Holy Communion at mega Mass in Manila – POLLS

This is how Holy Communion was distributed during the mega-Mass in Manila in 2015


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Communion at mega-Mass in Manila

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Communion at mega-Masses

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  1. little women says:

    I attended World Youth Day in Denver some 20 years ago. What a DISASTER! The organizers did think things through and had each priest escorted by someone holding a flag so that everyone could located the “Communion Stations”. The lines went as smooth as controlled chaos can be, and as far as I know, everyone received Holy Communion from the hands of a priest. HOWEVER, when there are outdoor Masses, there is typically wind, and our dear Lord went flying to who knows where. I tried to track down some of the flying Hosts, but I only found one. It was heartbreaking.

    The up side to all of that, however, was that it made me consider the value of Mass in Latin for the first time. I could not believe the idiocy in saying that Mass in some 20 or so languages when we all shared one common language that was part of our heritage! Oh, how stupid can we get?

  2. Matt Robare says:

    This has always been a problem with the mega-masses. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that Pope Benedict was going to introduce some rubrics because he disturbed by what went on at the big Mass he celebrated in Yankee Stadium.

  3. aquinas138 says:

    How about skipping Mass and having one of the hours, like Lauds or Vespers? No Eucharistic logistics to navigate, public papal endorsement of the Divine Office, and thousands of Catholics exposed to the other major part of their rite that they probably don’t know exists! Since the Office of Readings can be celebrated at any time of day, it could easily be joined to either hinge hour to lengthen the service if necessary.

  4. Let’s look at it this way– it’s a special occasion, with unusual difficulties, which is precisely why the majority of folks should not feel obliged to receive Holy Communion. For those who really, really feel as though they did not fully participate, perhaps Holy Communion could be taken to local parishes for distribution afterward in a more orderly fashion.

    I am not a fan of mega-Masses. They make as much sense as a bunch of college students getting into a phone booth just to see if they can. What are we proving? I’m sure God is just as impressed with a small daily Mass attended by a dozen people as He is with any of these massive events. The Eucharist is just as much sacred when consecrated by a single, humble parish priest as it is when the Pope does it in front of 100,000 people. The sacrifice of Jesus is just as fully made present in the former case as in the latter. Finally, I would be more impressed if those 100,000 or whatever number of people immediately went forth and made a difference in their culture. It doesn’t matter how many people we can cram into one Mass if those people then turn around and vote for abortionists or wear immodest clothing or gossip about their neighbors or the like.

    Oh– how many tens of thousands of confessions were heard before the mega-Mass? Just wondering…

  5. Siculum says:

    There were a lot of things wrong in Denver. That’s why they sent in Archbishop Chaput.

    A large outdoor Mass on World Youth Day 2002 with St. John Paul II was attended by some 800,000 at an airfield in Toronto. I remember that there were indeed “Communion stations,” that is, priests (and security for each) were deployed in an extremely organized fashion throughout the corralled and segregated crowd(s), and that there were no Extraordinary Ministers or anything, even though your typical parish’s Sunday Mass has 4. Anyway, that’s what I remember. There were also large umbrellas providing some shelter for the priests distributing Holy Communion from inclement weather which switched into sunshine.

    Matt Robare, remind me what happened at Yankee Stadium in ’08. I don’t remember anything particularly abnormal, just that there were indeed priests deployed throughout the congregation/crowd and things went quite efficiently. Sure, a lot of personal sacrilege, but that’s another story.

    What appeared to have happened in the video above is bad.

  6. TWF says:

    Just another fruit of the “everyone MUST receive at every mass” mentality that most Catholics have been taught in recent decades….

  7. Siculum says:

    There’s nothing wrong with a large, well-organized Papal Mass outdoors. They happen in Rome all the time, right?

    I seem to recall a large team of priests, even the Holy Father, hearing Confessions in Rio.

  8. wised says:

    We were in Rome in 2010 for Easter Mass at the Vatican. When it was time to receive communion, we were fortunate to have seats along the central aisle. We were able to receive the Holy Eucharist. The unruly crowd pressed in with pleas of “Padre!”, “Padre!”as they tried to also receive Communion. In only a few minutes, the priests retreated, their chalices empty. At the time, we were surprised that so few had the opportunity to receive communion. Many had come from across the globe. Had I been them, I would have been heartbroken that I was not able to receive communion on Easter at the Vatican Mass.In retrospect, there was no possible way to give the Eucharist to 100,000 people. It would have been chaos and would have been disrespectful to attempt to do so. At large gatherings where mass is celebrated it should be made clear beforehand that the Eucharist will not be distributed out of a sense of caution that the sacred not be profaned.

  9. Robbie says:

    Well, at least they weren’t tossing the communion host to people.

    In all seriousness, distribution of communion at these types of “events” ought to be limited to those on the altar.

  10. Priam1184 says:

    I attended one of the current Holy Father’s first Sunday Masses as pope in late April, 2013 in Saint Peter’s Square. There were 100,000 or so others there and I don’t know that anyone besides those up on the dais received Holy Communion; as far as I know nobody complained about it. This thing in Manila wasn’t necessary and I highly doubt that anyone there would have minded if Holy Communion was not distributed beyond the dais.

  11. Mike says:

    I know a priest who went to Benedict’s WYD in Spain. When he went to the tent to hear confessions, it was non-stop for the whole time he was there.

    So it’s mixed, with the balance leaning against the whole WYD as currently practiced.

  12. mburn16 says:

    Hardly ideal….though I’m inclined to be optimistic and believe that, being such a devout country and particularly important religious occasion, the Eucharist was treated with dignity and respect.


    “Just another fruit of the “everyone MUST receive at every mass” mentality that most Catholics have been taught in recent decades”

    Must? Perhaps not. Should? Assuming a proper state of grace, I would be inclined to say yes. Do we really want to take all the positive and beneficial things we assign to the Eucharist and insert “but we’re going to make it a rare occasion”? I don’t think so.

  13. Harris says:

    Once again I am unable to defend my faith… sigh

  14. Frank H says:

    Not too long ago I read that when Pope Paul VI said Mass in Yankee Stadium, only a dozen people received Holy Communion.

  15. OrthodoxChick says:

    I’ve never been to any large scale papal event, but I’ve been to one political event that seemed to be more well-planned. Of course, the crowd did not number in the millions.

    Back in ’92, I was attending a graduate class on a UCONN satellite campus. I reported for class bright and early one morning, only to have our prof announce that a man named Bill Clinton was running for president and was almost a shoe-in to win the election. She never mentioned politics, but she told us she was dismissing us from class for the day to give us the chance to get a good spot up front in the rope line so that we could meet the presumed future president of the U.S. She instructed us to be part of the campaign event so that we could be part of history-in-the-making rather than merely politics.

    So I did.

