Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Last weekend after one of the Masses, a parishioner alerted Fr. Blatchford that they had found a Host, broken, stuck in the pages of a hymnal. They did exactly the right thing! Father was able to take care of the Eucharist appropriately and ensure that any possible particles of the Sacred Host were accounted for. I am grateful to this parishioner and to Father for reverently approaching a difficult, spiritually unsettling situation.
This story should make us all pause. The Eucharist was desecrated in our church. There are accidents, when, for example, someone unintentionally drops a Host. But this appears to have been a far more deliberate act. The Host was broken, stuffed into a hymnal, and left; not handled with care and reverence, but with disrespect. Thank God this sacrilege remained in the walls of the church! It is sadly a reality that Satanists often steal the Eucharist from churches so as to desecrate the Lord’s Body in black masses. At least in this case, we were able to recover the Eucharist and prevent any further profanation. Deliberate profanation of the Blessed Sacrament is a very serious offense against Jesus and we should not take it lightly. All of us have a responsibility to protect the Eucharist and to treat what is sacred with utmost reverence and care. This responsibility falls first on priests who administer the sacraments, but it extends to all who receive these gifts of God’s grace.
While the ways in which the Church approves of receiving Holy Communion are both perfectly valid and legitimate – receiving on the tongue or in the hand – the simple fact is that reception of Communion in the hand is responsible for many accidental incidents of profanation, and almost entirely responsible for deliberate acts. In the past, I have encouraged reception of Communion on the tongue, and I reiterate that encouragement now. I do this, not to place a burden or force anyone to do something, but rather as genuine encouragement. Receiving Communion on the tongue reduces the chance of the Eucharist being desecrated and puts the onus on the priest, rather than the communicant, to ensure care. I understand that some would be uncomfortable with this practice in the current pandemic, and so I ought to make clear that it is entirely permissible to receive in the hand. To hopefully assuage concerns, I will point out that a priest giving Communion almost unavoidably makes contact with the hands of those who receive, while almost never making contact with the tongues of those who receive on the tongue. And in the year-plus since this pandemic started, absolutely no cases of the virus have been traced to attendance at Mass or the reception of Holy Communion in Fairfield County. No matter how you receive Communion, remember that we all share in a great responsibility to safeguard the Eucharist and to reverence the sacramental presence of Jesus who entrusts Himself to our care.
Finally, whenever a desecration of the Eucharist takes place, it is appropriate that prayers of reparation be offered. I encourage you to pray this prayer today and perhaps to make it part of your regular practice, in reparation for the blasphemies against the Blessed Sacrament that take place.
Act of Reparation to the Blessed Sacrament
With that most profound respect which divine Faith inspires, O my God and Saviour Jesus Christ, true God and true man, I adore Thee, and with my whole heart I love Thee, hidden in the most august Sacrament of the Altar, in reparation of all the irreverences, profanations, and sacrileges, that I, to my shame, may have until now committed, as also for all those that have been committed against Thee, or that may be ever committed for the time to come. I offer to Thee, therefore, O my God, my humble adoration, not indeed, such as Thou art worthy of, nor such as I owe Thee, but such, at least, as I am capable of offerings; and I wish that I could love Thee with the most perfect love of which rational creatures are capable. In the meantime, I desire to adore Thee now and always, not only for those Catholics who do not adore or love Thee, but also so supply the defect, and for the conversion of all heretics, schismatics, libertines, atheists, blasphemers, sorcerers, unbaptized, and idolaters. Ah! yes, my Jesus, mayest Thou be known, adored, and loved by all and may thanks be continually given to Thee in the most holy and august Sacrament!