I mentioned that some liturgical changes were on the way. My hope is that our liturgies will become even more reverent and, for lack of a better word, more efficient. Here are some of the more important ones. Please read them carefully, especially if you are an usher, a sacristan, or if you bring communion to the sick. These changes are effective as of this weekend, January 28-29, 2023. Taking communion to the sick is a great service to those who cannot come to Mass and a great honor and responsibility for those who do it. Before doing this ministry for the first time, one should report to the sacristy before Mass so that the priest, deacon, or at least the sacristan can know who you are and give instructions. This is ultimately a ministry delegated by the pastor, who is the chief custodian of the Eucharist in a parish community.
New Procedures for Getting Communion to Take to the Sick
Here are the new procedures (Please note that they are different for Sunday obligation Masses and weekday Masses):
At Sunday Masses
The present policy at Sunday Mass is to place a pyx (the little gold container for the Host) on the altar before Mass. The new policy for all weekend Masses that fulfill Sunday obligation: During the Communion Rite, receive Holy Communion like everyone else and return to your seat. When the priest or deacon begins to combine the remaining hosts at the altar (even if the choir has not yet received communion), come forward to the bottom altar step, holding your pyx open. The priest/deacon will come down with hosts and walk along on the bottom step. When he comes to you, say the number of hosts you need while raising your finger to indicate that number (with music playing it is not always easy to hear). When the priest/deacon has put the correct number of hosts in the pyx, close the pyx and remain still until he has placed hosts into everyone’s pyx. As he returns to go up to the altar, all turn and return to their seats without further ceremony.
At Weekday Masses
Since weekday Masses have fewer people and need to go more quickly, the following procedures should be observed: When you get into line for Communion, please open your pyx and have it ready for the Host(s). When you get to the priest, deacon, or other distributor, please hold out the open pyx, while saying “one”, “two”, or whatever number of Hosts you need. After the Communion minister has placed the Host(s) in the pyx, close it (and put it in your pocket, if convenient), then present your hands to receive Holy Communion.
New Procedures for Collection/Bringing Up the Gifts at Sunday Masses (St. Bart Only)
Because of the size of St. Bartholomew Church, the collection takes a long time. Therefore, I ask that the parishioners who are bringing up the gifts would go to the back of church right after the Creed. They should remain back there until the end of the petitions. Soon after the hymn begins for the offertory/preparation of the gifts, they should walk forward with the bread and the wine, BEFORE THE COLLECTION BEGINS. When they have given the bread and wine to the priest/deacon, they should go back down the middle aisle and return to their seats. After the priest/deacon has taken the bread and wine , the ushers should walk up the first diagonal aisles (so they don’t run into the gift-bearers in the middle aisle), and begin the collection from front to back as before. When the collection is complete, they should seal it in the bag and put it in the basket. Then, one usher should walk up the middle aisle, bow to the altar, walk up and put the collection near the altar, then return to his/her seat without ceremony.