    Only people who had been given a ticket to the event and previously cleared by the Secret Service were allowed to enter the lecture hall where Clinton was giving his speech. I was not one of those people. But I did get a prime spot in the front row of the rope line, just as the prof had suggested. The small number of my classmates and I grew to quite a large crowd of hundreds, if not a thousand people, as Clinton’s arrival time drew near. The “roadies” from his campaign (I presume) and some folks on staff at the university, set up loud speakers to pipe his campaign speech outside to those of us not inside. Nowadays, we have video screens as well, but I don’t recall Clinton having them at this particular event. I could be mistaken though.

    That’s what we should do at these mega Masses. Have the Mass inside a parish and let the people inside receive Holy Communion. Pipe it outside via video for the faithful outside, but do not give Communion to those outside. There’s no reason why the local Bishop can’t prepare a press release, and an explanation to be read by the local priests at Masses in the weeks prior to the papal event, so that the faithful will know what to expect when they attend. After Mass, the Holy Father could then proceed to a mega venue like an airport or a park for a prayer service and offer remarks. That would also be a more proper venue for music concerts and flash mobs that likewise have no place at Mass, if the locals insist on incorporating these elements into a papal visit.

    Oh, and if you ever consider being against the rope, literally, on a rope line for someone very popular – don’t. That day, the force of the crowd behind me, pushing into me to grab Clinton’s hand, pushed my face into his shoulder. That’s the day that I realized that candidates for President wear Kevlar. Do you have any idea how much it hurts when your face meets Kevlar, thanks to the force of a pushy mob behind you? It doesn’t tickle, that’s for sure.

    Also, being up front at a Democratic party political event guarantees that you will be trampled on by the cameramen who work for NBC. They hire Amazon-men to begin with, but then they issue them step ladders so they can get the cameras and boom mics over the crowd. Problem is they WILL trample, literally trample, over you to get their prized shot. Learned that lesson the hard way too. But if the crowds get crazy for a political figure, I can only imagine how people at a Mega Mass must get trampled, and that’s bound to include Our Lord.

    No Communion at mega Masses, unless it’s limited to inside the Lord’s House.

  16. birdie says:

    I voted No, only for those very close. Why? Because it reminds of that time in the Gospel when Jesus was near Bethsaida and he said “I’m just going to feed the disciples, tell those other people to find their own food.”
    This group really slays me sometimes.

    The Feeding of the Five Thousand.
    When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
    * By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late.
    Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
    He said to them in reply, “Give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?”
    He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out they said, “Five loaves and two fish.”
    So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass.
    * The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties.
    Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to [his] disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all.*
    They all ate and were satisfied.
    And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish.
    Those who ate [of the loaves] were five thousand men.

  17. Wiktor says:

    I have attended a mega Mass only once, with pope St. John Paul II in 1999 I believe. I don’t remember how was the Communion distributed, but I’m pretty sure I chose not to receive.

  18. juergensen says:

    “O come and sit at my table,
    where saints and sinners are friends,
    Oh, come to the table of plenty!”

    (or something like that)

  19. Geoffrey says:

    I voted “No! This is desecration of the Eucharist”. However, I don’t know that “desecration” would be the appropriate word, but there was definitely a very real danger of desecration.

    I also voted “Yes, Communion but only for a smaller group not too far from altar”, but I would be okay with also just the liturgical ministers (concelebrants, deacons, acolytes, lectors). A period of Eucharistic adoration and benediction could conclude the celebration. Even Benedict XVI was amazed at the silence that occurred at a WYD Vigil during adoration. Benedict XVI’s WYD celebrations were the best there have been, I believe, liturgically speaking.

  20. John the Mad says:

    In 1984, as a young Canadian air force officer, I attended a papal mass at the airfield of the air force base in Toronto. Attendance was over one million. Folks were segregated in large squares. Communion was received from priests, as I recall, in a reverent fashion. All was orderly, though it rained and the fields became muddy. We knelt in the mud at the consecration.

    My girlfriend at that time was not a Catholic and did not receive, but was so moved by the mass and Pope John Paul that she began instruction and was received into the Faith. I was her sponsor, but I ultimately married (and remain so married) another fine lady. She was also non-Catholic but converted, some 23 years later. But that’s another story.

    The Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Saviour. It simply must not be handled in the manner seen in the video. Receive on our knees … in the mud, if necessary, but not that way. Christ have mercy.

  21. Dick Verbo says:

    Let’s revive the use of the English word unhouseled.

    The crowd at mega Masses should be unhouseled, i.e.”without the Eucharist”

  22. Mojoron says:

    It’s not a requirement to receive the Eucharist at Mass.

  23. Charles E Flynn says:

    A priest of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary once told me at their chapel in Boston that Jesus knew the risks he was taking when he instituted the Eucharist. I doubt that he anticipated going crowd surfing in the Philippines.

  24. roma247 says:

    ummm…there wasn’t a poll option for “no more mega-masses!”

    The entire idea of a “mega-mass” is just simply so suburban-mega-church in its genesis, isn’t it? When you’re just preaching, there’s no limit to how many people can/should be there. But this is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. How can you assist at Mass in a meaningful way when you are being herded like cattle into a stadium or the like? If you simply must have Mass on this scale (like on Easter in St. Peter’s Square), then it should be made crystal clear ahead of time that you are there to unite yourself with the sacrifice, not to be entitled to the feeding of the five million…

  25. Bea says:

    Mega Masses are more like Mega Spectacles (ala Roman Circuses).

    Who knows how many received sacrilegiously,
    how many walked away with the Host for nefarious reasons,
    or how many Hosts were used in black masses.

    Our Lord placed Himself in the hands of His enemies.
    It was His Own Body and Blood that He gave up for man’s sins.
    It is not for us to hand over His Body and Blood into the hands of who knows who.

    Judas handed over Our Lord into the hands of His enemies and believed he was doing the right thing; to advance and use Our Lord for political gain and socio-economic reasons. As a Zealot, he thought he was right until it dawned on him what he had done and returned the 30 pieces of silver.

    How many of us (lay and clerical, alike) are fully aware of The True Presence?
    If they were, (among those present at these Masses) would be dropping to their knees in adoration and/or protecting Our Lord from desecration.

  26. MrsMacD says:

    Wow. I have never thought about this before. It’s just wrong for Our Lord to be put in anything but consecrated hands and for him to be passed from hand to hand, person to person, in the crowd, no! The priest in the clip doesn’t look too happy about it either, slightly frightened, is the way I would describe his look.

    What would Pope Leo XIII do?

    Okay, lets say there was a communion rail at the front… one in the middle, or better yet altars set up all around the grounds with different priests celebrating ad orientem at each… and a communion rail at each altar… I can’t even imagine 1 million people. I give up.

    1 Mass, Communion at your own morning Mass at home, the Pope’s Mass being your second, distribution of Communion to those in the sanctuary. No, that’s not possible, some of those people came from miles away…

    Masses celebrated in tents set up along the peripheries :), ad orientem, at the same time as the Pope’s, those who fit in individual tents and can line up at the communion rail can recieve.

