Friday, May 23, 2008

Bishop of Rockville Centre forbids weekday Communion services

As we approach the feast of Corpus Xsti, it is interesting to see this development. I believe that this is the right approach. See the full article at Catholic News Service.
"Bishop William Murphy has issued a pastoral letter restricting the practice of Communion services at parishes and schools in his diocese. He said the ban on Communion services would bring the diocese into conformity with the liturgical norms of the Church.
Writing in an eight-page letter sent on Friday, Bishop Murphy reflected on the importance of the Eucharist. "The Eucharist is the greatest gift Jesus left us… The celebration of the Eucharist gives us our identity as well as our life,” he said.
The bishop said that Communion services, in practice, often sever what he called “the connection between receiving the Sacrament and celebrating the sacrifice. The two go hand-in-hand,” he continued. “Receiving the Sacrament is the culmination of participating in the sacrifice. There is an inherent interconnection between sacrifice, Real Presence, and Communion,” Bishop Murphy said.
“In the popular mind, all too often the purpose of Mass is still seen as an action simply to consecrate hosts; some people think their participation in the Eucharistic Prayer is all about watching the priest and then receiving Holy Communion,” he wrote.
Bishop Murphy said that the internal “offering” of ourselves both differentiates a Mass from a Communion Service and provides context for the laity’s “full, conscious, and active” participation in the Mass.
He ordered the Communion services in the diocese to end by July 1. Bishop Murphy explained in his letter that the Communion services were originally intended for use on Sundays only in remote, missionary parishes where priests could rarely visit."