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Eucharistic Catechesis

On this occasion of Corpus Christi, at this time of National Eucharistic Revival, in the weeks ahead, I would like to offer some catechesis and gentle reminders when it comes to our reception of Holy Communion—our posture, the procession, the importance of the Communion Hymn, and the sacred silence that follows.

First, let’s begin with the Communion Procession. The Church understands this procession, in fact, every procession in liturgy, as a sign of the pilgrim Church, the body of those who believe in Christ, on their way to the Heavenly Jerusalem. “All our lives we who believe in Christ are moving in time toward that moment when we will be taken by death from this world and enter the joy of the Lord in the eternal Kingdom he has prepared for us. The liturgical assembly of the baptized that comes together for the celebration of the Eucharist is a witness to, a manifestation of, the pilgrim Church. When we move in procession, particularly the procession to receive the Body and Blood of Christ in Communion, we are a sign, a symbol of that pilgrim Church on the way” (The Reception of Holy Communion at Mass, USCCB).

Regrettably, sometimes, the experience of the Communion Procession is likened to our standing in line at the grocery store or at the BMV. This perception is “dreadfully inaccurate,” and is an “improvised understanding of what is a significant religious action,” our bishops state. The Communion Procession is an action of the Body of Christ. This is the sign and the source of our unity. In fact, each time we move forward together to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, “we join the countless ranks of all the baptized who have gone before us, our loved ones, the canonized and uncanonized saints down through the ages, who at their time in history formed a part of this mighty stream of believers.”

Beginning with this weekend’s celebration, might we bear in mind and perhaps better understand, that when we present ourselves for Communion, we have joined in the procession of all processions, side-by-side with our sisters and brothers, making our way to the Heavenly Jerusalem.

Fr. Terry


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