    I’m just babbling. I don’t really know anything. Except that, that calls for an act of reparation. How scandalous when it accompanies the visit of the Blessed Christ on Earth.

  27. Dave N. says:

    These mega-masses really need to be done away with imo. I was at WYD in Paris in 1997 and probably less than 5 minutes after the consecration, the hosts arrived at a nearby Communion station. Given our proximity to the altar–maybe almost 1/4 a mile away–there’s really no way that these hosts would have been consecrated by anything other than remote control—and I honestly had/have no idea whether they were validly consecrated or not. Some attendees had to interrupt their poker-playing and marijuana-smoking long enough to commune. I still remember one of the women in line asking: Qu’est-ce que c’est? (Referring to the obvious smell.) Her companion responded cynically, “Le Saint-Esprit.”

  28. ChesterFrank says:

    I am curious, when did these outdoor mega-Masses start? I had thought they were popularized by Pope John Paul 2, but I don’t really know if he initiated the practice.

  29. IoannesPetrus says:

    Perhaps… perhaps… the number of hosts which the Holy Father would consecrate at such “mega-Masses” should be sufficient–not for everyone present and their dogs (God forbid!) to communicate there and then–(but instead) to “entrust” it to the local Church for their proper “allocation” to all her (legitimate?) tabernacles–of which I figure there is supposed to be a list. Thus can “everyone” receive communion from the event.

    On second thought, what about restricting this to the Priest’s Host? Better yet, it could be stipulated for exposition; that way, not only would this foster the practice of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, (but also) if done well it could have a domino effect in promoting devotion in “other” things, e.g. Spiritual Communion (especially for these troubled times) and Indulgences.

  30. Charivari Rob says:

    roma247: “The entire idea of a “mega-mass” is just simply so suburban-mega-church in its genesis, isn’t it? ”

    Not really. I don’t know the whole history, but I’ve heard of at least one example that predates the stereotype. It was some sort of large outdoor (non-Papal) Mass in NYC in the 50s or maybe early 60s. I don’t know if it was an annual event. I think it was a K of C or Holy Name Society – organized around some sort of group. It was celebrated in a park or at one of the big horse tracks. I’m looking for a link.

    For that matter, Paul VI celebrated Mass in Yankee Stadium in, oh… 1963 or 1965.

    The one “mega” Mass I attended was fine (Giants Stadium 1995). The logistics were explained and demonstrated in advance and things went smoothly. At least – they did in my section, where we had benefit of the overhanging upper level shielding us from rain. I don’t recall if they cancelled distribution for the field seating area.

    Awareness of the weather & realities/practical limitations is a must at these events. My wife accompanied a group to WYD in Spain a few years ago. The responsible parties saw which way the wind was blowing (and the rain) and most people didn’t get the opportunity to receive at the big Mass. They encouraged folks to assemble in their own pilgrimage groups later in the day for Mass.

  31. IoannesPetrus says:

    I forgot to mention–knowing it’s not necessary–that in the first poll, of course*, I said “no…”; but in the second one I said ‘yes’ to Mass and ‘no’ to Communion, hoping that it best reflects my thoughts on the matter.

    Since at least the celebrant must communicate and since we have the practice of concelebration–wherein priests are never to be presented with the Eucharist for their consumption, going instead to the altar of sacrifice to claim what they have rightly “helped” to confect–the Communion that will end up happening should be restricted to the priests. (As I write this I recognise that there may be priests nearby, in choir–not the civvies-loving, smell-the-sheep crowd huggers–who, I think, should also communicate; not to mention the deacons, serving and assisting alike.)

    Let the clergy communicate, I say: it’s what they’re there for. Or, to put it another way: let clergy be clergy and laity be laity. The Sacraments are most important–far more than any devotion to them–; they should not be mistreated.

    *By this I mean to refer to the overwhelming majority of support for the specified poll alternative, though I also mean to choose unequivocally that which the Church believes and teaches on the whole subject at hand.

  32. Fr. Hamilton says:

    From my seminary days it seemed that the distribution of Holy Communion to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square was done well and reverently. I recall an MC telling those clerics who assisted with Holy Communion that Communion on the tongue was preferable to Communion in the hand. Furthermore it was made emphatically clear that the cleric could only distribute Holy Communion directly to the recipient and that under NO circumstance were we ever to permit or encourage people to pass the Sacred Host from one hand to the next.

    Now seeing how poorly the Lord was handled in Manila I can only say one thing about the state of things: We have lost our minds.

  33. suedusek says:

    I remember being in Denver for Mass at Cherry Creek Park. I don’t remember it being a disaster. I guess I wasn’t focusing on the mechanics of things as my mind was engaged with the Mass itself. I will never forget the blessing of that experience.

    About Manila – It does look disorganized and chaotic. However, what can one expect with that many people? When I watched the videos of the event last week, I assumed this would be brought up. This is what I saw when watching the video today: The Body of Christ passing through the Body of Christ. How significant that really is!

    I ask myself, is God so disgusted and shocked by our humanity–our skin touching his? Is he scandalized by our unconsecrated hands touching his consecrated Body? Surely, our mouths are dirtier than our hands, and yet we are allowed to consume him. Jesus, who took on flesh and became one of us–is he disgusted by this? Why are we so afraid of the human touch? What is it that makes us think that God is scandalized? Like you, I do NOT want our Lord to suffer being dropped on the ground or trampled underfoot. There is certainly a possibility for that with a Mass on this scale. I guess there are just no perfect solutions. But I’m always concerned by those who elevate rubrics above relationships. It’s a cold, cold business.

    AND, I am not a fan of funky liturgical practices–so don’t lump me in with that group.

    I just know I would have wanted to receive our Lord in Holy Communion. How about you?

  34. Matt R says:

    The Mass in NYC was a Pontifical High Mass celebrated by Cardinal Spellman at Yankee Stadium, and I doubt anyone but some of the ministers received. I would even hazard that the deacon and subdeacon and other assistants said their own Masses that morning and so did not received later.

    Anyways, this is horrendous. I also echo the concern above, which was raised after WYD 2013 as welll, re: validity, which also extends to the ability of priests to concelebrate at a distance without their own paten and chalice in front of them.

  35. gramma10 says:

    I believe that anyone could have taken the consecrated host home as a souvenir!

    I believe that only the people on the altar should receive Jesus at a Mega mass.

    I suggest that each person should be told to pray a Soiritual Communion.
    Let there be people in the crowd giving this printed prayer out instead of the Host!
    From ewtn.com
    An Act of

    My Jesus,
    I believe that You
    are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
    I love You above all things,
    and I desire to receive You into my soul.
    Since I cannot at this moment
    receive You sacramentally,
    come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.

