From the Rector's Desk: An announcement concerning the Eucharist
Dear Parishioners of Saint Peter's:
On Tuesday, May 16th, Bishop Jacques Fabre-Jeune, in coordination with the Presbyteral Council, determined that the Precious Blood should be made available to the lay faithful at Mass at the discretion of the local pastor.
Restrictions to distribution of the Precious Blood associated with the COVID-19 pandemic strengthened our awareness and understanding that, “since Christ is sacramentally present under each of the species, communion under the species of bread alone makes it possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No.1390). Now, as we resume sharing both species, we are reminded of the instruction that “Holy Communion has a fuller form as a sign when it takes place under both kinds. For in this form the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is more clearly evident and clearer expression is given to the divine will by which the new and eternal Covenant is ratified in the Blood of the Lord, as also the connection between the Eucharistic banquet and the eschatological banquet in the Kingdom of the Father” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 281).
In order to facilitate the return to this practice at the Basilica, we will prepare in the following ways:
First, we must train and/or refresh a cadre of Extra-Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. Persons willing to assist the clergy must be confirmed Catholics in good standing with the Church and, if married, be in a union recognized by the Catholic Church. They must be at least 16 years of age and willing to perform all the functions this service requires. With this in mind, I invite parishioners of all ages who meet these requirements to prayerfully consider this ministry. Those who are so willing should plan to attend training I will personally provide in English on Wednesday, May 31, at 6:30 PM. Please contact the church office (803-779-0036) to let us know if you will attend. Information about a date and time for a training in Spanish is forthcoming. Once we have an adequate cadre of volunteers, we will begin scheduling them and then can provide both the Body and Blood of Christ at our Masses.
The other aspect of preparation is to reacquaint our parishioners on the proper means of receiving the Precious Blood of Christ, as well as acquainting those children and adults who received first Holy Communion in the past three years how to partake.
Lastly, to further underscore the reverence we should all have as we approach the Lord, I intend also to institute the use of patens by altar servers at Masses on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. This should help to preclude people from taking the Eucharist without consuming and also prevent the consecrated Host from falling inadvertently to the floor.
How timely, during a season of Eucharistic Revival, that we should be given this opportunity for focus and reflection. The return to what was the norm regarding the Eucharist following the Second Vatican Council provides us all with the opportunity to deepen our faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Hence, a little more time to prepare ourselves and our volunteers will benefit us all.
Fr. Gary S. Linsky
The Very Rev’d Canon Gary S. Linsky, V.F.