Week of 5/6/2018
This coming Saturday May 12, our second graders will take a big step toward a deeper commitment to Our Lord with their first Holy Communion. It is a priceless moment; God becomes one with us. This always recalls the stunning sacrifice Christ made for us on the cross. There is a wise adage for priests: to celebrate every Holy Mass as if it was their first Mass, their last Mass, and their only Mass. Such a thought is meant to instill extreme reverence and much heightened con- sciousness of the stunning action that simple bread and wine become the actual Body and actual Blood of the God made man Jesus Christ. To truly grasp such a glorious mystery is to be awestruck.
Such an adage transfers also to reception of Holy Communion; that is, that one should receive every Holy Eucharist as if it was their first Holy Communion, last Holy Communion and only Holy Communion in their life. To see the saints and read what absolute awe they had in approaching the Eucharist is to be overwhelmed by the reality of the Body of the uncreated God who gave us life. This is also why there are magnificent hymns as well as Eucharistic processions in honor of the Holy Eucharist. Yet again, the indifference of the world is very prevalent. Many will pack a stadium for a sporting event or concert that does not redeem us, while the Eucharist which is God is forgotten.
Every year with the First Communicants, we seek to instill within the children the sense of awe they really need. Important questions to ask self and children in order to permanently instill not just respect but genuine awe of the Eucharist: what is my mindset as I approach Holy Communion? Do I realize that seeming bread is really the all Holy God? What am I praying as I receive? When I go back to my seat, do I watch other people, distracted, or do I truly engage in prayer, thinking that for a moment I have become a living tabernacle with Christ’s Body becoming one with me? Do I ask for graces?
Again, the importance of receiving the Eucharist with reverence is crucial; proper comportment remind us of the sacredness of the moment. It must never be eaten like a snack or gumdrop. When one receives on the tongue one helps heighten that sense of reverence. If one receives on the hand, again, it must be both hands reverently put into a cross and the Host must be immediately placed in the mouth. More errors: trying to receive in the hand with sleeves covering half the hand. If hands are covered, with a cast or gloves or sleeves, communion must be received in the mouth. If oen has rosary beads or other objects in hand, then receive in mouth. These are the norms of the Church. Again, one must never receive communion with one hand as if it was a snack. It is God. And, we ask parents to carefully monitor their children, that their Communion comportment may only grow more reverent, more reflective, and more aweinstilled. The greater reverence a child has for God, the greater respect a child will have for their parents and all others!
Special thanks from all of us priests to all of our wonderful 2nd grade religious education teachers, including our CCD chief Joanne Durkin, Jodi Angiolillo, Moya Bahadosingh, Barbara Bruderman, Barbara Ames, Fran Smith, Gloria Manna, and Arlene Gibbons, for their dedication and generosity! God bless you all!
God love you, Fr. Brian Gannon