  36. Charivari Rob says:

    Thank you, Matt R. That wasn’t the example I was thinking of, but good to know about it.


  37. Gratias says:

    I take a different view on the second question. Communion should be given to all that attend, even if it is not following perfect protocols. Many among these millions probably had not received in years. Bringing people back to the Church is what evangelization is all about. I remember seeing video of Cardinal Bergoglio crossing the street in front of the basilica of the Virgin de Lujan and giving communion to people on the other side of the road, which congregated around him in numbers.

    People fall off the Church but after taking communion they are back on. So the more the better. I know this may be unorthodox, but bringing some sheep back is a great achievement.

    The only advantage of the Vatican II in my mind is that people can communicate without previous confession. I know this is not technically true but is the current pastoral praxis. Using this dubious argument I could convince my bèlle mère to take communion at the TLM after 40 years of not doing so at the Novus Ordo. She joined us many times, and when she recently gave her Spirit in her sleep peacefully at 94 it was a great consolation to have been able to bring her back.

    In sum, sometimes we should be less papists than the Pope.

  38. Emilio says:

    I could not watch the video, I love the Euharist too much and I also thought about my blood pressure. Our Lady of Fatima asked for acts of reparation for a reason. I voted no to both, why is it necessary to put the Eucharist at any risk if it is not mandatory that the faithful receive at every Mass? Is it not enough of a grace to be in the Pope’s presence, to worship along with him, receive his teachings and his blessing? I was present at WYD 2002 and 2005 and the distribution of Communion was chaotic at both, better in Canada and simply atrocious in Germany. It had rained at both events, and both were windy, muddy and damp.

    Matt Robare is quite correct, I remember reading an online news report that reforms for “mega” Masses were in the works under Benedict’s Pontificate, which also had Cañizares Llovera at CDW once upon a time… There was also a rumored liturgical document that the CDW was supposedly going to publish with Benedict’s full authority… And we all know how that ended. We can expect an encyclical on ecology under this pontificate, but a handle on all the liturgical disarray? It’s back to the trenches for most of us I’m afraid. Let us be grateful that for now we still have our communitties and our pastors in our little corners where reverence and liturgical sanity are still reality.

  39. Phil_NL says:

    OK? No, definitely not.
    Desecration? No, not in and of itself.

    The main distinguishing element here (compared to what we see in many an NO Mass around the world) is that people pass on our Lord from hand to hand. That lay people can distribute communion, and touch the Host by doing so, is, no matter how you put it, acceptable nowadays. The passing on is weird, especially in western eyes (I wouldn’t want to eat aanything that has been touched by so many strangers), but the touching itself is not desecration, and passing on, well, given the previous observation I cannot see how that would be a desecration in itself, as sharing and passing on is hardly against the Gospel… It’s fairly safe to assume it happened at many places in the Gospel, including the Last Supper.

    That’s not to say that it isn’t taking a huge risk. The Host may drop, may end up in places (or people!) where It shouldn’t, etc. While that’s a feature of every mega-Mass (and enough reason not to distribute communion there at all), this passing on would increase the risk. By how much, it’s impossible to say.

    So it’s neither OK, nor desecration. Desecration may have been an unintented effect, but one cannot say it is due to this particular variant of stupidity. Need more answer options.

    PS: making people feel less obliged to receive would, I daresay, matter not one bit here. People will want to receive. People may even make special arrangements so they can do so. Our Lord is one and the same regardless of who consacrated the Host, but it would be beyond human not to feel that at least the act of receiving is somewhat special in a Papal Mass.

  40. goodone121 says:

    @Phil_NL: I believe Francis might very well complete the document on the Mega-Masses; remember, the Pope Emeritus is advising him.

  41. Matthew says:

    You think that was bad, you should see what they did for confession! You whispered it in the ear of the guy next to you and he passed it down the line to the priest :)

  42. Imrahil says:

    I did not see the video (some plugin problem or so), so thanks dear Phil_NL for the description, from which it does not seem that a sacrilege has been occurred. (“Desecration” is, w.r.t. the Blessed Sacrament, colloquial at any rate; as it always remains Body and Blood of Christ [as long as it retains the appearence of Bread and Wine], it always remains sacred.

    I quite second what the dear mburn16 wrote,

    Must? Perhaps not. Should? Assuming a proper state of grace, I would be inclined to say yes.

    Indeed; and at any rate they will wish to do so.

    Frankly, whenever a Catholic is at a Mass there’s only one reason for not receiving we can expect him: when he feels spiritually indisposed, or in positive doubt about being in state of grace, or sure of having committed a sin which might have been mortal which, though repented of, is as yet unconfessed. (I counted all that as one reason.)

    Otherwise, he may just receive Communion. He may perhaps, for whatever other reason, choose to abstain, but it’s no business of ours to make him do so. And somehow the repeated chorus “noone needs to Communicate” always has that undertone that not only you needn’t (which in itself is quite correct), but that “as you needn’t, nor should you”. Note: it is not disrespectful to Holy Communion to receive It.

    So, if we have a Mass at all now matter how large it be, let there be Communion. It sure is a question of organization. Though that sure is an organizational problem.

    Let me see. Assume a long Mass, so that, say, 30 minutes or even a bit more could be set aside for Holy Communion. Assuming 12 communions per minute we’d arrive at, say, 400 recipients per Communicant so that it still can be done in a dignified way while still being reasonably within Mass.. Which would mean we need to have 17500 distribuents for a Mass as large as that one was – and one altar boy, or uniformed boy-scout or girl-scout or firefighter, with a white-yellow flag for each of them, plus beaten-trails nicely kept free for all of them to reach, and reach quickly but dignifiedly, their appointed distribution-post.

    Ah well. Complicated. Also, the distributors, if not concelebrating priests (which is a whole other problem) need to receive Communion themselves first, and only from people who have already received.

  43. jflare says:

    That was the sound of my jaw trying to drop on the floor!
    Did I REALLY, seriously, just see a video of people handing the Eucharist back over two or three rows of people??? REALLLY????
    Do you really mean to tell me they can’t figure out how to train a few hundred people to be deployed throughout the crowd, to arrange for a few hundred small, portable communion rails?

    You know, if a person has a will to make something happen without any risk of sacrilege, it CAN be done!

  44. janeway529 says:

    Actually, “Mega-Masses” aren’t new at all. In the US, it’s recorded to date back to the 1926 Eucharistic Congress in Chicago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ikZDvq1vjo

  45. pelerin says:

    Although I can’t get the video to work here I did watch the Mass on the internet and can imagine which part is being shown. Yes the passing back from hand to hand did seem shocking to western eyes and I am sure I saw one person grab the Host from another who was holding it so tightly that it broke in two. However their devotion seemed to be unquestionable particularly as I understand they had been there several hours in the pouring rain and who are we to say that they should not have received at that occasion?

