Sunday, 14 July 2013
Father Ignatius' sin
The following Sunday at Mass Father Ignatius was determined to make a stand. He approached the lectern confidently and said:
“As many of you know by now we had an incident here at last Sunday’s Mass. Two youngsters came up front for Communion and instead of placing the Host in their mouth when I put it in their hands, they ran away. In their hurry to escape one of them dropped the Host on the floor. The other Host was also retrieved by Father Donald who had followed the youth out in the park.
“What happened here last Sunday is a sacrilege.
“The Host as you know is not just a wafer, or a biscuit. It is the Body of Christ.
“And I allowed the Body of Christ to be desecrated by handing it out in peoples’ hands. For this grave sin of thoughtlessness I have begged Him for forgiveness.
“I am personally responsible for what happened last Sunday to the Body of Christ and I know that I will be answerable to Him personally one day for my sin."
The priest paused for a while.
“I have decided that from today, Communion will no longer be given in the hand in this church. Not as long as I am here.
“From now on, I would like you please to come forward and genuflect side by side here by the Altar rail. I will then give Communion on the tongue as we used to do previously.
“I’ve discussed this with Father Donald and he agrees and he will be following the same practice too.
“I have also discussed this matter with the Bishop who said that although the decision is ours to make in this parish; he will not be advising other parishes to change their practice.
“If anyone has a problem with this change please have a word with me afterwards or with Father Donald.”
Father Ignatius stopped for few moments to let the message sink in, then continued:
“I think you ought to know that we have identified one of the youngsters who ran away with the Host last Sunday.
“He is a Catholic boy who has in the past attended Mass here and was educated in our local Catholic school.”
The congregation gasped almost in unison. The priest waited for the noise to die down and then went on:
“I also feel responsible for that fact in itself.
“The fact that one of our own children could carry out such a deed proves that we have failed him somehow.
“It is obvious that we failed to teach him, and possibly other children, the true meaning of the Eucharist. As your priest I am guilty of that grave omission.
“I fail to understand how a child who took First Communion in this very church and was educated by us, amongst our own, did not understand the reality of Communion.
“I have discussed this at some length with Mother Superior at St Joseph School and the Headmaster at St Andrew’s. Both will take action to remedy the situation.
“But most of all I would like to plead with you parents. You are the first point of contact with your children, and rightly so. You promised at their Baptism that you will bring them up in the Faith. Please remember this and use every opportunity to teach your young ones the reality that is Christ and His Divinity.
“Teach them by example. Teach them by words. Teach them by praying together daily as a family, and by reading passages from the Bible.
“Father Donald and I are here to help you if you wish.
“The Lord God has given you the gift of children. Your gift to Him is to bring them up in the Faith.”