PASTORAL LETTER OF THE BISHOP OF ROCKVILLE CENTRE TO
THE PRIESTS OF THE DIOCESE REGARDING THE PROPER
CELEBRATION OF THE EUCHARIST AND THE DISTRIBUTION OF
I first read about this in Newsday on Friday (Grrrrr....can't a blogger in this Diocese get a sneak peak once in awhile?). The pastoral letter essentially eliminates weekday communion services. St. Blog's has had some interesting reactions - most have been positive. The interesting thing is that I read about this letter in the Newsday article and then on several Catholic blogs, but only now when I read the actual letter did I realize it referred to weekday communion services held in place of Mass. Basically, Bishop Murphy's point boils down to:
"The reception of Holy Communion is never just passively “getting” or “receiving” Holy Communion. Instead, the reception of Holy Communion is the culmination of participating in the celebration (offering of the sacrifice). There is an inherent interconnection between sacrifice, Real Presence, and Communion. We should never sever the connection between receiving the Sacrament and celebrating the sacrifice; the
two go hand-in-hand. Receiving the Sacrament is the culmination of participating in the sacrifice. In this sense, “receiving it” is a reciprocal reality: we receive Christ and in so doing, Christ receives us and presents us to the Father in the Spirit."
"In the popular mind, all too often the purpose of Mass is still seen as an action simply to consecrate hosts; some people think their participation in the Eucharistic Prayer is all about watching the priest and then receiving Holy Communion. They do not understand the need to offer themselves with Christ to the Father in the Spirit during the Prayer, nor
do they understand that their parts in the Prayer (Introductory Dialogue, Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation and Great Amen) are the outward signs of their participation in the entire Prayer."
"In light of this clear instruction, after having heard the advice and counsel of the Advisory Committee on Canonical Affairs and brought this matter to the Diocesan Presbyteral Council for their discussion, counsel and advice, I, as Bishop, am declaring that no weekday Celebrations of the Word with the distribution of Holy Communion will be allowed in this Diocese thereby bringing our Diocese into conformity with the liturgical norms of the Church."
Bishop Murphy then encourages the Liturgy of the Word in parishes where daily Mass is not able to be offered due to lack of a priest. He also encourages parishes without daily Mass to publish the daily Masses offered in surrounding parishes. Both of these are very welcome suggestions. I have always thought of the Liturgy of the Hours as one of our best kept secrets.