    Perhaps these mega events are just too large for the proper dignified distribution of Holy Communion. When I attended two Papal Masses in Lourdes in 2008 I believe the numbers were about 200,ooo – a lot smaller than in the Philipines – but still a vast crowd and as far as I can remember everyone who wished was able to receive by forming queues at the nearest Priest under his visible umbrella. There must have been many hundreds of Priest in every corner and I certainly never saw anyone passing the Host back to others behind. Everyone was very patient.

    I would be interested to know the views of any Philipino reader as to whether they found the passing from hand to hand shocking or normal.

  46. Joan M says:

    There are numerous references to the devotion of the Filipino people. The video raises questions in my mind. How could people devoted to the Church and the Eucharist possibly think that such handling of Our Lord could be acceptable?

    I received Communion at a Mass in St. Peter’s Square. It was the canonization of St. Josemaria Escriva. Priests, each with a server holding a large umbrella over the priests head to indicate where the priest was, gave communion. There was quiet, calm movement of the people, step forward, receive, step aside for the next person. Excellently done. No problems.

    In 1979, When JPII came to Ireland, we were corralled in roped corrals, 1000 per corral. No problem – the priests came to the corrals and we all received easily, calmly and reverently.

    So – what happened here? No one had any idea how many would come? No one thought to have some way to make sections that could easily be controlled? Or no one thought, there will be so many it is better not to distribute Communion?

    Clearly, there is need to do something to ensure that nothing like that happens again.

  47. Supertradmum says:

    The problem is the shortage of priests.

    More priests and ways to organize the crowds, more order.

    Simple-we should not have mega-Masses where there is a shortage of priests.

  48. clarinetist04 says:

    I remember going to JPII in Baltimore (at Camden Yards) back in 1994 or 1995 and there were no problems at all. Everyone was able to receive. Again, as said above at others, it was organized, explained, and well done, with sufficient Eucharistic ministers dispersed throughout the crowd.

    When it’s well organized, which it clearly was not in this case, it should absolutely be a norm to distribute Communion. While it’s not a “requirement” to receive the holy Eucharist at mass, the last time I checked “unless you eat of this flesh and drink of this blood you shall not have eternal life.” Pretty clear if you ask me, and in a country like the Philippines, where it is so devoutly Catholic and the faith is alive, there is really no other option, not should there have been. A little more organization is in order – learn from this and move on.

  49. bbooneesq says:

    This video breaks my heart. Our Lord loves us so completely that he humbles Himself and reduces Himself to bread, just so he can be present with us and in us in a tangible way. Our response to this incredible love should always be reverence and awe. We must always receive the Host with utmost care. The holy Eucharist should be the priority and focus at Mass.

    And instead, at this Mega Mass, I see millions of people “fangirling” over Pope Francis, while passing the Eucharist around line a beach ball at a concert, dropping Him in the mud and trampling upon Him. Talk about straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel…

  50. RJHighland says:

    I think this mass had two major faults lack of communiction and lack of implimentation. Who ever planned this mass needed to let the people know how many will be recieving communion at the beginning secondly you have it organized so that you maintain the dignity of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord no matter how many people recieve. The host is not a bag of peanuts or pop corn to be tossed about crowd, the Conscecrated Host is Sacred. If decorum can not be maintained then you protect the Lord. But what happen in the Philipines was just disgraceful!! The Pope, Bishops and Priests present should never allowed this to happen. But this is also the chaos that comes from poor catechisis, and the Church allowing extra ordinary ministers of communion and communion standing and in the hand. I once told my priest at my local Novus Ordo Parish that used numerous EOMC at every mass and everyone recieved standing, most in the hand “If your going to have lay people distributing communion why don’t you just pass the ciborium down the aisle if these changes in the mass where done to save time.” Well it looks like my statement was prophetic. What a disgrace this is to Our Lord and His whole Church. The Filipino people were once such a devout Catholic Culture, ahhhh the Fruits of Vatican II, the smoke of Satan continues to fill the Church.

  51. Mike says:

    As we enter the second half-century of the destruction of the Mass and of reverence for the Eucharist, one can almost not blame Birdie, above, and others for conflating the Blessed Sacrament with the earthly food that Our Lord distributed during His miraculous feeding of the multitudes.

    Such conflation, and the contextual distortion of Scriptural “proof text” to justify it, should give us a sobering glimpse of where the “mainstream” Church is headed. But as we are reminded by followers of the Truth, from ancient martyrs to those shamed today by liberal priests for kneeling at Holy Communion, none of us is obliged to deny Our Lord, no matter who tries to persuade us it’s O.K.

  52. Charlotte Allen says:

    I think the distribution of Communion could have been handled better (more priests and a bunch of monitors so that people could form lines instead of passing the Host hand to hand). I attended Pope Benedict XVI’s Mass at Nationals Stadium in DC in 2008, and the distribution of Communion was very orderly and well-handled, with priests fanning out and orderly lines so that a huge crowd could receive reverently.

    But I I don’t think it was an intentional desecration in Manila. Filipinos in general are extremely devout and devoted Catholics, and they are extremely well-mannered. They do have terrible taste in liturgy (bad hymns, etc.), so I think you have to chalk this up to Filipino bad taste. I’m sure that most of them were thrilled to be at a Mass presided over by the pope and to receive Communion there. It would have seemed cruel to distribute Communion to some people but not all. They simply needed better logistics.

  53. Emilio says:

    @clarinetist04 – you are misinterpreting a Gospel passage and applying it erroneously to a situation where it is not feasible to receive Holy Communion without subjecting the Eucharist to very real risk of PROFANATION, unless that is no biggie to you and we should suck it up and casually move on, as you seem to imply. Nowhere does Our Lord apply that teaching meaning that we MUST receive at EVERY Mass, no matter what. How would YOU handle a congregation of six million to avoid what’s in the video? Specifically what would you do? A stadium situation is a much more contained location than an outdoor field open to the public.

  54. Indulgentiam says:

    MISERENTISSIMUS REDEMPTOR (On Reparation to the Sacred Heart)
    Pope Pius XI
    Encyclical promulgated on 8 May 1928
    …For when Christ manifested Himself to Margaret Mary, and declared to her the infinitude of His love, at the same time, in the manner of a mourner, He complained that so many and such great injuries were done to Him by ungrateful men—and we would that these words in which He made this complaint were fixed in the minds of the faithful, and were never blotted out by oblivion: “Behold this Heart”—He said—”which has loved men so much and has loaded them with all benefits, and for this boundless love has had no return but neglect, and contumely, and this often from those who were bound by a debt and duty of a more special love.” In order that these faults might be washed away, He then recommended several things to be done, and in particular the following as most pleasing to Himself, namely that men should approach the Altar with this purpose of expiating sin, making what is called a Communion of Reparation,—and that they should likewise make expiatory supplications and prayers, prolonged for a whole hour,—which is rightly called the “Holy Hour.” These pious exercises have been approved by the Church and have also been enriched with copious indulgences.

