Hosts – Pastor’s Reflection (July 17, 2016)
Small things matter. A host is a small thing, but consider what it delivers! Those attending Mass at St. Catherine’s may notice that the host they receive in Holy Communion has become smaller and whiter. We hope that this diminutive host will achieve greater connection, an increase of the spiritual communion of the Church. St. Catherine’s has for decades hosted a singular “unity of the mystical Body of Christ” as its parochial community of clergy, religious and laity has out to the sick and elderly and welcomes to Mass their families, friends, and attending clinicians.
In the year since our merger we have striven through our practice to facilitate God’s work of achieving this communion among souls, of which the Mass stands as the pre-eminent means. The shared liturgical life of our parish, and our neighborhood collaboration with St. John Nepomucene have provided means of becoming more truly the church of Christ, and of allowing the Eucharist to do its work of overcoming barriers.
To serve this mission more completely we are taking a practical step that we hope has mystical consequences. We will foster communion by giving communion at Mass with the same hosts we use for the communion of the patients in our hospitals.
Further, we will establish a link between each Mass at St. Catherine’s and the hospital ministry. At each Mass we will consecrate a fixed amount of hosts exceeding the size of the congregation. The hosts remaining will be placed in the ciborium out of which the priests and ministers take the communion of the sick. Thus every communion call will have a direct link to the worship in the church, and the parishioners receiving communion can perceive their own mission to pray for the sick.
This practice furthers another principle of liturgical worship, namely that at Mass it is preferable that those present receive communion from the bread offered at that Mass. At Mass “sacrifice” and “communion” should be perceptible as two parts of the same action. This enables us to perceive concretely that whatever we offer to God, He gives back to us transformed. As Christ Crucified made His life entirely available to the Father, He returned that magnified in the Resurrection. Here we discover the completely energizing principle of the Christian life. Whatever resource we place at God’s service He uses them to promote the common good and our own good, in ways that surprise and surpass expectations.
The value of this practice leads us to implement it at St. Vincent Ferrer as well. On weekdays we will consecrate a fixed number of hosts, and then work to figure out a plan for consecration at Sunday Mass. More to follow on that.
This letter comes with Kentucky greetings. I am enjoying an overdue visit with my parents.