Leaving the General Introduction of this document aside, we turn to sections 13 through 25 for a brief look at the rites of receiving Communion outside of Mass. Sections 26 through 53 detail Communion to the sick and other circumstances outside of Mass. Ministry to the sick we’ll cover later this year in 1983’s Pastoral Care of the Sick. Also covered then will be Viaticum, which receives treatment in this document, sections 54 through 78.
The usual reason for Communion outside of Mass is to serve sick believers unable to attend Mass. There are other reasons for missing Mass, and the HCWEOM covers rites for those.
What we will cover in depth in HCWEOM is the introduction to Eucharistic Worship outside of Mass (79-111) and the various rituals, prayers, rubrics, and options in the sections that follow. That seems to be of interest in some circles online, especially traditionalist-leaning ones. Cultivating your own awareness of the rubrics and rituals is worthwhile for any aspiring liturgist or parishioner active in that regard.
Enough yapping. Here are sections 13-15, the beginning of the introduction to Holy Communion Outside Mass. Together, they are headed by this title: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN COMMUNION OUTSIDE MASS AND THE SACRIFICE:
13. Sacramental communion received during Mass is the more perfect participation in the eucharistic celebration. The eucharistic sign is expressed more clearly when the faithful receive the body of the Lord from the same sacrifice after the communion of the priest.(Sacrosanctum Concilium 55) Therefore, recently baked bread, for the communion of the faithful, should ordinarily be consecrated in every eucharistic celebration.
Receiving Communion at Mass: this is the “more perfect” scenario for the faithful. Note the “clarity of the sign” of people receiving what is consecrated at the Mass at which they participate. This is one of the chief bugaboos of the progressive liturgist: when parishes do not take care with planning.
14. The faithful should be encouraged to receive communion during the eucharistic celebration itself.
Priests, however, are not to refuse to give communion to the faithful who ask for it even outside Mass. In fact it is proper that those who are prevented from being present at the community’s celebration should be refreshed with the Eucharist. In this way they may realize that they are united not only with the Lord’s sacrifice but also with the community itself and are supported by the love of their brothers and sisters.
Any Catholic who cannot attend Mass should ask for Communion and be given it by the priest. A significant subset of this group would be the sick, first mentioned here:
Pastors should see that an opportunity to receive the Eucharist is given to the sick and aged, even though not gravely sick or in imminent danger of death, frequently and, if possible, daily, especially during the Easter season.
Note the priority of daily Communion during the Easter season. How many parishes do this? In my small parish, daily Communion was a priority for those in hospice care. We didn’t provide daily Easter Communion, or even really, a stepping up to more frequent Communion.
It is lawful to minister communion under the appearance of wine to those who cannot receive the consecrated bread. (Eucharisticum Mysterium 40-41)
Sensibly Roman approach. It presumes planning, and the close proximity in time of Mass and the celebration of Communion to the sick.
15. The faithful should be instructed carefully that, even when they receive communion outside Mass, they are closely united with the sacrifice that perpetuates the sacrifice of the cross. They are sharers in the sacred banquet in which “through the Commuinion of the Body and blood of the Lord, the people of God share the benefits of the paschal sacrifice, renew the new covenant made once and for all by God in Christ’s blood, and in faith and hope foreshadow and anticipate the eschatological banquet in the Father’s kingdom, as they proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” (Eucharisticum Mysterium 3)
Any comments on any of the above?