    13. But how can these rites of expiation bring solace now, when Christ is already reigning in the beatitude of Heaven? To this we may answer in some words of St. Augustine which are very apposite here,—”Give me one who loves, and he will understand what I say” (In Johannis evangelium, tract. XXVI, 4).

    For any one who has great love of God, if he will look back through the tract of past time may dwell in meditation on Christ, and see Him laboring for man, sorrowing, suffering the greatest hardships, “for us men and for our salvation,” well-nigh worn out with sadness, with anguish, nay “bruised for our sins” (Isaias liii, 5), and healing us by His bruises. And the minds of the pious meditate on all these things the more truly, because the sins of men and their crimes committed in every age were the cause why Christ was delivered up to death, and now also they would of themselves bring death to Christ, joined with the same griefs and sorrows, since each several sin in its own way is held to renew the passion of Our Lord: “Crucifying again to themselves the Son of God, and making him a mockery” (Hebrews vi, 6). Now if, because of our sins also which were as yet in the future, but were foreseen, the soul of Christ became sorrowful unto death, it cannot be doubted that then, too, already He derived somewhat of solace from our reparation, which was likewise foreseen, when “there appeared to Him an angel from heaven” (Luke xxii, 43), in order that His Heart, oppressed with weariness and anguish, might find consolation. And so even now, in a wondrous yet true manner, we can and ought to console that Most Sacred Heart which is continually wounded by the sins of thankless men, since—as we also read in the sacred liturgy—Christ Himself, by the mouth of the Psalmist complains that He is forsaken by His friends: “My Heart hath expected reproach and misery, and I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort me, and I found none” (Psalm Ixviii, 21)…

    Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, on the eighth day of May, 1928, in the seventh year of Our Pontificate.

    Prayer of Reparation

    O sweetest Jesus, whose overflowing charity towards men is most ungratefully repaid by such great forgetfulness, neglect and contempt, see, prostrate before Thy altars, we strive by special honor to make amends for the wicked coldness of men and the contumely with which Thy most loving Heart is everywhere treated.

    At the same time, mindful of the fact that we too have sometimes not been free from unworthiness, and moved therefore with most vehement sorrow, in the first place we implore Thy mercy on us, being prepared by voluntary expiation to make amends for the sins we have ourselves committed, and also for the sins of those who wander far from the way of salvation, whether because, being obstinate in their unbelief, they refuse to follow Thee as their shepherd and leader, or because, spurning the promises of their Baptism, they have cast off the most sweet yoke of Thy law. We now endeavor to expiate all these lamentable crimes together, and it is also our purpose to make amends for each one of them severally: for the want of modesty in life and dress, for impurities, for so many snares set for the minds of the innocent, for the violation of feast days, for the horrid blasphemies against Thee and Thy saints, for the insults offered to Thy Vicar and to the priestly order, for the neglect of the Sacrament of Divine love or its profanation by horrible sacrileges, and lastly for the public sins of nations which resist the rights and the teaching authority of the Church which Thou hast instituted. Would that we could wash away these crimes with our own blood! And now, to make amends for the outrage offered to the Divine honor, we offer to Thee the same satisfaction which Thou didst once offer to Thy Father on the Cross and which Thou dost continually renew on our altars, we offer this conjoined with the expiations of the Virgin Mother and of all the Saints, and of all pious Christians, promising from our heart that so far as in us lies, with the help of Thy grace, we will make amends for our own past sins, and for the sins of others, and for the neglect of Thy boundless love, by firm faith, by a pure way of life, and by a perfect observance of the Gospel law, especially that of charity; we will also strive with all our strength to prevent injuries being offered to Thee, and gather as many as we can to become Thy followers. Receive, we beseech Thee, O most benign Jesus, by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Reparatress, the voluntary homage of this expiation, and vouchsafe, by that great gift of final perseverance, to keep us most faithful until death in our duty and in Thy service, so that at length we may all come to that fatherland, where Thou with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

    The whole encylical is beiatiful and worth the read.

  55. n1tr0narc says:

    Being a Filipino living in the Philippines, I need to stress to everyone that this is a very strong cultural characteristic of the Filipino people. Our bishops here encourage the frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist… in fact for 6 months prior to Pope Francis’ visit… the country was held special prayers for the visit of the pope in every mass which encouraged (1) confession and (2) frequent reception of the Eucharist., among others. In fact, it is more of an exception if we don’t receive communion every Sunday mass. In addition, due to lack of proper catechism, 99.9999% of Filipino Catholic don’t know that we only need to receive the Eucharist at least once a year at Easter…. this is the reason why we have 10-15 Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC) per every priest here to fill-in the demand of communicants (considering that we have hundreds of attendees per mass, and parishes have at least 6-8 masses on Sundays)… but I digress :)
    Now, as to the mass at Luneta, given the cultural want (or desire) to receive the Eucharist at every mass, especially at the Pope’s mass, the 2,000+ concelebrating priests really had a hard time distributing to the over 2-3 million people within the areas (of which were already a muddy mess) which the Eucharist would be given during a Category 2 typhoon! I don’t think this has ever happened in any country in world history, except in the Philippines. [Let’s do the math… 3,000,000 communicants divided by 2,000 priests… 1,500 communicants per priest in 20 minutes… hmmmm]
    Personally, I firmly believe that receiving communion on the tongue, kneeling and being in the state of grace is the most proper and appropriate way of receiving the Lord, however, the conditions were worst than a battlefield! [You need to be there to really know what was happening… I have friends who camped out in Luneta from 4AM just to ensure that they could be “close enough”].
    That being said, I believe that the one area which our bishops and priests here have not been stressing and need to be improved is the worthy reception and need to be in the state of grace.
    Just my 2 cents… pax
    Ohhh I forgot… congregating in very large crowds for very important events is just being a Filipino, that’s how we are and it is our very warm and united way of showing unity and sharing in common joy and suffering. The mass at Luneta is just the most extreme example of our culture… but this happens all the time in community and family events [for example, during my wife’s clan reunion every January, at least 300 direct relatives attend, not counting in-laws and other helpers]. The only way for any reader to understand this is really just to experience it… come to the Philippines, you’re always welcome to our shores :)

  56. benedictgal says:

    While I am certain that Filipinos have a great love for the Faith and for the Church, what transpired at the Papal Mass never should have happened. Great love does not justify the abuse committed against Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

    “Congregating in very large crowds for very important events is just being a Filipino.” I understand that; however, there is a big difference between a simple event and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is as though there was a huge failure on the part of the bishops and the organizers to stress the sacred nature of the Mass.

    Was it really necessary to “set a world record” for the Papal Mass while exposing Our Lord to abuse? I think not.

