Solemnity of Ss. Peter and Paul

June 28, 2014 Column Father De Celles

Celebrating Liberty. I wish everyone a happy Fourth of July this Friday. What a wonderful day: the anniversary of the formation of our great nation, “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that ‘all men are created equal,’” with a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Sadly, in recent years some of our leaders have forgotten some of this, particularly as they try to diminish our God-given and constitutionally guaranteed religious liberty and freedom of speech in favor of their newly invented liberties, especially sexual liberty. And more and more the politically powerful use the government established “of…by…[and] for the people” as a tool to coerce “the people” to bend to their will.


And so, in union with Catholics all across America we continue this week to observe a Fortnight for Freedom to pray for our beloved country. Every evening this week we will have Holy Hours in the church (see the schedule below). Also please join us at the 10 am Mass on Friday, the 4th of July. Additionally, remember to keep the Fortnight at home by praying the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” daily, praying the Rosary daily, offering special penances/sacrifices, and/or praying the Novena to St. Thomas More. God bless you for your efforts, and God bless America.


Last Sunday’s Corpus Christi Procession. The Lord must love Eucharistic processions, because he gave us such a beautiful afternoon last Sunday to have ours—the prior week’s heat gave way and the morning rain and cloudy skies disappeared, as His sun shone down on the 300 or so folks who joined us. Thanks to all who came out, and especially to those who helped organize things: the parish staff, the choir, the altar boys, the sacristans, the flower ladies, the First Communicants, the Knights of Columbus, and so many others—forgive me for not naming you all. Thanks particularly to Patrick O’Brien, the overall coordinator. If you missed the procession, mark your calendars to join us next year.


How to Receive Communion. Over the last few months several people have asked me what I thought was the “proper” or “best” way to receive Holy Communion—specifically, should they receive in the hand or on the tongue. Coming off the Feast of Corpus Christi allow me to make few brief observations in this regard.


For the first few centuries of the Church receiving Communion in the hand was a common practice. But as time passed it became the practice to receive Communion directly on the tongue in order to assure that the Host was received reverently. This was the law of the Church for almost 14 centuries, and is still the general norm today. However, in 1969 Pope Paul VI allowed an exception: individual bishops can give permission to their people to receive Communion in the hand if it does not lead to any loss of reverence. While most bishops permit Communion in the hand, some, seeing a loss of reverence, are withdrawing that permission and requiring their people to receive only on the tongue. And if you ever watch a Papal Mass you see that folks who receive Communion from Pope Francis must receive on the tongue.


There are many reasons for not receiving on the hand. For example, consider the risk of having particles of the Host—each of which are also truly the Body of Christ—remain on your hand after you receive. Also, it is a fact of human nature that the more you handle an object, no matter how precious it is, the more likely it is that you will take it for granted and forget its value—and this is often the case with the Body of Christ. In this same line, the Host is no ordinary food, and receiving on the tongue—rather than handling it as we do most food—is a dramatic reminder of this.


Because of these and many other reasons, I recommend that all of my parishioners prayerfully consider receiving Communion on the tongue.


However, it is your choice, and there’s nothing illicit or wrong about receiving in the hand—there are many very good reasons for doing so. I am in no way reprimanding those who exercise this option, and I respect your choice.


But if you do take Communion in the hand, ask yourself: do I do it in a way that expresses and protects my belief in the Real Presence? For example, do I follow the ancient custom for reverent reception of Communion in the hand? That is: Receive by placing your left hand on top of your right hand as if you were creating a throne to receive your God, keeping your eyes on Christ; and then, stepping to the side carefully take the Host in your right hand and place It in your mouth, being careful to consume any crumbs remaining on your hands. Please remember, the Host must be “consumed at once, so that no one goes away with the Eucharistic species in his hand.” Also, you should not receive in the hand if you are holding something or someone (i.e., a baby) in your hands or arms, which would naturally tend to diminish the attention and care you give to the Host in your hand.


Please prayerfully consider my words, and I will respect your discernment.


Sunday Confessions. It does my heart good to see so many of you at Sunday morning confessions. But please remember that confessions should normally stop once Mass has started, since almost everyone in line has come to church primarily to participate in the Mass (and fulfill their Sunday Mass obligation). Also, remember that Sunday confession times are provided mainly for those who are in particular need or truly cannot attend on other days.


Summer Music. As in prior years the choir is now on hiatus for the rest of the summer (with a few exceptions). I want to thank all the choir members, especially Elisabeth Turco, our Music Director, for all their beautiful and hard work.


Position Open: Parish Secretary. Do you know anyone interested in becoming our parish secretary? The position involves about 30 hours a week, and includes general office work as well as assisting parishioners (at the front desk, via phone and email, etc.), maintaining parish records,  various forms of data entry, preparing correspondence, common secretarial duties, and other tasks to support the priests. The ideal candidate would possess the following attributes: a devout Catholic, trustworthy, able to keep confidences, organized, detail oriented, able to collaborate with others, good people and communication skills, familiarity with various common office software (especially MS Office, and preferably PDS) and hardware, and basic office skills. All applicants must have a minimum of a high school degree and be certifiable under our Child Protection policy. This is an hourly wage position, with benefits including health insurance, paid holidays, vacation and sick leave. Please send resumes to Mary Butler in the parish office or to


Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles