It is interesting to note that not one Saint, Pope, or major document, referencing Spiritual Communion says that it is necessary to approach The Priest distributing Holy Communion, or even be in a Church to make an Act of Spiritual Communion.
The rubrics on receiving Holy Communion are clear: people receive on the tongue or in the hand, either standing or kneeling. To receive Holy Communion in either manner is difficult if you are carrying a young child (often they try to grab the Eucharist), and if they are walking with you to Holy Communion they may distract you or others, as they run or pull away.
Joining The Procession to Holy Communion is not a way “of joining in the Holy Mass”, or being “made to feel you belong”. The welcome begins when greeted by the priest, in the name of Jesus/in persona Christi, at the start of Holy Mass, Praying, Listening to The Word of God, The Prayers of The Faithful, singing, standing, kneeling are all acts of participation in The Holy Mass.
Priests should preach, and teach, about these things often, and not go to an easy nonsensical option, which undermines the fact of who invites us to Holy Mass, that it is an Act of God, a perfect re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary, The work of the Holy Spirit, and the whole body of Christ, the Church, and where Heaven and earth meet.
The text below on the Holy Mass was edited afresh on 28th February 2023:
THE HOLY MASS, a leaflet published by the Diocese for Lent. Many of you have already read it, and others know our Bishop mentioned it in his Pastoral Letter of Sunday last
For easy reference we attach The Pastoral Letter:
You might note The Bidding Prayers/ Prayers of the Faithful have a specific directives attached to them. The priest prays at the beginning, and end. The Deacon or The Lector invites people to pray for the specific intention (and they should always have a Universal Character, and are not prayers in themselves, and are not addressed to God.). The Prayers are offered after the announcement, in the required pause before THE PRIEST says “Lord Hear Us”, or similar, with the usual response. The prayer for The Deceased should follow the same pattern as all the others, and not include traditional Catholic prayers. Only in England, as The Dowry of Mary, do we say “Hail Mary” (and no other Marion Prayer should be substituted.) There should not then be any form of a Litany of the Saints. (School Masses, especially Primary School Masses, are the ideal place to introduce, or reintroduce, the manner of celebrating Holy Mass according to The Roman Missal without local, erroneous, adaptations. Even trained Liturgists seem to ignore rubrics, and the mind of The Church.)
Some of you have contrasted what it says on the leaflet with what our Parish, and many others, and many Dioceses throughout the world say, about especially in the U.S.A. , say about Spiritual Communion.
We would encourage you to recognise The Procession to Holy Communion, is a heightened spiritual moment when those in the procession, who are asked/encouraged, to sing in praise of The Lord, as they go to meet him, and receive him in The Eucharist.
We would encourage you to recognise The Procession to Holy Communion, is a heightened spiritual moment when those in the procession, who are asked/encouraged, to sing in praise of The Lord, as they go to meet him, and receive him in The Eucharist. The Hymn should begin once the Priest has received Holy Communion, and continues whilst people process to meet The Lord, and express Communion with Christ and his Church in receiving him in the Eucharist.
Anyone who has children, or has observed people with children at Holy Mass, will know it is very difficult to process with young children to Holy Communion, and it can be a distraction for them and others, as children seek to wander, or resist the direction of travel, and many, when possible, leave the child with someone who is not going to Holy Communion, or who went to Holy Communion First. And for example, in a Catholic School, where significant numbers, and sometimes the majority by far, are not Catholic, or whole years or have not received Holy Communion before, giving blessings totally distorts the meaning of the procession and the action taking place: A Procession to Holy Communion. An act which should reflect the person is in a suitable spiritual state to receive Holy Communion, and is in Communion with the Catholic Church.
LET US PROMOTE GENUINE PARTICIPATION IN THE LITURGY: “Active participation certainly means that, in gesture, word, song and service, all the members of the community take part in an act of worship, which is anything but inert or passive.” Pope Saint John Paul ll October 9th 1998 Clearly, it does not include a blessing during Holy Communion, and this within minutes of the only proper liturgical blessing to be given during Holy Mass.
At the beginning of Covid, when our Churches closed, The Bishops rightly promoted “Spiritual Communion” which, in Church should be done from your place in Church, but can be done from anywhere throughout the world away from Church, and multiple times a day.
The quote below is from “Adoremus”, February 15th 2009, and you should note what Pope St John Paul ll wrote, and what in general it says about children, and those unable to receive Holy Communion by reason of their spiritual state in to relation God, to being in Communion with the Church, and not being in a state of mortal sin. Walking up in the procession to Holy Communion, and not receiving Holy Communion, may lead others into sinful speculation as to why an adult doesn’t receive Holy Communion. Common-sense and love suggests they should not be encouraged to open themselves up to sinful gossip. (Such speculation on the part of others would always be wrong. ) Making a “Spiritual Communion”, in your seat/bench exposes no-one, and will not lead others into sin. We are advised to avoid doing anything that might cause scandal to others, who may have some knowledge of personal situation, anyway. (Cf 1 Corinthians 13 which speaks of food, but says essentially avoid actions in the presence of others who may judge you on very limited knowledge of your thinking/reasoning.