  57. Indulgentiam says:


    And yet nothing you said excuses the sacrilegious profanation of Our Lord. Receiving worthily is not just a preference. We OWE it as a matter of justice. Fast forward to these people’s personal judgement. Do you really think that when accused of this sacrilege by CHRIST their answer of “hey, I’m Philippino. It’s…like, just who we are and what we do, Ya know?” …Seriously??
    Nobody but nobody is going to get a pass for profaning the “Most Sacred Sacrament”. 1 Cor. [29] For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord”
    No matter what the conditions were, and no way were they worse than a battelfield, have you ever seen a battelfield? The FIRST priority must always be to safeguard the Precious Body of our Savior. Everything else comes in a distant last to that most sacred trust.

  58. Would not the most sensible thing to do be to distribute Holy Communion from local churches? So after the Mass people would go to local churches and maybe even special chapel tents set up around the area and receive normally. I hear that used to be the practice in Rome that the Churches near the Vatican would distribute Holy Communion after the Mass had ended.

  59. Cafea Fruor says:

    I voted for Mass yes, communion no.

    Quite honestly, it would annoy me if I were in the back 40 and only the people up close received because the people up close are always the same — religious, muckety-muck donors, diocesan employees, etc. Which sends out the vibe, “Sorry, you’re not in the inner circle of Catholicism, which means you’re not as important as these people up here.” I know that wouldn’t be the intention, but then, I know a lot of people who do feel like the Church just doesn’t care as much about your typical non-donor lay person as they do religious and people who are big donors, and so I think only giving to those up close sends the wrong message. So just let communion at these huge Masses be for clergy only.

  60. pgepps says:

    Strictly, I agree that what I actually saw in the video did not seem to be “desecration.” It was, however, BAD. It made desecration easy, even probable. Given the exclamation point and the bifurcation of available reactions, I just assumed that the “NO!” response indulged in some hyperbole.

    I found the constructive question hard to answer. “Everyone, always” seems like too much to commit to; there are serious reasons not to even attempt that. I found it hard to say where to draw the line, though. “a few people” seemed acceptable, but not like what one would *plan* for, lest it quickly begin to connote “a favored few” and some people seem “entitled” to the Eucharist for reasons other than Christ’s gift. “those very close” also seems acceptable, and if we were to tighten that up to “those serving in the sanctuary” or some such, I think it would reflect a clear line–all participate, each according to their stations.

    And then, by the same logic, and with less line-drawing tension, I could–and did–simply say that one should not necessarily assume that every attendance at Mass will be an occasion to receive Communion, however desireable frequent communion may be (IS).

    I do not know whether my answer was the best available; the line-drawing tension may well be precisely what there are local ordinaries for, after all; I suspect it is so.

  61. benedictgal says:

    Actually, pgepps, if you read Redemptionis Sacramentum, you will find that:

    [84.] Furthermore when Holy Mass is celebrated for a large crowd – for example, in large cities – care should be taken lest out of ignorance non-Catholics or even non-Christians come forward for Holy Communion, without taking into account the Church’s Magisterium in matters pertaining to doctrine and discipline. It is the duty of Pastors at an opportune moment to inform those present of the authenticity and the discipline that are strictly to be observed.


    [94.] It is not licit for the faithful “to take . . . by themselves . . . and, still less, to hand . . . from one to another” the sacred host or the sacred chalice.[181]

    What we saw in the video in question was an affront to Redemptionis Sacramentum in the worst possible way.

  62. Saint1106 says:

    At the Mass of Pope Benedict in Washington, D.C, Cardinal Wuerl had priests available throughout the stadium for confession Since most folks had to arrive well in advance for the Mass, there was plenty of time for many, many, to go to confession. In previous Papal Masses, concelebrating priests had to vest and be in place well in advance of the Mass, almost three hours. In DC, Card. Wuerl made better use of the priestly workforce, by having them dispersed throughout the stadium for confessions. In this case, I think that using the Papal mass as a way to call the faithful back to regular confession and community can be an effective means of grace, not just to see and hear the Pope but to get back into full sacramental communion with the church.

  63. magistercaesar says:

    7 million people came out on the Feast of the Santo Niño to attend Mass. This is the same country that has a procession attended by 1-2 million people each year to commemorate the country’s conversion to Catholicism. While I understand the greater objective reverence needed for the Eucharist, I think that it will take quite some time before the ideal can be reached when it comes to Liturgy attended by these numbers. As a naturalized US citizen from the Philippines who loves his faith and loves both the OF and EF, I have to admit I was moved to almost tears when I saw the multitude of the faithful come together to worship. I can only pray and hope that Filipinos come out of this as greater beacons of faith in the future.

  64. benedictgal says:

    But, magistercaesar, there is a lot to be said about catechesis and respect for the sacred. Processing each year to commemorate the country’s conversion to Christianity is one thing; quite a different thing is to manifest concrete reverence and respect for Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. Another matter is just how can one participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass if the altar is several miles away and there are lots of distractions around? If we are strictly looking at numbers, then we have missed the point of al of this.

  65. magistercaesar says:

    Yes, benedictgal, there is a lot to be said about catechesis and respect for the sacred. I remember being in middle school explaining to my mother, who prays the Rosary daily and will never miss Sunday Mass, the significance of St. Paul because nothing of that was taught in the Philippines (though to be fair, the same can be said here in the US). Fast forward a few years later, my mother is now an Extraordinary Minister in our home parish and this last winter break, I had to explain to her why I decided last semester to receive communion by the tongue. After that, I’ve noticed my younger brother, a freshman in the same university I attend, started receiving on the tongue as well. While yes, the state of catechesis is poor, the best we can do as Catholics who have gone out of our way to learn more and more of our faith, and continue to learn, is to spread it to the people closest to us, and hope the fruits that come out of that multiply.

  66. I watched the clip and my heart sunk. I started reading some of the responses and just stopped because there are so many. I am posting because as a priest my heart aches at seeing our Lord and God passed around like a joint at a rock concert. What ever happened to making a spiritual communion, or offering up not being able to receive for the holy souls in purgatory? I just spent $4,000.00 for a turn of the century chalice to replace the simplistic chalice (guess is shouldn’t complain because the first one for the parish was stainless steel – parish just turned 50 years old), and maybe I should have just invested in a pack of red plastic cups, or better yet Styrofoam ones for the altar. God is either present or He isn’t, and how did that horror honor God, humbling Himself to be undefended for us. We can come up with an excuse for any behavior, but where is the line that enough is enough. Guess God wants me to pray more in reparation for my unworthiness and His being treated with less than the awe and majesty He deserves. Thanks for letting me blow off steam.

  67. Charles E Flynn says:

    I do not see how the Eucharist can be passed from person to person like a hotdog at a football stadium in one place, and placed in a monstrance and incensed in another.

