BRICK BY BRICK: A Communion rail restored in a major, historic church

popebenedictbrickbybricknew5tranwebI just received something interesting from a reader in Chicago, for your Brick By Brick file.

Perhaps you have at some time driven down the Kennedy Expressway.  Suddenly the Interstate bends sharply around, and very close to, the rectory of St. Stanislaw Kostka Church, one of the huge Polish churches served by Resurrectionists that closely dot the North Side.  It is not far from the mighty St. John Cantius (recently voted the most beautiful church in these USA).  This was, if memory serves, once the largest parishes in the world if not the largest, with some 15 Masses each day going alternatively in the upper and lower churches.  They had enough clout there to deviate the Interstate!

Their website is HERE (WARNING: At this time 2 different videos automatically start playing, which is a bit annoying.)

Now I read this, in the Bulletin Letter for 24 July 2016.

They are restoring their Communion rail!

At the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under The earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10,11

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
Last week I extended permission to you to freely receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist in the posture of our ancestors, that is, on your knees. [They really didn’t need permission, but it was good for him expressly to say that it was okay, for those who wavered or thought otherwise.] For centuries, up until the mid-1960s this was the norm for receiving Holy Communion throughout the world. While this remains an option for all, after the Second Vatican Council, standing for reception of the Holy Eucharist became the norm and fits the directives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Over the years there has been discussions and debate over proper reception of Holy Communion even to the point that some pastors [illicitly] forbade the faithful from receiving the Holy Eucharist on their knees. In any case, the Church officially extends the option to receive Jesus in the posture of kneeling. One thing is certain I think. More than a few Catholics long for a return to a sense of the sacred, too often veiled by a myriad of distractions that have crept into the celebration of the Holy Mass.  [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]
The distractions are a result of exaggerated attention on ourselves and perhaps an unconscious need to “entertain” that Mass be anything but a “boring” experience. Living in a time when we seem to set ourselves at the center of all things – the age of selfies – from the priest celebrating the Holy Mass to the people in the pews, we can easily forget the reason for our worship and adoration of Almighty God. [This guy gets it.]
First of all, we come to Mass as a people in mission. The word Mass comes from the Latin word missa, which means, a sending forth in mission. As baptized Christians, our mission is to make Christ known to others, in word and in deed. We are to bring His light into the world’s darkness. If we have the humility to be honest with ourselves, we readily admit that we fail, at times miserably, in the charge to make disciples of all nations. Also, when confronted with daily trials and tribulations, we quickly forget that Jesus is our hope, the source of our peace, and the cause of our salvation. God humbled Himself, took on our flesh and atoned for our sins. He comes to us still in His Sacred Body and Blood.
16_07_20_TSHIRT_ENG_02 copyNot unlike the despairing disciples who are visited by the Risen Christ on the road to Emmaus, our hope is rekindled when the Lord speaks to us in Sacred Scripture and our hearts burn when we recognize Him in the Breaking of the Bread. Our humble participation in the Holy Mass is really an obligation we bear to express our gratitude to God, that having redeemed us, God remains with us that we not collapse as we go on our way.
It’s interesting that in preparation for the apparition of Our Lady in Fatima, Portugal in 1917, an angel first appeared to the children, Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta and showed them how to properly receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. The angel did this very simply through prayer and posture. The children were instructed to pray, “Oh my God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love you and I ask pardon of you for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love you.” They were then told to prostrate in the adoration of, and reception of the Holy Eucharist. [I think it is significant that Father mentions Fatima, since we are approaching the centenary.]
My friends, if there’s ever a time when we need a restoration of proper disposition before God, this is the time. [Do I hear a LOUD “AMEN!”?] In a world severely lacking in humility, we Christians must humble ourselves before God in gratitude for the gift of salvation and in the offering of our lives and the lives of others through reverential participation in the Holy Mass. Whether we receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist on our knees or whether standing, let us be conscious of this sacred and life sustaining encounter. Permission granted[See above.] for receiving Jesus in the posture of kneeling is a step toward the restoration of the sacred reality at the center of our worship.  [AMEN!]
The Holy Trinity is the center and the focus of our worship and in the celebration of the Holy Mass, Jesus comes to us to reproduce His life in us. Because we are not worthy of such a gift, many are choosing to humbly receive Him in the posture of our ancestors, prefigured in the sojourn of the Israelites, revealed in the Gospel narratives, and perpetuated through the ages to our present day.
The request to receive the Holy Eucharist in the posture of kneeling is a spontaneous gesture of humility and a manifestation of a people’s desire for a profound sense of the sacred. It is an expression of a longing to lift the veil to the mystery[YES!] of God who is present among us in a wholly unique and sublime way. Finally, it is a preference for a more formal expression of gratitude to the gift of the Lord who gives Himself freely in spite of our foibles and failures.
Sincerely in Christ Risen,
Fr. Anthony Buś, C.R. – Pastor

Fr. Z kudos to Fr. Buś!

In Redemptionis Sacramentum we read:

[91.] In distributing Holy Communion it is to be remembered that “sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who seek them in a reasonable manner, are rightly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them”. Hence any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to Holy Communion. Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.

