Saturday, 20 May 2006

First Communion Crowd Control

This afternoon I helped with the 'crowd control' for our first batch of parish Holy Communions (I'll be the celebrant next week). It's a time of high emotions, especially with the wet weather and the professional photographer forgetting to turn up. It's also an occasion for the lapsed to return to church - one wonders how many of them we'll see again - and because of this behaviour can be a problem.

The most depressing moment came during the homily as I stood at the back of the church near a side-door that was locked. Suddenly I observed a trickle of liquid flow through the crack. From the accompanying sound, it was obvious that some person was relieving themselves against the church building. I rushed round but was too late to catch the culprit red-handed. There were no children but various adults standing around. Did the person realise that they had committed the sin of sacrilege against a consecrated building?

With this in mind, the good Fr Finigan of Hermeneutic of Continuity has provided some very practical 'rubrics' for use at these occasions, which I will certainly use whenever I can (perhaps adding information about finding the lavatories!). I'm sure he won't mind if I repeat them here:

The children have been working very hard to prepare for this great day. Please help them to receive this Most Holy Sacrament in a spirit of prayer and recollection by preserving the dignity and solemnity of this sacred occasion. In particular, you are kindly asked to observe the following:

Please switch off your mobile phone Do “double check” just before Mass just in case you have forgotten.Please do not talk during the MassThe Church is a “sacred space”. We believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in the tabernacle (that is fundamental to today’s celebration.) Therefore it is not appropriate to talk during the Mass except, if necessary, in a whisper. People sometimes forget this during the collection and during the distribution of Holy Communion.

Please do take extra care to be silent during the whole time that Communion is given out. Please do not take photos or videos during Mass. Because of the large number of people who would like to take photographs, it would spoil the occasion if everyone took photos or videos during the Mass. After Mass, a professional photographer will be on hand and you are welcome to take your own photos inside the Church or outside in the grounds.

Please be reverent at Holy Communion. To receive Holy Communion, you should be a practising Catholic and in a state of grace (living in accord with the Church’s teaching and free from serious sin.)If you are receiving Communion today, please do so with reverence. In particular, you must consume the sacred host before you stand or leave the altar rail.

If you do not come to Mass every Sunday, and have not been to confession in preparation for receiving Communion today, you should not come up to Communion but make a “spiritual communion” instead.

If you are a non-Catholic Christian and communicate in your own Church, you are welcome to come for a blessing. Please indicate this by crossing your arms across your chest.



Blogger FatherTF said...

I'm very glad if those notes are helpful to others/ Fr Stephen Langridge told me today that he will be using them (adapted) for his parish.

Another thing that I do is to speak in a confidential sort of way to the parents at the rehearsal. I suggest that they can be a bit more blunt with their relatives and friends than I can.

1:26 am  

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