Skip to comments.Phoenix Diocese to adopt new norms for Holy Communion [Catholic Caucus]
Posted on 09/23/2011 5:06:09 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler
By J.D. Long-García | Sept. 23, 2011 | The Catholic Sun
Plans are underway in the Diocese of Phoenix to implement new local norms for the distribution of Holy Communion that will bring the local Church in line with universal Church guidelines.
As a result, the Precious Blood will not be offered at every Sunday Mass, but instead be reserved for special occasions, left to the determination of each parish pastor.
The change will bring local Catholic celebration of the Eucharist into union with the practice of the faithful around the world. Receiving Communion under both kinds is uncommon in most countries.
"What many people don't realize is that we've had experimental privileges," said Fr. Kieran Kleczewski, executive director of the Office of Worship. "We're now under the same norms as the Church in the rest of the world."
For Catholics in the United States it will seem like a restriction, he said, but it's an expansion for the rest of the world.
Related: Questions and Answers: Norms for Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Forms (Updated Sept. 23, 2011)
The new norms come from the revised General Instruction of the Roman Missal, third edition, as well as the final edition of The Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds for the Dioceses of the United States of America.
Communion under both kinds should be offered on the occasions in which both kinds further the sign of unity or are clearly a fuller expression of Christ's presence, Fr. Kleczewski said. The Church teaches that Christ body, blood, soul and divinity is present fully in the bread form. He is also fully present in the wine form.
"It's offered to a bride and groom at their wedding. Why? Because it's a beautiful sign of Christian unity in the sacrament of marriage," he said. "That's why you would offer them the chalice as well as the host."
The same goes for offering both kinds on retreat, where offering both kinds recognizes a great unity among participants.
"If the majority of people receiving Communion do not receive from the chalice, then you shouldn't be offering the chalice," Fr. Kleczewski said.
In his church, St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Avondale, the first four or five pews receive from the chalice. But few others do.
"That's destroying the sign of unity that this is supposed to be," Fr. Kleczewski said.
The Church gave the United States, the United Kingdom and Oceana experimental permission to offer the cup to the faithful. The Second Vatican Council called for this to find occasions when the cup could be offered to the laity it had not been offered to the lay faithful for hundreds of years.
The 1975 missal the one currently used allows for 14 times when the cup can be offered to the laity. In poor countries, Fr. Kleczewski said, churches don't have the resources to offer the chalice to the laity every time they celebrate Mass.
"The universal Church is what is considered in making universal norms," he said.
So the experiment didn't work?
"Yes, it did," Fr. Kleczewski said. The experiment will lead to broader use of both kinds of Communion throughout the world with the new Roman Missal. John Paul II promulgated the new Roman Missal in 2000, and now translated it's set to be promulgated in the United States this November.
"If you read those early documents from the council, it was never envisioned that every time we have Mass the chalice would be offered to the lay faithful," Fr. Kleczewski said.
The new norms give to the local bishop latitude in application. In the Diocese of Phoenix, the norms provide for the distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds for special feast days and other important occasions like the Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday, the Feast of Corpus Christi, retreats, spiritual gatherings, and weddings.
The universal norms for the Church say that the extraordinary ordinary ministers of the Eucharist shall not overshadowed the ordinary ministers of the Eucharist priests and deacons.
The 2011 norms, which Fr. Kleczewski said he received in June, incorporated:
As far as the implementation of the new norms, that's still to be decided. Fr. Kleczewski expects there will be either a start date or an end date for implementation.
Some priests, like Fr. John Ehrich at St. Thomas the Apostle, implemented the new norms years ago. Fr. Kleczewski discontinued the use of the cup at daily Mass earlier this year.
Thanks for the post, Jeff. I learned a lot.
well, that should cut down on their liquor bills....
I wish we had your bishop.