Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: The Host
The Host QUESTION from Debbie on September 12, 2002 Hi Mr. Slavek,
I have a few things to ask about concerning the host. During last night's Mass, I saw a girl dip her host into the blood and that was the way she took communion. I also once saw a woman who, instead of cupping her right hand into her left hand to receive the host on the right hand, simply extended her left hand and that was how she received the host. I wish to confirm that they were completely out of line? I had never seen the likes of it before!
I also wondered about a church where I recently went for Mass. Instead of giving a small round wafer to each individual, the priest took one large one and divided it into four bits, so those receiving the host received a piece rather than their own wafer - is it acceptable to break the host? I have only ever received individual wafers before.
Thanking you, Debbie
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on September 19, 2002 Dear Debbie,
What the girl did is called self intinction... it is strictly prohibited.
I do not believe that there are absolute guidelines for then manner of receiving the Eucharist by hand, BUT, those who are in charge must see that it is done properly, that is, it must be taught to use both hands to guard against losing particles of the Host.
It sounds in the last part of your question that there were only four people in attendance at Mass. There is nothing wrong with using one Host and breaking it.
We commonly see at parish Masses the priest using a single large host (six inches in diameter) and breaking it into many pieces. I do not like this since it over emphasizes the communal nature of Communion among the people and trivializes the divinity of Christ.
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