The Precious Blood of Jesus Christ
Many parishioners have inquired about when the Precious Blood will be distributed again during Mass. The Archbishop has given permission to begin distributing the Precious Blood at Mass at the end of the April at the discretion of the pastor.
Since the Precious Blood hasn’t been distributed for nearly two years, there have been a handful of discussions about it. I’ve noticed that there needs to be catechesis before we begin this again. People have asked on multiple occasions, “when are we getting the wine back?” There seems to be a lack of recognition that this is the Sacred Blood of Christ of which one drop can redeem the world. Also it is important to discuss concomitance, which means that the whole Christ is present in the Body and the whole Christ is present in the Blood. Therefore if one only receives the Precious Blood, they receive the whole Christ and, likewise, if one only receives the Body of Christ, they receive the whole Christ. No one receives half of Jesus.
The permission to distribute the Precious Blood gives us an opportunity to look at important questions concerning the Blessed Sacrament. I want us to refocus on the whats, the whys, and the hows of the distribution of Holy Communion. With this in mind, I’d like to share some paragraphs from a Vatican document on certain matters pertaining to the Eucharist. The Latin title is Redemptionis Sacramentum (Sacrament of the Redeemer). These paragraphs are numbers 100-102:
So that the fullness of the sign may be made more clearly evident to the faithful in the course of the Eucharistic banquet, lay members of Christ’s faithful, too, are admitted to Communion under both kinds, in the cases set forth in the liturgical books, preceded, and continually accompanied by proper catechesis regarding the dogmatic principles on this matter…
In order for Holy Communion under both kinds to be administered to the lay members of Christ’s faithful, due consideration should be given to the circumstances, as judged first of all by the diocesan Bishop. It is to be completely excluded where even a small danger exists of the sacred species being profaned…
The chalice should not be ministered to lay members of Christ’s faithful where there is such a large number of communicants that it is difficult to gauge the amount of wine for the Eucharist and there is a danger that “more than a reasonable quantity of the Blood of Christ remain to be consumed at the end of the celebration.” The same is true wherever access to the chalice would be difficult to arrange, or where such a large amount of wine would be required that its certain provenance and quality could only be known with difficulty, or where there is not an adequate number of sacred ministers or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion with proper formation, or where a notable part of the people continues to prefer not to approach the chalice for various reasons, so that the sign of unity would in some sense be negated.
There are a couple other paragraphs that describe how Holy Communion can be distributed to the faithful: directly from the chalice, by a tube, by a spoon, or by intinction. Intinction is the practice of dipping the Body of Christ into the Precious Blood and placing it directly on the communicant’s tongue. This can only be done by the priest himself, or a bishop. Also there is another document which states the appropriate times to distribute the Precious Blood (major feast days, Corpus Christi Sunday, etc).
The point of sharing all of this with you is that I want to be very thoughtful about how we move forward. How do we follow the encouragement to distribute the Precious Blood and yet adhere to the cautions that are raised? It isn’t wise to simply put things “back to normal.” We are given an opportunity to prayerfully reflect, “what should normal look like?” May the Lord always sustain us with His Eucharistic Heart!
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson