Dear Friends in Christ:
I want to thank all those who helped our parish celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi with such devotion, awe, and reverence. The Corpus Christi Procession on May 22 was a beautiful act of devotion, love and adoration of Our Lord truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. Many thanks to the Guild of Saint Thomas Aquinas under the leadership of Nancy Mohlman, those who so beautifully decorated the Corpus Christi altars, our altar boys who serve with great reverence and those who provided the reception. Grazie mille to Alan Reed and our choir for the magnificent music at the Sunday morning Masses…indeed, the 9AM and 11AM Masses were celebrations filled with great rejoicing at the incredible gift of Christ’s Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist.
On Sunday I had mentioned in my sermon how our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI taught in his Corpus Christi homily that kneeling is one of the constitutive elements of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Our beloved Holy Father taught us:
“To adore the God of Jesus Christ, who, out of love, became bread to be broken, is the most valid and radical remedy against the idolatries of yesterday as well as of today. To kneel in front of the Eucharist is a profession of freedom: whoever bows before Jesus cannot and should not prostrate himself before any earthly power, no matter how strong.
We Christians only kneel before God, before the Most Blessed Sacrament, because we believe and know that the one true God is present, who created the world and loved man so much that for his sake, He gave His only begotten Son.
We prostrate ourselves before God who was the first to kneel down to man, like the Good Samaritan, to help him and give him back life, who knelt before us to wash our dirty feet.
To adore the Body of Christ means to believe that He is truly present in that piece of bread, Christ who gives sense to life…to the immense universe as to its littlest creature, to the entire human history as to the briefest of existence.
Adoration is a prayer that prolongs Eucharistic celebration and communion, during which the soul continues to nourish itself: it feeds on love, on truth, on peace. It feeds on hope, because He before whom we bow, does not judge us, does not crush us, but frees and transforms us.”
Currently in the United States it is the national norm to receive Holy Communion standing. However, the Holy See has made it very clear that this permission should not be interpreted as banning the traditional posture of kneeling during Holy Mass. The Holy See has also made it very clear that no one may refuse to administer Holy Communion to those who kneel in adoration to receive Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. At all of the weekend Masses I had announced that since many parishioners kneel (or have expressed to me a desire to kneel) for Holy Communion that I had decided to reserve one of the front pews on the Nave for this purpose. It would serve as a “Communion Rail.”
Well, I must say that the response to our single “communion rail” was much more positive and worked better than I had expected. Many expressed to me over the weekend that they indeed would prefer to receive kneeling but that they sit in the transepts…”Father, couldn’t there be front pews designated in the transepts to kneel in adoration to receive Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist?” Given the requests and the numbers who chose to kneel at the one front pew this past weekend, I have decided to reserve both front pews in the Nave and one front pew in each of the transepts to facilitate this preference. It is also safer for a communicant to kneel at a railing than attempting to kneel on a hard floor. (I might also add that it is much easier to administer Holy Communion to a person kneeling at a “communion rail.”)…
We will continue this practice through the summer months and then evaluate things in the fall.
Msgr. Steven L. Brovey, V. F., Pastor