Sacred Reception of Holy Communion
Welcome to St. Francis De Sales Parish! As a vibrant Catholic community, our behaviour and attitudes in church rest on the following two fundamental principles:
The Church is a Sacred Space and a Sacred Place
It is the “House of our Lord”, where we come to praise, worship, and give thanks to God and to spend quality time with Him.
Mass is a Holy and Sacred Act
It is during the Mass that all the graces and merits of our Lord’s sacrifice are applied to our souls in a sacramental fashion. We encounter our God in a most intimate and awesome way and receive Him in the most real way possible, the Eucharist—if we are properly disposed.
As we remember these, the following points will undoubtedly make perfect sense in respecting the sacred reception of Holy Communion.
- Fast before Mass—at least one hour before receiving Communion. Exceptions: food for medications & water.
- Please no food or drink in the Church. Exceptions: drinks for children & water for the sick. Please do not chew gum or bring coffee cups into the church. It breaks your fast, it is distracting and impolite!
- Who may receive Communion? All Catholics of age, in union with the local bishop and Pope, not under any unconfessed, grave or serious sin, or in any irregular marital situation, and who have followed the Eucharistic fast, may receive Holy Communion.
- Communion means for Catholics: “union with.” It is the true Body and Blood of Christ sacramentally made present, but it is also a sign of our communion with each other who are in communion with the Church, its bishops and all in communion with the Holy Father. For that reason, we regret that it would be a false sign for those not in communion to receive the Eucharist. This is not a moral judgment or condemnation on your person! We pray for the day when the Church is truly one and universal once again! Make a “spiritual communion” instead, if you wish (offering to God your great desire to receive communion when you can), or pray as you wish.
- If you cannot receive for any reason, that is fine. You may come up for a blessing as communion is being distributed, just cross your arms in front of your chest, and you will receive a blessing. You may also remain seated and continue with your prayer. There is no obligation to come up.
- Those who can receive may receive on the tongue or on the hand. Both are appropriately permitted. Please do not “grab” the Host from the priest’s or Eucharistic minister’s hand.
- Please consume the Host immediately in front of the priest or Eucharistic minister. This is to protect the sacrament from any abuse or profanation. Intinction (“dipping” the Host in the Precious Blood) is not allowed.
- When the Eucharistic minister presents the Host and says “The Body of Christ”, the proper response is “Amen!” This indicates that you know and believe that who you are about to receive is Jesus himself.
- When you get back to your space, please kneel or sit quietly. Use the time for silent prayer & reflection. Sacred silence is most appreciated in the church.
- Please stay until the end of Mass! Please do not sneak out after Communion. The Mass is not truly over until the priest has left the altar and, more politely, until after the recessional hymn is completed, since it is, after all a sung prayer.
- Please leave the Church quietly, reverently and respectfully.
Please say a special prayer for Christians being persecuted by Moslems in the Middle East. Christians are now less than 2% of the total population of the ME, with 3,000 killed so far this year by ISIS and other Moslem groups. In Iraq alone over 50 churches have been destroyed, with hundreds of men, women and children, murdered inside.