HCWEOM 19-20: Regulations

… for giving Communion covers the next four sections. It’s a bit long, so let’s take it in two gulps, okay?

19. When communion is given in a church or oratory, a corporal is to be placed on the altar, which is already covered with a cloth. (GIRM 269) A communion plate is to be used.


When communion is given in other places, a suitable table is to be prepared and covered with a cloth; candles are also to be provided.


Sometimes candles are not possible to use due to regulations of some care facilities and other locations. As a liturgist, I fuss about using unlit candles or adding symbolic representations of burning candles. An alternate symbol of Christ seems preferred, especially a cross or crucifix.


Obviously, a Communion service should always have candles whenever possible.


20. The minister of communion, if he is a priest or deacon, is to be vested in an alb, or a surplice over a cassock, and a stole.


I read this as alb-and-stole or choir dress-and-stole, right? With a preference for the alb.


Other ministers should wear either the liturgical vesture which may be traditional in their region or the vestment which is appropriate for this ministry and has been approved by the Ordinary.


In my experience, lay people do not wear vesture for this. I’m assuming bishops approve of street clothing unless it’s stated otherwise.


The eucharist for communion outside a church is to be carried in a pyx or other covered vessel; the vesture of the minister and the manner of carrying the eucharist should be appropriate and in accord with local circumstances.


Note the preference for a covered vessel. I’ve known people who will bring Communion wrapped in a purificator. Nice sentiment for using the church-related item, but the Church has always had a pragmatic concern for safety and reverence. Our parish keeps about twenty pyxes on hand for our ministers.


Anything thought-provoking in this?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in HCWEOM, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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