Holy Communion

Catechists Needed for Our Religious Education Program

Communion Bread and Wine with Cross
“My teacher, we made bread together, and I ate it and it was

education student to his parents, in Craig Dykstra’s, Growing in the Life of Faith


…on Sunday School teachers…

What are they doing these teachers? They come, each with his
or own piece of life, in fear and trembling, most of the time feeling as though
they've got little to give and almost nothing to say. Probably someone asked them
to do it, almost twisted their arms to do it. But the reason many keep on doing
it, I think, is that they are compelled to do it, from within, or maybe even by
a sometimes painful, sometimes satisfying grace that works through them. They search
through curriculum materials for something to teach, and in the how-to manuals
for how to teach it. But what they do more importantly is bring themselves to
another person, to a group of children they hardly know. And there they make
bread together, and eat it and know from time to time that it is good….

Teaching in church school is nine parts getting a weary body
out of bed early on Sunday mornings, cutting out construction paper patterns,
cleaning hardened glue from tables too low to bend over gracefully, matching
the right snow boot with the right foot, and keeping noise levels within
moderate bounds. But those nine parts are the things that make the one part
possible. And if you, as a teacher, are ever fortunate enough to overhear one
of the children in your class say, “My teacher, we made bread together and I
ate it and it was good,” you will know what that one part is.

Craig Dysktra, Growing in the Life of Faith

We need dedicated and courageous catechists for our Tuesday evening or Sunday morning sessions of the School of Religious Education. Please consider helping pass on the faith to the next generation in this very important ministy. 

Return Christ's call by calling the Parish Office and volunteering as a catechist, an aide or hall monitor.


Gluten Sensitivity and Holy Communion

I was reminded by a recent journal article about the methods for screening and confirming the diagnosis of gluten sensitivity, a condition only recognized as a diagnostic category in 2008. The existence of non-tropical sprue, or gluten intolerance with its characteristic autoimmune features, diagnostic small bowel biopsy and response to gluten-free diet has been recognized, if not always quickly diagnosed, for many years. 

The full spectrum of gluten sensitivity is not yet fully appreciated, nor are its causes well understood. Nevertheless, for those individuals who have a medically supervised need to limit or eliminate gluten from their diets, there are gluten-free hosts available at all our masses, as long as you notify the sacristan before the mass begins. 

A separate pyx contains the unconsecrated gluten-free host(s) which are brought up to the altar with the gifts of regular bread and wine. The priest will consecrate this host along with the others at the consecration, although it is always kept in its separate pyx (container). Before the priest handles the hosts for distribution, the pyx containing the gluten free host is closed and eventually handed to the sacristan for distribution to the communicant. This procedure ensures that no one touches the gluten free host after touching the regular bread, since even this small amount of gluten may contaminate the host for those extremely sensitive to the wheat protein.

We purchase our gluten free hosts from a community of religious women which bakes them and is approved by the US bishops. We store them separately from the regular whole wheat hosts. We cannot consecrate hosts brought from home, as we would have no way of knowing how these hosts are baked, or with what ingredients they are made.

We have several parishioners who avail themselves of the gluten-free hosts at our Sunday masses. Just let our sacristan know beforehand, so we always have a host on-hand and are able to keep it apart from the whole wheat hosts during the mass. We do not keep a supply of consecrated gluten-free hosts in the tabernacle on-demand, because they would likely become contaminated with gluten at some point.


Thanksgiving for Blessings Received


 Always and everywhere we are thankful for Jesus' presence to us in the Eucharist and never more so when the parish celebrates First Communion.

The childrens' prayerful attentiveness and enthusiasm were inspiring and the pride and love of their parents was heartwarming. There is nothing so heavenly as the sound of childrens' voices singing praise to God!

Celebrate the Eucharist and Live

Today's Lectionary Readings

Saul, blindness, conversion, scales, eyes, St. Paul  
Unless you eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood, you have no life within you,
says Jesus. We have been hearing about Saul's persecution of the early Christian community in Acts of the Apostles and this morning's reading recounts his conversion experience from persecutor to proselytizer. The early Christians were being hunted down precisely because they recognized the importance of Jesus' life-giving invitation to gather and be nourished by his body and blood.  