“Two men wrote to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) asking about this practice. Their query asked if there are “particular guidelines or restrictions” concerning the practice of a minister or extraordinary minister giving the person a blessing.
The response from the CDW was in the form of a letter (Protocol No. 930/08/L), dated November 22, 2008, signed by Father Anthony Ward, SM, Under-secretary of the Congregation.
The letter said that “this matter is presently under the attentive study of the Congregation”, so “for the present, this dicastery wishes to limit itself to the following observations”:
1. The liturgical blessing of the Holy Mass is properly given to each and to all at the conclusion of the Mass, just a few moments subsequent to the distribution of Holy Communion.
2. Lay people, within the context of Holy Mass, are unable to confer blessings. These blessings, rather, are the competence of the priest (cf. Ecclesia de Mysterio, Notitiae 34 (15 Aug. 1997), art. 6, § 2; Canon 1169, § 2; and Roman Ritual De Benedictionibus (1985), n. 18).
3. Furthermore, the laying on of a hand or hands — which has its own sacramental significance, inappropriate here — by those distributing Holy Communion, in substitution for its reception, is to be explicitly discouraged.
4. The Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio n. 84, “forbids any pastor, for whatever reason to pretext even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry”. To be feared is that any form of blessing in substitution for communion would give the impression that the divorced and remarried have been returned, in some sense, to the status of Catholics in good standing.
5. In a similar way, for others who are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in accord with the norm of law, the Church’s discipline has already made clear that they should not approach Holy Communion nor receive a blessing. This would include non-Catholics and those envisaged in can. 915 (i.e., those under the penalty of excommunication or interdict, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin).
The Congregation’s clarification that extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (always laity), cannot give sacramental blessings within Mass is very helpful; and could be especially useful to pastors in parishes where inappropriate blessings during Communion have become common.
Although the CDW letter did not mention young children, we often see little children who have not yet received first Holy Communion accompanying their parents in the Communion line, with their arms crossed over their chests — both as a signal to the minister that they are not receiving Communion, and as an expression of the child’s reverence for the Blessed Sacrament.
This reverent gesture of a young child is laudable and appropriate. But sometimes a minister (or extraordinary minister) interprets the child’s gesture as an implicit request for a special blessing as a sort of “substitute” for Communion. While the intention of blessing the child may be good, it should be made clear to all that the priest’s blessing at the conclusion of Mass includes everyone, and that there should not be separate blessings for any person during the Communion rite.”
THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION 2023:
N..B. IMPORTANT CHANGES TO THE REGISTRATION PROGROGRAMME FOR 2023:
We have, after consultation, decided the Programme is open to Year 6 and above, and the date for applications is extended to Sunday 5th March 2023.
Parishioners, who worship in either Church, should note it is a Parish Programme, and not centred on one Church, and there will be only one Confirmation Ceremony.
THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION 2023: Young people currently in Year 6 and above are invited to enrol for a course of preparation to receive The Sacrament of Confirmation later in 2023.
Enrolment Forms can be collected from either of our two churches. They need to be returned by The Second Sunday of Lent 5th March. We wish to state that our working assumption must be that those who apply will commit themselves to attending Sunday Mass throughout the period of preparation and beyond.
We ask to commit yourself to this exciting journey with Christ, and your Parish, We ask your fellow Parishioners to pray for you, and you to pray for them.
Anyone wishes to be Confirmed must take part in the whole course.
The Final Blessing at Holy Mass:
An article by an anonymous author, on the advisability or desirability of blessings during Holy Communion, (published with permission):
SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION (CONFESSION):
5.15 – 5.45pm in Brigg)
8.30 -8.50 am in Barton.
It remains possible, , and it has always been so, to celebrate the Sacrament,
at other times, by making an appointment with the Priest.
We can happily say, that since July 2020 people in both Parishes have
celebrated, on request, in covid safe conditions, and significant numbers did
so. However, so as to facilitate both a “Private” (anonymous) ,
and a “Face to Face” meeting, during the published times, they will be held
in “The Day Chapel” (AKA The Sacristy) in Brigg, and The Parish
Room in Barton during the published times. The individual can choose
whether to kneel behind a Screen, or face to face. Ideally people will arrive
as early as possible during the session, and no-one will approach the priest
after 8.45 am (in Barton) and 5.40 pm in Brigg, as it is necessary for the
priest to prepare for Mass. If needs be, Confessions will continue after the
relevant Mass. (Please the lnote about The Sacrament in its fullness, under
“The Sacrament Tab on the Menu above.)
In 2015, CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP AND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SACRAMENTS
on “Rediscovering the Rite of Penance”, and it states clearly
the Priest should offer counsel, more especially if they know the penitent and
understands some of their situation and some of their needs. We read: “It is
not simply a question of the penitent speaking out a list of sins as if into
the air or to no one. One confesses to the priest. The priest, for his part, is
instructed to engage in a careful interaction with the one confessing: If
necessary, the priest helps the penitent to make an integral confession and
gives him suitable counsel. This back and forth between penitent and priest is
nothing less than the ritual form that enacts the penitent’s encounter with
Christ himself in the person of the priest. For this reason the priest is
instructed to help the penitent to understand the deepest meaning of this
encounter. He [the priest] urges him [the penitent] to be sorry for his faults,
reminding him that through the Sacrament of penance the Christian dies and
rises with Christ and is thus renewed in the paschal mystery (RP 44). This
is an essential theological point for understanding the Sacrament rightly.
