I 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.
Not 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.