With the good news that daily Masses can resume in the Diocese of Brooklyn, albeit with a limited 25 percent capacity, on Monday, June 29, and for Sunday Mass, on the weekend of July 4-5, there
is much for us to be grateful for at this juncture.
The good momentum that occurred when the Diocese entered phase one and opened churches for private prayer must continue. Above all else, we are required in this time period to exhibit a spirit of patience and understanding.
Things might be a slight bit different from what we are used to when we come back for Holy Masses in our parishes The liturgy might look a bit simplified.
Perhaps certain ministries like altar servers won’t be present at first. Congregation singing might be curtailed a bit with only a socially distant cantor and organist present for Sunday liturgies
We might have to get used to, for now, Holy Communion being distributed only under the form of the Consecrated Host, and that’s ok. Remember, the Church teaches the doctrine of concomitance — that when one receives Holy Communion under the form of the Consecrated Host, we receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and that when one receives Holy Communion under the form of the Precious Blood in the Chalice, we receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The U.S. Bishops’ Conference’s document “Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the USA” reminds us: “Even in the earliest days of the Church’s life, when Communion under both species was the norm, there were always instances when the Eucharist was received under only the form of bread or wine … Thus, the Church has always taught the doctrine of concomitance, by which we know that under each species alone, the whole Christ is sacramentally present and we receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace.”
We might have to remember to not offer the sign of peace by a handshake or a hug during this time period. A simple “peace be with you” is sufficient (and priests should recall the rubric in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal #154: “Then the Priest, with hands extended, says aloud the prayer Domine Iesu Christe, qui dixisti (Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles) and when it is concluded, extending and then joining his hands, he announces the greeting of peace, facing the people and saying, ‘The peace of the Lord be with you always.’ The people reply, ‘And with your spirit.’ After this, if appropriate, the Priest adds, Let us offer each other the sign of peace.”
And we will be encouraged to receive Holy Communion on the hand, with the priest or minister of Holy Communion sanitizing his or her hands before distribution (after trying to avoid contact with the hands of the communicant). This, of course, will be done reverently. Should one wish to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, it is kindly asked if those parishioners would come forward at the end of the line.
Yes, it is a blessing that we are soon open again. Certainly, there will be some changes and it will require patience, but we are there for the right reason — to gather to praise God in spirit and truth, to be fed by the Sacraments, and taught.