From the Pastor – March 7, 2009

Last week, I admit I might have thrown a “curve ball” to you – I changed the liturgy without explaining my reasoning: I decided to distribute the Eucharist only under one species during Lent.

Let me tell you the reasons behind my decision. It started on Ash Wednesday, when I was pleasantly surprised by the large crowds that came for Mass and ashes. When I saw the crowds, and realized that everyone would come to the altar twice (one for ashes and once for Communion), I decided that it would be faster if we had 4 stations for ashes and 4 stations for the Body of Christ (rather than two for the Body and two for the Blood, since we only had 3 Eucharistic ministers). After all, most people didn’t anticipate a 90 minute Mass on Ash Wednesday! This “short term” decision led me to reflect that the Lenten liturgies are meant to be more “sparse” and “solemn” (i.e. no Gloria, no Alleluia). So I decided that our Lenten liturgies would be sparser, more solemn and shorter. And one way to accomplish was by distributing the Eucharist only under the species of bread.

But there are other reasons behind my decision. First of all, while receiving Communion under both species is more perfect from the point of view of the sign, it is important to remember the Church’s teachings that Christ is received whole and entire under either species. Thus, one’s Communion is perfectly complete when it is received under the species of bread alone.