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Holy Family Catholic Church at 9800 Baymeadows Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32256 US - Reception of Holy Communion

Reception of Holy Communion


On this feast of Corpus Christi, which directs our attention to the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, we thought it would be helpful to remind everyone of the proper reception of Holy Communion.
Before coming to Mass, we should examine our consciences. If we are conscious of mortal sin, we must go to sacramental confession before receiving Communion. This includes those times when we have missed Mass on a Sunday or holy day of obligation through our own fault. (If you miss Mass due to illness or injury, you are excused.) To receive Holy Communion we must be in communion with God and the Church.
Before going to church we should also consider whether we are dressed in a manner appropriate for meeting our Lord. The Eucharist is the foretaste of the heavenly wedding banquet – dress as if you were attending a formal occasion!
We should also prepare ourselves spiritually by remembering what a great gift the Eucharist is, and by spending time in prayer before Mass. This includes considering which petitions we wish to offer at Mass, and what we are thankful to God for (after all, Eucharist means “Thanksgiving”). This is why it’s important to maintain a reverent silence in the main body of the church before Mass begins.
We should actively participate in the Mass. To receive Communion worthily, we need to hear the Word of God and join ourselves to the sacrifice of Christ, which the Mass commemorates, offering our lives to God for the sake of our brothers and sisters. While we should always try to be at Mass from the beginning, if you arrive after the proclamation of the Gospel, you probably should not receive Communion that day.
The Eucharistic Prayer – which includes the Consecration – is the high point of the Mass. If you must leave the church during this sacred moment, please do not return to your seat until the conclusion of the prayer.

During the Communion procession, recollect yourself, focusing on the gift you are about to receive. Folding your hands as you approach can help maintain a reverent spirit.
As you approach the minister, bow your head reverently as a sign of devotion to the Lord’s Presence in the Eucharist.
You may receive the Host on either the hand or the tongue. Please make it clear to the minister which way you are receiving.
If you receive on the hand, hold your hands up, one on top of the other, making a throne to receive your Lord and King. After the minister says, “The Body of Christ,” please respond clearly, “Amen.” Allow the minister to place the Host in your hand; don’t grab it, start walking away, or do anything else which might cause the Host to drop. It’s a gift – receive it with devotion. After you have received the Host, step to the side to allow the next communicant to come forward; then reverently consume the host.
If you are unable to receive using both hands (e.g., if you have a babe in arms, or are holding something in one or both hands), please receive on the tongue. It can be very irreverent otherwise.
If you receive on the tongue, say “Amen” first, then extend your tongue out of your mouth. Please do not move until the minister has placed the Host securely on your tongue.
If you receive from the cup, again bow your head as you approach the minister, say “Amen” clearly, and take the cup with both hands, being careful not to spill any of the Precious Blood.
Christ is fully present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, under both species, in the smallest fragment of a Host, and in the smallest drop of the Precious Blood. That is why we take such great care of it, but it is also why it’s acceptable to receive under only one species.
If you are unable to receive Communion, you are still welcome to come forward in the procession. Simply cross your arms over your chest to receive a blessing from the minister.
The Communion hymn allows us to join our voices as a sign of our unity in Christ that we experience through Holy Communion. There will be time for silent prayer after the hymn.
Please remain kneeling until the Blessed Sacrament has been returned to the tabernacle.
The Mass does not conclude until the final blessing and dismissal. If for some reason you must leave early, please use the main church doors in the Narthex. Leaving through the side doors disturbs the prayer of others and causes distraction to everyone in the church.
Finally, spend some time thanking the Host of this great banquet. Savor this special time in the Lord’s presence and consider how in the coming week you might respond to God’s gift of salvation in your life.
May you truly experience the power of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, today and always.


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