief in Transubstantiation, Eucharistic Miracles, Protestant conversions, etc, in fact quite the opposite.

    As self-evident, receiving Holy Communion in the proper manner is more reverent. An increase of reverence in our parishes should lead to a desire for the traditional liturgy and customs of Holy Mother Church thus the reclamation we should all pray for.




  29. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.” (Paragraph #92).

    Couldn’t one argue that several of the abuses that go on day in and day out at virtually every parish in the country constitute “profanation” We see people sauntering up in blue jeans, immodest dress, lacking all (outward) reverence.

    Everyone should be receiving on the tongue – by mandate – because the vast majority of the faithful have forgotten how to act when in the presence of the Lord.

  30. dap says:

    Should we follow GIRM 160 which states “The norm for reception of Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States is standing”?

  31. irishgirl says:

    Kudos to the Rector in Phoenix! Deo Gratias!

  32. David Homoney says:

    @APX – No I am not saying that the implementation of V2 is the cause, though the implementation of V2 was greatly affected by said changes. Most of the abuses we all have issue with today came about due to the implementation of V2, that sadly goes contrary to the teachings of the Council. The loss of the sacred and lack of reverence in the Holy Mass, all seems to stem from how V2 was implemented.

    Your points are sound, though it would seem that the implementation of V2 in the West was driven by these waves of social reform, and instead of being a bulwark against this, many in the implementation of V2, went along to get along. Thankfully, our Holy Father, it trying to right the ship. I have not problems with the teachings of V2, they are beautiful, but how it was implemented has been a job very poorly done.

  33. Katherine says:

    Just shows how bad things are in Arizona or at least the Cathedral parish. Few in my parish elect to receive on the yet not a one of those abuses is known. And I am not in some sheltered, suburban gated community where the biggest problem is that the meeting hall doubled booked Junior League and the Republican Committee at the same time. We are an inner city parish that welcomes the mentally disabled and endures a number of Voo-Doo practioners that like to come in the church and set up their candles. We successfully handle these matters in a pastoral way.

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