Sunday, 14 July 2013

Father Ignatius' sin



The following Sunday at Mass Father Ignatius was determined to make a stand. He approached the lectern confidently and said:

“As many of you know by now we had an incident here at last Sunday’s Mass. Two youngsters came up front for Communion and instead of placing the Host in their mouth when I put it in their hands, they ran away. In their hurry to escape one of them dropped the Host on the floor. The other Host was also retrieved by Father Donald who had followed the youth out in the park.

“What happened here last Sunday is a sacrilege.

“The Host as you know is not just a wafer, or a biscuit. It is the Body of Christ.

“And I allowed the Body of Christ to be desecrated by handing it out in peoples’ hands. For this grave sin of thoughtlessness I have begged Him for forgiveness.

“I am personally responsible for what happened last Sunday to the Body of Christ and I know that I will be answerable to Him personally one day for my sin."

The priest paused for a while.

“I have decided that from today, Communion will no longer be given in the hand in this church. Not as long as I am here.

“From now on, I would like you please to come forward and genuflect side by side here by the Altar rail. I will then give Communion on the tongue as we used to do previously.

“I’ve discussed this with Father Donald and he agrees and he will be following the same practice too.

“I have also discussed this matter with the Bishop who said that although the decision is ours to make in this parish; he will not be advising other parishes to change their practice.

“If anyone has a problem with this change please have a word with me afterwards or with Father Donald.”

Father Ignatius stopped for few moments to let the message sink in, then continued:

“I think you ought to know that we have identified one of the youngsters who ran away with the Host last Sunday.

“He is a Catholic boy who has in the past attended Mass here and was educated in our local Catholic school.”

The congregation gasped almost in unison. The priest waited for the noise to die down and then went on:

“I also feel responsible for that fact in itself.

“The fact that one of our own children could carry out such a deed proves that we have failed him somehow.

“It is obvious that we failed to teach him, and possibly other children, the true meaning of the Eucharist. As your priest I am guilty of that grave omission.

“I fail to understand how a child who took First Communion in this very church and was educated by us, amongst our own, did not understand the reality of Communion.

“I have discussed this at some length with Mother Superior at St Joseph School and the Headmaster at St Andrew’s. Both will take action to remedy the situation.

“But most of all I would like to plead with you parents. You are the first point of contact with your children, and rightly so. You promised at their Baptism that you will bring them up in the Faith. Please remember this and use every opportunity to teach your young ones the reality that is Christ and His Divinity.

“Teach them by example. Teach them by words. Teach them by praying together daily as a family, and by reading passages from the Bible.

“Father Donald and I are here to help you if you wish.

“The Lord God has given you the gift of children. Your gift to Him is to bring them up in the Faith.”

14 comments:

  1. I see this more often than I'd like to admit. We are told in our parish to say something if a child (or adult!) walks away carrying the Eucharist. Not always the easiest thing to do, but, as in your post, we all owe it to our fellow Catholics.

    Btw, you raise a really interesting point about whether we should go back to receiving the Lord on our tongue instead of handling Him.

    God Bless you.

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    Replies
    1. I agree Michael. The Church should decide on this issue of Communion on the tongue once and for all.

      God bless.

      Delete
  2. It would be so lovely to re-instate the old traditions and the beautiful high altars and altar rails. It's so uplifting to visit a church that still has all of this. I guess the Church treads lightly to avoid division but I've read that there is a trend back towards regaining what has been lost.

    I agree that it would make things easier for us if the Church made things uniform - though, it could be a lot harder if the parish priest was resistant to the change, do you think?

    God bless, Victor:-)

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  3. As I understand it, a previous Pope favoured Communion on the tongue - either Benedict or John Paul II. But the bishops and clergy did not agree.

    It's all confusing to the faithful. Like for instance the visions in Medgure - they are not yet accepted by the Vatican, yet many priests lead pilgrimages there. Also, not eating meat on Fridays. The bishops in England have asked people not to eat meat but not the bishops in Scotland, Wales or elsewhere.

    Sometimes a bit of uniformity helps people understand where they stand. It's all so confusing.

    Like you, I look back to the old traditions of high altars and altar rails.

    God bless you Vicky and thank you for your visit.

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  4. Victor, I wish there were a speed boat for me to get to Mass with Father Ignatiuis. (I don't like to fly LOL) This is such a contentious issue and I believe with all my heart we would see much change in our parishes if we brought back this one thing: communion on the tongue...the message delivered with the humility of Father Ignatius.

    Always a blessing to read your stories. +

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so right Caroline. It is such a contentious issue. I don't think the Church realises how people feel. I sometimes wonder if ALL priests believe the Host is the Body of Christ!

      God bless.

      Delete
  5. I became a Catholic in the early seventies and have received the Body only once on my tongue; it seemed odd sticking out my tongue in front of the priest but I can see everyones point of view

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    Replies
    1. The thing is, Melanie, there have been many instances where people have taken the Host in their hands and later miss-used it.

      God bless you.

      Delete
  6. yes- which is horrific

    don't want to burden you but you have received the Influential Blog Award ( my rendition) at
    hemotherofnine9.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/ripples-of-influence-awards-post-4/

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanx Melanie. You're too kind.

    God bless you.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yay for Father Ignatius. Great post. Pope Benedict XVI restored Holy Communion to being received kneeling and on the tongue during the papal liturgies and Pope Francis is continuing it. I believe that eventually the entire Church will return to this practice, but it may take awhile. We need our priests to speak clearly about the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ in the sacred host and Precious Blood. That and the Sacrament of Penance would go a long way toward building the faith of the people. But I'm sure some priests and bishops don't believe. I've met them and they are very scary people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is sad, Barbara, that some priests don't believe.

      God bless.

      Delete
  9. Being a convert, I have only received in the hand so I am not comfortable about receiving on the tongue. But I do understand why some would prefer it. Most important is that all of us treat the Eucharist with reverence. AND each other.
    Some people (nobody commenting on this blog)treat those of us who receive in the hand unkindly. I do not think that is showing reverence for Christ at all. I pray for them.
    Good story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand what you mean, Colleen. I too receive Communion in the hand.

      The problem is that it has been known that some people take the Communion in the hand and then use it afterwards for negative purposes.

      God bless.

      Delete

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God bless you.

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