Unless we gather to be nourished by His Body and Blood, we have no life, no real life, regardless of how accomplished or successful we are by the world's standards. Many of our young people are excited to be receiving their First Eucharist in several weeks. Wouldn't it be great if we never lost the excitement and enthusiasm we felt when we first responded to Jesus' invitation? We can pray for such a spiritual renewal as we experience the sacrament through a first communicant's eyes.

May the scales on our eyes that blind us from seeing our need and obligation for weekly worship fall away!

Communion Under Both Species

Celebrate_christian_187930 The Liturgy Committee discussed the precautions we have been taking for some time to prevent the spread of H1N1 in our school and our parish. We agreed that it appears prudent to resume communion under both species.

We will resume communion under both species at daily masses beginning Ash Wednesday and at Sunday masses beginning at the Easter Vigil.

Prudent precautions still should be taken, i.e. refraining from taking communion from the cup if you are ill.

Hardball, The Factor, The Congressman, The Bishop, The Eucharist

Bishop Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island has been making the rounds of television and media outlets explaining why he asked Representative Kennedy  to refrain from receiving Holy Communion. It seems many in the media have sided with Kennedy and are calling the bishop's position inconsisent with other teachings of the church, or an interference with the separation between Church and state.

Mr. O'Reilly, for example, wondered as a "confused" Catholic, why, if the Church is against abortion and capital punishment, the church does not sanction those politicians who are in favor of capital punishment. The bishop explained the intrinsically evil nature of abortion, which can never be right compared to the theoretical necessity for the state to protect itself by the use of capital punishment, which can be permitted in exceptional cases. (John Paul II's strong condemnation of capital punishment in Evangelium vitae is coupled with the reservation of its right by the state in rare, "practically non-existent" cases.) Ths is surely a difficult concept to explain during the typical sound bite, confrontational news program.


Mr.  Matthews seems intent on browbeating Bishop Tobin, first by accusing him of transgressing into politics by his public correction of Congressman Kennedy, and then by being unwilling to define what penalty (presumably legal one) a woman should incur who procures an abortion.

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The Meaning of Scandal

Several of the interviews and discussions conflate the everyday use of the word "scandal," with its technical use in Church law. Scandalous behavior these days would seem to be in the eye of the beholder: Adam Lambert's behavior at the American Music Awards was scandalous enough to get him disinvited from ABC, but made him a hot property for CBS. Scandalous in canon law does not mean something which generates shock or surprise.

According to Archbishop Raymond Burke, "The theological meaning of scandal is to do or omit something which leads others into error or sin. The second meaning is to do or omit something which causes wonderment (admiratio) in others. Denying Holy Communion publicly to the occult sinner involves scandal in the second sense. Giving Holy Communion to the obstinately serious and public sinner involves scandal in the first sense."

Separation Between Church and State 

Whatever the constitutional "separation between church and state" means, it clearly does not mean that politicians ought to have a wall of separation between their moral beliefs and their voting behavior or public advocacy. This theoretical comparmentalization was first announced by John Kennedy, refined by Mario Cuomo and used by politicians ever since to justify voting for intrinsically wrong acts like abortion or destructive human embryonic stem cell research. The latest generation Kennedy has moved beyond privately holding that abortion is wrong, but voting for it anyway; he avows, as a Catholic, the right to have an abortion belongs to every woman. And then implies that the prohibition against abortion is just one among many rules, with which Catholics are free to disagree, even publicly.

Private morals vs. Public votes

What does this supposed separation betweeen moral beliefs and public policy mean? Does it mean my moral beliefs are private, and I will act against them whenever it's politically expedient? Does it mean my moral beliefs are private, and I will suspend them and advocate whatever the majority wants? Which moral beliefs do not have a hold on public voting or advocacy? The moral belief against murder? The moral belief that telling the truth is a virtue? The moral belief that stealing is wrong? The moral belief that each human person is created with equal dignity by God?

No one argues that laws should be passed which specifically protect the Catholic church, or that Catholic politicians should vote to outlaw the consumption of meat on Fridays during Lent. No one argues that a Catholic politician must do whatever his/her bishop or the pope instructs them to do. (This was a fear raised by modern day Know Nothings, if John F. Kennedy was elected. There is no small measure of anti-Catholicism in the conspiracy theories which picture Catholic bishops huddled in Washington writing our nation's laws.) But there can't be a disconnect between the moral beliefs of our politicians and their public actions. And if you choose to call yourself Catholic, there is a presumption that the beliefs of Catholicism infuse your thoughts and inform your moral behavior, even and especially your voting.