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Robert wrote:

Dear Mike,

  • Do you have any idea where I can find a document from the Vatican concerning —
    how to receive Holy Communion {either on the hand or on the tongue}?
  • Do you know if such a document exists?

Eucharistically yours,

Robert

  { Where I can find a Vatican document on how to receive Holy Communion? }

Mike replied:

Hi Robert,

The document you are looking for is called:

Allow me to quote from paragraph 9 to 11:

9. Eucharistic Communion. Communion is a gift of the Lord, given to the faithful through the minister appointed for this purpose. It is not permitted that the faithful should themselves pick up the consecrated bread and the sacred chalice, still less that they should hand them from one to another.

10. The faithful, whether religious or lay, who are authorized as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist can distribute Communion only when there is no priest, deacon or acolyte, when the priest is impeded by illness or advanced age, or when the number of the faithful going to Communion is so large as to make the celebration of Mass excessively long. [20] Accordingly, a reprehensible attitude is shown by those priests who, though present at the celebration, refrain from distributing Communion and leave this task to the laity.

11. The Church has always required from the faithful respect and reverence for the Eucharist at the moment of receiving it.

With regard to the manner of going to Communion, the faithful can receive it either kneeling or standing, in accordance with the norms laid down by the episcopal conference: "When the faithful communicate kneeling, no other sign of reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament is required, since kneeling is itself a sign of adoration. When they receive Communion standing, it is strongly recommended that, coming up in procession, they should make a sign of reverence before receiving the Sacrament. This should be done at the right time and place, so that the order of people going to and from Communion is not disrupted."[21]

The Amen said by the faithful when receiving Communion is an act of personal faith in the presence of Christ.

This excellent document came out in April of 1980.

Hope this helps,

Mike Humphrey

Robert replied:

Dear Mike,

Here is something else I found that I wanted to share with you.

Robert


Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

Note Number 41 in this document.

Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America

Distribution of the Body and Blood of the Lord

41. Holy Communion under the form of bread is offered to the communicant with the words "The Body of Christ." The communicant may choose whether to receive the Body of Christ in the hand or on the tongue. When receiving in the hand, the communicant should be guided by the words of St. Cyril of Jerusalem:

"When you approach, take care not to do so with your hand stretched out and your fingers open or apart, but rather place your left hand as a throne beneath your right, as befits one who is about to receive the King. Then receive him, taking care that nothing is lost."

(Cf. General Instruction on the Roman Missal, no. 73, and also nos. 161; 284-287.)


The Reception of Holy Communion at Mass

Note the ninth paragraph down.

Those who receive Communion may receive either in the hand or on the tongue, and the decision should be that of the individual receiving, not of the person distributing Communion. If Communion is received in the hand, the hands should first of all be clean. If one is right handed the left hand should rest upon the right. The host will then be laid in the palm of the left hand and then taken by the right hand to the mouth. If one is left-handed this is reversed. It is not appropriate to reach out with the fingers and take the host from the person distributing.


GIRM: Chapter IV: The Different Forms Of Celebrating Mass

An adaptation will take the place of number 160, paragraph 2:

The faithful are not permitted to take up the consecrated bread or the sacred chalice themselves, and still less, hand them on to one another. The norm for reception of Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States is standing. Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion because they kneel. Rather, such instances should be addressed pastorally, by providing the faithful with proper catechesis on the reasons for this norm.

When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord from the minister. The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand at the discretion of each communicant. When Holy Communion is received under both kinds, the sign of reverence is also made before receiving the Precious Blood.

 

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