  68. janeway529 says:

    “Officials from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Saturday night celebrated a Mass and consecrated 2.5 million hosts for distribution Sunday from 20 tents among the crowd.” — Rappler.com

  69. Kathleen10 says:

    It’s a wonderful thing, to see the earnest devotion of so many good Filipino people. What a crowd! God bless them for caring enough to stand in that mob and attend a Mass, and for showing such enthusiasm.
    But Holy Communion given this way is an insult to Jesus. We should give Jesus first consideration in that He is received properly. Mega-masses didn’t start yesterday, the perils are already understood. There is no excuse for this.
    I was at Yankee Stadium when Pope Benedict visited New York City. I was wayyy up in the nosebleed section (not easy because the old stadium made you feel like you could just fall onto the field when you were up that high, the steps were steep) but regardless, we received Holy Communion. I can only speak for my section, but it was orderly and did not even take much time throughout the stadium. What I remember distinctly are two NYC officers standing guard nearby who made the sign of the cross and received as well. But the type of crowd they had in Manila should make common sense and logistics prevail. There is just no way to guard against abuses, and so it should not occur. Handing Jesus over people’s heads should never occur, but priests might have been frightened with good cause.
    I would not have been upset in the least to have been told at Yankee Stadium that we could not receive. It was a blessing just to be there.

  70. jhayes says:

    Janeway529 quoted: “Officials from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Saturday night celebrated a Mass and consecrated 2.5 million hosts for distribution Sunday from 20 tents among the crowd.”

    Yes, and according to Rorate, the video is not of the Sunday Mass in the Park. It was taken outside the Cathedral on Saturday. You can see the Cathedral sign in the opening frames.

    Here is a description of the preparations for the Sunday Mass in the Park.

    MANILA, Philippines—For the culminating Mass on Sunday of Pope Francis’ four-day apostolic visit to the Philippines, organizers have prepared a total of 2.5 million hosts, the bread that Catholics receive at Communion that they believe is transformed into the Body of Christ.

    The Sisters of the Holy Face of Jesus (HFJ), who were given the job of going over the many sacks of host to ensure that there were no fragments and broken pieces before they are consecrated, said they were purchased by the Liturgy Committee of the Archdiocese of Manila from the Carmelite Monastery of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Pangasinan province.

    According to Sr. Ma. Annunciata T. Mendoza, the congregation’s secretary general, the HFJ sisters spent five hours going over the sacks. “We received the sacks of hosts on Jan. 14 and started segregating and sifting the hosts at 2 p.m. of the same day. We ended at 7 p.m.,” she said.

    Organizers expect up to 6 million people to attend the Luneta Mass, surpassing the 4 million who came for the Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II at the same venue at the conclusion of the World Youth Day celebrations in January 1995.

    According to Mendoza, 20 tents will be set up throughout the park for the communion rite. In each tent will be stationed one nun from their congregation, three seminarians, and two members of Mother Butler Guild, a group of Catholic women that has clothed hundreds of clergymen on many liturgical occasions, and 250 Eucharistic ministers to assist and give communion to the Mass-goers.


  71. benedictgal says:

    This is rather interesting. According to this article:


    ‘Extraordinary situation’
    Filipino Catholic Church officials came in defense of this, saying the Masses, particularly at Luneta, were “extraordinary” circumstances.

    In an interview with GMA News, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said: “Under normal circumstances, hindi dapat mangyari ‘yon, pero extraordinary ang situation natin sa Luneta, six million people.”

    He added: “Sa ganu’ng pagkakataon, kailangan nating tulungan ang isa’t isa na makatanggap ng communion.”

    For his part, Fr. Francis Lucas, executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Communication and Mass Media, echoed this, telling GMA News Online: “For pastoral reasons since people can’t move during communion, mass passing of the host is okay.”

    ‘Don’t distribute at all’

    In his entry, Skojec, said that if large papal Masses “are deemed a necessary witness of the faith, then perhaps if communion can’t be distributed in an appropriate fashion, it should not be distributed to the entire gathering.”

    “We do not need to receive communion at every Mass we attend. In fact, if we are not properly disposed, we should not receive, even if we are in a state of grace. Personally, I find the idea of seeing my Lord handled like a beach ball at a concert more sufficient to cloud any sense of proper disposition,” he said.

    According to EWTN Global Catholic Network, one is “obliged” to receive Holy Communion “during Easter time each year and when in danger of death.” — Rose-An Jessica Dioquino/RSJ, GMA News

    His reaction was disheartening and very discouraging. Did these people not read Redemptionis Sacramentum at all?

  72. KateD says:

    Communion should be given to every Catholic in a state of grace in attendance, while kneeling and on the tongue, no matter how large the crowd. It may take a while, but that’s okay. Those with celiac disease should, as always, make arrangements in advance.

  73. KateD says:

    BTW I have been to a Mass where the Eucharist was distributed in this manner….Saint Peter’s, Rome Easter 2005. It was like being in a mosh pit….I kid you not…..sans pogoing…..mostly. Honestly, I had to jump up and down to get above the crowd to see where the priest was to receive the Eucharist. It would’ve be much better if there were clearly delineated lines for those wishing to receive.

  74. benedictgal says:

    Kate, it is unfortunate that this happened in Rome, right before St. John Paul II died. Nonetheless, just because it happened at St. Peter’s, that does not excuse the activity. What is wrong is wrong and there is no denying that.

    As to your assertion that communion should be given “every Catholic in a state of grace in attendance”, that is not necessarily true. We do not have to receive Holy Communion at every Mass we attend, especially in a large crowd where we run the risk of profaning our Lord. Do you not see that? Do you not see that a grievous abuse occurred? What happened in Manila should never have happened at all. This is wrong, plain and simple.

  75. jhayes says:

    Benedictgal, Rorate provides a translation of the statement by the President of the Philippine Bishops Conference:

    “Under normal circumstances, this should not have happened, but the situation in the Luneta was extraordinary, six million people.” He added: “On this occasion, it was necessary to help each other receive communion”.


    For his part, Fr. Francis Lucas, executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Communication and Mass Media, echoed this, telling GMA News Online: “For pastoral reasons since people can’t move during communion, mass passing of the host is okay.”

  76. Precentrix says:

    Was on Cologne 2005. Don’t know about the other folks, but we received kneeling, on the tongue, from one of our priests. Okay, so was with Juventutem, but our group was what, 1000 strong by itself. It can be done. We basically had an imaginary rail along the edge of the grassy bit, worked fine.

  77. benedictgal says:

    The explanations offered by both the bishop and the priest are less than satisfactory. It’s as though both of them either ignored Redemptionis Sacramentum or they don’t understand how blatantly wrong the actions were.

  78. KateD says:

    Remember that Jesus is just as present in the Eucharist as He was at the Garden of Gethsemane when the soldiers came to arrest Him as is describe in John 18:6, “When he said to them, “I am he”, they drew back and fell to the ground.”

  79. benedictgal says:

    Yes. Jesus is present in the Eucharist, KateD, that is precisely why He should be revered and respected during the distribution of Holy Communion.

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