[92.] Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. [Except in the Extraordinary Form, wherein Communion is always directly on the tongue.] However, special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, [and this risk is rife and growing] then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Boniface says:

    Fr. Anthony Bus (pronounced “boos” as in “caboose”) is a great, holy priest! He wrote an excellent book called ” A Mother’s Plea,” about his spiritual relationship to the Blessed Mother and his struggle to rejuvenate St Stanislaus and his dream to make it into a great shrine of the Divine Mercy, which has obviously providentially guided. They are doing great things there. This was once the largest Polish parish outside of Poland, and the absolute epicenter of Polish America from the mid 19th to at least the mid 20th century. Now it is bouncing back, but they still need a lot in donations to continue their loving restoration of this very special and historic church! Please help them if you can.

  2. Boniface says:

    There is an accent in Fr Bus’ last name that must have caused it to appear as a ? and drop the “s” on Fr Z’s post above.

    Also, I meant to write “obviously has *been* providentially guided” above!

  3. Matt Robare says:

    Deo gratias.

    That reminded me of something I thought of a few days ago: sanctity is hard, but liturgy is easy. Compared to avoiding sin, kneeling for the Consecration and Communion is easy. Wearing our Sunday best to a brick oven of a church where the pastor has to put the meager collection towards keeping the roof from falling in or having the place rewired to avoid electrical fires rather than installing a/c is simple compared to dying to ourselves for Jesus. The loss of being able to see or hear what the priest is doing for ad orientem worship is minor compared with abandoning one’s self to God.

    If we won’t do the easy things, how can we do the hard ones?

  4. iPadre says:

    I visited that church when I was at St. John Cantius for Sancta Missa training in the deacon’s role at Solemn Pontifical Mass back in April. Beautiful. This is an awesome addition to a beautiful church.

  5. JARay says:

    I fully understand and support these sentiments although I personally stand to receive Holy Communion. This is simply because my arthritis makes kneeling somewhat difficult.

  6. SanSan says:


  7. Eriugena says:

    Priest murdered in church in France while saying Mass

  8. bethv says:

    This is so wonderful to read! It gives me hope that such priests and parishes exist. Thank you for letting us know!

  9. P. Murray says:

    This is great news!

    St. Stanislaus is also home to what is – in my opinion – the most interesting piece of sacred art in America, the Monstrance of Our Lady of the Sign. I wrote a short article about it on my site:

  10. S.Armaticus says:

    This is great information.

    For those interested, here is some info about the parish.

    St. Stan’s was my parish in the late 60’s. Went there for grades 1 to 7. Then we moved to the burbs. It was the mother church of the Resurrectionist order on the city’s near north side. The rest of the churches, schools, benevolent societies, newspapers, etc. (St. John Cantius, St. Mary of the Angels, Holy Trinity, etc.) were formed by priests from St. Stans.

    The Ressurectionists were (maybe still are?) a Polish order, formed by what the Poles call the Great Immigration in the mid 19th century, in Paris. It’s charism was serving the Polish migrant community. The name is associated with the partitions of Poland. The Polish nation was known as the “Christ among nations” in those years and waiting for its liberation, which finally came in 1918 took on a messianic flavor. Hence the name Community of the Resurrection (CR).

    The church itself was founded in 1867. It has two choirs, if my memory serves me correctly. It has a lower church. In the old days, the school day began at 7:30 Mass in the lower church. The parish itself used to be the largest grade school in the U.S. I think it had 2500 children at its height. The Kennedy Expressway forced the “taking down” of half the school building and part of the rectory. That primary school building is no longer there, and the school moved into the former girl’s high school building.

    As to the liturgy, unfortunately, the Resurrectionists were experimenters. They had “the table” already set up by 1967, or two years before the 1969 instruction preceding the mass of Paul VI. 6th, 7th and 8th graders were allowed to serve at Mass. In 5th grade the boys would start learning the prayer at the foot of the altar and responses. We had to learn both Latin and Engish that year. This was spring of ’69. By the beginning of the 1969-1970 school year, a funky hybid N.O. was instituted in English and by the time the 1970-1971 school year came around, the N.O. was in full bloom. The rest is history. With the destruction of the liturgy, the parish started to atrophy and the neighborhood collapsed within a few years. For comparison sake, in 1967 the second grade had 54 students. By 1971 when we moved, that same class was down to 22.

    In the 1980’s the area (Bucktown) started to regentrify under President Reagan’s tenure as did much of the Chicago near north side. Property values skyrocketed, with the yuppies moving in. St. Stan’s was given to the Mexican community, which saved it from demolition. St. In other words, the ghettoization of Catholicism was implemented. Mary’s was saved and given to the Opus Dei. Holy Trinity was given to the new Polish immigrants. Presently there is a battle going on to save St. Abalbert in the near west side. But I digress… Last year I was driving past and seen a Polish mass in the schedule which means that the sister parish (Holy Trinity) which serves the new Polish migrants is overflowing and needs more masses. :-)

    As to the parish, it is into some funky religious cult. They have some big “artwork” with a lady holding what appear to be bull horns in her hands. Something rigth out of the movie the 10 Commandants and the golden calf. They are also into the Mercy thing. Must be the Poles who are promoting this.

    Anyways, if we now find out that they are reinstalling the communion rail, this might mean that a NORMALIZATION process is taking hold. And all one can say is Deo gratias!.

  11. newportson says:

    Fr. Bu?, CR, belongs to the same order of priests to which Fr. Phillips, CR, pastor of St. John Cantius, also belongs. These two men are moving the Church in Chicago to a more sacred presence of Christ in our midst. Prayers are needed for Fr. Bu?, who is suffering from a battle with colon cancer. God bless them both.

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