Dear Good Shepherd Parishioners,
A great preacher of the early 20th century, Ronald Knox, once wrote concerning the Eucharist and Holy Communion, “…Holy Communion important as it is, awe-inspiring as it is, figures as something secondary in intention to the Mass itself; a gracious corollary, a stupendous after effect, which unites us in a special way with the thing done. For us the immediate, dazzling truth is that here and all over the world Christ, in the person of the priest, is offering Christ under the forms of bread and wine in perfect sacrifice to the eternal Father. If I am worthy, if I am willing, he gives himself to me; but, worthy or no, willing or no, he gives himself for me, as for all mankind, his brothers…”
Participating in the Eucharist by attending Mass and receiving Holy Communion is the greatest thing we could ever do in our life because the Eucharist is the greatest “thing” in the world. It is the greatest “thing” because it really isn’t a “thing” but a person. Not a “what” but a “who.” Out of love for us Our Lord takes the form of a little piece of bread for us so that we can share in the saving events of his sacrifice on the cross.
Because He comes to us in this vulnerable manner, the Church has the responsibility of safeguarding the Eucharist. As pastor, I have a particular duty to ensure the safety of the Blessed Sacrament here at Good Shepherd. Due to this responsibility on my part, as well as on the part of the parish as a whole, new policies will be put in place. The key to the tabernacle will no longer be available for anyone to use to retrieve the Eucharist. The Eucharist will also not be placed into a pyx in the communion line. In order to receive the Eucharist to take to a sick or homebound person, please see me, a deacon, or our acolyte, Gene Mattler, after any Mass.
In addition to the safety of the Eucharist, this new policy will also help us be aware of who is sick or homebound in the parish. We have a list of those who are being taken Holy Communion, but we know there are more that we are not aware of, and we would like to keep track of that as a parish. This practice also allows us to ensure that communion will be taken directly to the sick person and is not left sitting in a car or in the pocket of someone while they run errands. We also will be providing burses, a small leather pouch that is worn around the neck, to anyone who might not have their own, so that the Eucharist can be carried with reverence.
I realize that this will throw off schedules and routines for some who take communion to the sick and homebound. I certainly do not wish this practice to stop and am willing to work with anyone to adjust to this new practice. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns that you have and thank you for helping the parish to fulfill its role as custodian of Our Lord in the Eucharist.