Thursday, November 5, 2009


I went to Mass on Sunday at a different Catholic church than I usually go to, and the Priest made some announcements at the beginning of Mass regarding the Swine Flu.
He said that:
1) The Church pews would be cleaned thoroughly a few times a week (Great!)
2) We would not touch at the Sign of Peace (I agree)
3) If you are sick, the most charitable thing to do would be to stay at home (Again, I agree)
4) For the Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, there would be hand sanitizer available to clean your hands before and after distributing Holy Communion. (Super!)
5) There would be no more Holy Water to bless yourself with. Instead, they have bottles of hand sanitizer in its place. (Ummm, now we're getting a little neurotic)
6) Although it's not forbidden, he highly discourages receiving Our Lord by mouth.
Ok, this last one is when I got a little peeved. When I was younger, I used to ALWAYS receive Communion in my hands. Until one day I heard a priest talk about how we should receive in the mouth because it truly is JESUS we are receiving, and it is more reverent and less risky to receive the host directly in your mouth (less chance of it falling or breaking).
Also, only the priests hands should be touching Our Lord as they have been Ordained...who are we to handle Jesus Christ in the flesh? I certainly am not worthy. Yes, there are lay people who distribute Communion by hand, but they are called Extraordinary Ministers for a reason...because they are only supposed to distribute Communion when there is an extraordinary need, and not enough Priests are available.
I made it a point one Lent to start receiving by mouth only. It was a sacrifice for me because I felt uncomfortable and nervous doing it, but I truly felt that it was a more noble way to receive the Precious Body. And since then I have never gone back to receiving in my unworthy hands.
Until this past Sunday. It just felt wrong to me, and I wish I had opened my mouth instead, but I was trying to be respectful of the Priest's wishes.
I know this sounds naive, but I honestly don't believe that God would allow an illness to be spread through His Most Sacred Body. Just like I don't think we can catch germs from drinking from a shared cup of His Blood. Call me crazy, I probably am. But from now on , I am receiving Jesus's Body and Blood by mouth only.


  1. You know I think we are probably the only church in our diocese that is making no changes whatsoever regarding swine flu. I wish we could just give a wave at the sign of peace, but no-everyone is still shaking hands. I bought a bunch of hand sanitizer and I am staying out of the cry room!

  2. Good for you, Colleen. We all have strong feelings regarding certain things. God will protect.

  3. Our church has not made any changes. The only thing our Pastor said was it was ok to refrain from the sign of Peace. Our parish is pretty conservative, so I could not imagine our Pastor ever saying that you could not receive the Eucharist by mouth!

  4. Our church has not made any changes either. I do wish that we could forego the sign of peace, but I think that receiving on the tongue is fine.

  5. Are you joking about the Holy Water fonts? I can't believe it!

    You go girl, I wouldn't have it on the hand either!!!

  6. The holy water just doesn't make sense to me, nor does receiving the host in your hands instead of your mouth - although maybe they are less concerned about contaminating YOU than they are picking up something FROM you and spreading it to others? That would be my guess. Either way, if people use the sanitizer and stay home if they're sick, then the germs wouldn't get passed around. (Sort of surprised they didn't pass out face masks at the door!)

  7. I've been thinking a lot about that. We (the congregation) haven't shared the sign of peace for quite awhile, which doesn't bother me too much.

    I, too, have received Our Lord exclusively on the tongue for the last seven or eight years. Last week I was sick with a cold and didn't want to pass my oral germs but wasn't sick enough to stay home either. So I received in the hands and it felt very, very funny.

    But this weekend, I was back to the more reverent way. I trust, too, that Our Lord has better plans for eucharistic reception than passing along germs.

  8. you know.. i'm not catholic... but that #5 sorta through me for a loop... i'm TOTALLY with you, a tad paranoid maybe?

  9. I really cannot understand the need to get rid of holy water. It isn't as if people are going to drink it. If someone dipping their hand in the holy water font was really that sick, they should stay home.

  10. Very interesting topic! The Deacon's Bench had an interesting case for receiving in the hand just a few days ago. My niece and I have been discussing this lately as well. Seems to be the hot topic!

    I've always received in the hand, and not sure I'm ready to change, but after hearing so much about it, I will surely be pondering the possibility for change! Thanks!

  11. i think that the holy water somehow being "holy" counteracts all The reason I think this is my kids used to put their lips on the font and drink holy water after 5,000 people put their hands in it! They never got sick I know bad kids but to me thats proof! LOL.

  12. AMEN AND AMEN!!!! You are NOT silly, crazy, or naive are RIGHT ON!
    I find the priest's words peculiar; especially since Pope Benedict the XVI has spoken and has strongly encouraged ALL CATHOLICS to return to receiving Our Lord on the tongue...this is the ONLY form of distributing the Sacrament now at the Vatican...(if the sources I read are correct). Getting rid of Communion Rails and "allowing" us to stand and using the hand to receive are ways that OUR PRECIOUS LORD IN HIS MOST HOLY SACRAMENT has been watered down and made to seem like a common, non-significant occurrence! I doubt ANY ONE of us would STAND before Him were He to take on His human bodily form before us!!! And as to the spreading of those has also been written from the perspective that receiving on the tongue HELPS with this issue...since the more hands that touch and pass things to other hands and MOUTHS...well..the more germs abound. (And I'm with you on believing that it is THE LORD and therein we are protected)
    Thanks for speaking up Colleen...what you have shared is very important to the Faithful.


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