All that happens in this Sacrament is rooted in the Paschal Mystery. The
penitent is renewed in the original pattern of his baptism, where one dies with
Christ to sin and rises with him to new life.” The proper celebration of the
Sacrament requires we acknowledge where we have failed God, and wronged others,
whether in person or online. We serve Christ in serving others. Therefore, it
is also true we reject Christ in hurting others.As noted, the priest is
free to give spiritual counsel, more so if he knows the penitent, as he feels
appropriate. That “Counsel” is part of The Sacrament, and not an interruption,
or a delay, in The Sacramental Celebration. It invites listening and
This is a link from The Diocese of Lancaster Website on The Sacrament:
The Sacrament of Reconciliation
A REFLECTION ON INFANT BAPTISM:
Jesus by his baptism consecrated the Waters of Baptism for all, and St Paul says when were baptised we entered into the tomb with Jesus and were raised to new life.
The Vatican “Instruction on Infant Baptism” offers clear directives:
1) Baptism, which is necessary for salvation, is the sign and the means of God’s prevenient love, which frees us from original sin and communicates to us a share in divine life. Considered in itself, the gift of these blessings to infants must not be delayed.
2) Assurances must be given that the gift thus granted can grow by an authentic education in the faith and Christian life, in order to fulfill the true meaning of the sacrament. As a rule, these assurances are to be given by the parents or close relatives, although various substitutions are possible within the Christian community. But if these assurances are not really serious there can be grounds for delaying the sacrament; and if they are certainly non-existent the sacrament should even be refused…………
As is clearly indicated in the Ritual, the parish community, especially the group of Christians that constitute the family’s human environment, should play a part in the pastoral practice regarding Baptism. “Christian instruction and the preparation for Baptism are a vital concern of God’s people, the Church, which hands on and nourishes the faith it has received from the Apostles.” This active participation by the Christian people, which has already come into use in the case of adults, is also required for the Baptism of infants, in which “the People of God, that is the Church, made present in the local community, has an important part to play.” In addition, the community itself will as a rule draw great profit, both spiritual and apostolic, from the Baptism ceremony. Finally, the community’s work will continue, after the liturgical celebration, through the contribution of the adults to the education of the young in faith, both by the witness of their own Christian lives and by their participation in various catechetical activities.”
During the Mass for the Catholic feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which commemorates Jesus’ own baptism in the Jordan River, Francis administered the sacrament on 32 infants, 15 of whom were girls and 17 were boys.
In his homily, he told parents that ‘to baptize a child is an act of justice,” because through baptism “we give them a treasure, in baptism we give them a pledge: The Holy Spirit. The child leaves with the strength of the Holy Spirit inside, the Spirit which will defend them, help them, throughout their whole lives.'”
We are putting place a Team to offer Baptism Preparation, as a joint enterprise, in both of our Parishes. It is a work in progress.
No one has been refused a Baptism during the pandemic but they have made aware of the limitations in celebrating Baptisms during a pandemic. Patience and a bit of common sense are needed by all, especially those who are, it seems, confident of their knowledge and experience, as we seek to move forward. It is good to deal in realities and the facts of the situation before counselling others on actions to take. No educated committed Catholic would advise new parents to sidestep Church teaching and practice to “get it done quick” by scouring the country to find a priest who does Baptism on demand! The pandemic has delayed many Baptisms and it difficult to provide Instruction and Preparation. Further, few wanted baptism ceremonies where family and friends could not be present.
The Church refers to the family as “The Domestic Church”, but, as are individuals, families are part of the Body of Christ, The Universal Church, and Parishes and Parish Churches are an essential part of the life and dynamic of the living Church. The Church and its Altar, should be at the centre of the parish and that is where we celebrate and receive The Eucharist “the source and summit of our salvation” and are fed in Word and Sacrament. It is, at it were, another cornerstone of the Church. It is also the primary instrument of Evangelisation, but for all of the Church, Jesus is the Foundation Stone and is the only mediator between humanity and his Father and ours.
We have a duty to welcome and encourage local, young, families to accept the embrace of their local parish, to ensure its continued work and presence, and so that the new families will enrich the community that welcomes them. To do anything else is clearly wrong.
THE SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE.
A DIOCESAN STATEMENT ON MARRIAGE – usually read and/or published twice a year:
Preparation for First Holy Communion (and the programme normally incorporates The Sacrament of Confession or Reconciliation is a Parish based programme, and it will normally be offered to children in year 3 or above. As each Course is launched details will be published in the Parish Bulletin. As with Baptism, any Parent seeking to have their child admitted to The Course would ensure they they, and the child, are attending/celebrating Holy Mass in Church each Sunday and Holyday.