Tag Archives: communion


(Week 23 of the year: Saturday)


Wherefore, my dearly beloved, fly from the service of idols.

I speak as to wise men: judge ye yourselves what I say.

The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord?

For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all that partake of one bread.

Behold Israel according to the flesh: are not they, that eat of the sacrifices, partakers of the altar?

What then? Do I say, that what is offered in sacrifice to idols, is any thing? Or, that the idol is any thing?

But the things which the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God. And I would not that you should be made partakers with devils.

You cannot drink the chalice of the Lord, and the chalice of devils: you cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord, and of the table of devils.

Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he? All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Prayers for Ordinary Time


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The Feast of Mercy is officially celebrated on the Sunday after Easter, as requested by our Lord.

The Feast should be preceded by a Novena of Chaplets to the Divine Mercy beginning on Good Friday.

The Sermon by the priest that day should be on Divine Mercy – that is the mercy which God the Father bestows on us through Jesus Christ His Son.

That we contemplate, on this day, the Mystery of Redemption as the greatest revelation of Divine Mercy towards us.

The Image of the Divine Mercy is to be ceremoniously blessed that day.

The Image is to be publicly venerated. The Image should be exposed to all taking part in the celebration (to demonstrate this, an Image could be left in a position that all can touch and say “Jesus I trust in You”). This can be carried out during the celebration like the kissing of the Cross on Good Friday or as people leave the Church, if numbers prevent it during the ceremony.

Confession and communion on the day. If confession is not available on the day it should be as close to the day as possible. St Faustina made it on the Saturday before the Feast. Communion, as always, should be a worthy one and must be accompanied by complete trust in Divine Mercy.

That an act of Mercy should take place in our lives, as part of our preparation for the feast. We should be merciful to others in our words, deeds and prayers:

Merciful Word: Forgiving and comforting
Merciful Deed: Any of the corporal works of mercy
Merciful Prayer: Prayers for Mercy for the world.


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According to a most ancient tradition, this night is ‘one of vigil for the Lord’, and the Vigil celebrated during it, to commemorate that Holy night when the Lord rose from the dead, is regarded as the ‘mother of all Holy vigils’. For in that night the Church keeps vigil, waiting for the resurrection of the Lord, and celebrates the sacraments of Christian initiation.


‘The entire celebration of the Easter Vigil takes place at night. It should not begin before nightfall; it should end before daybreak on Sunday’. This rule is to be taken according to its strictest sense. Those abuses and practices which have crept in many places in violation of this ruling, whereby the Easter Vigil is celebrated at the time of day that is customary to celebrate anticipated Sunday Masses are reprehensible. Those reasons which have been advanced in some quarters for the anticipation of the Easter Vigil, such as lack of public order, are not put forward in connection with Christmas night, nor other gatherings of various kinds.

The Passover Vigil, in which the Hebrews kept watch for the Lord’s passover which was to free them from slavery to Pharaoh, is an annual commemoration. It prefigured the true Pasch of Christ that was to come, the night that is of true liberation, in which ‘destroying the bonds of death, Christ rose as victor from the depths’.

From the very outset the Church has celebrated that annual Pasch, which is the solemnity of solemnities, above all by means of a night vigil. For the resurrection of Christ is the foundation of our faith and hope, and through Baptism and Confirmation we are inserted into the paschal mystery of Christ, dying, buried, and raised with him, and with him we shall also reign. The full meaning of Vigil is a waiting for the coming of the Lord.


The order for the Easter Vigil is so arranged that after the service of light and the Easter proclamation (which is the first part of the Vigil), Holy Church meditates on the wonderful works which the Lord God wrought for his people from the earliest times (the second part or Liturgy of the Word), to the moment when, together with those new members reborn in Baptism (third part), she is called to the table prepared by the Lord for his Church, the commemoration of his death and resurrection, until he comes (fourth part). This Liturgical Order must not be changed by anyone on his own initiative.

The first part consists of symbolic acts and gestures, which require that they be performed in all their fullness and nobility, so that their meaning, as explained by the introductory words of the celebrant and the liturgical prayers, may be truly understood by the faithful.

In so far as possible, a suitable place should be prepared outside the church for the blessing of the new fire, whose flames should be such that they genuinely dispel the darkness and light up the night.

The paschal candle should be prepared in advance. For effective symbolism it must be made of wax, never be artificial, be renewed each year, be only one in number, and be of sufficiently large size so that it may evoke the truth that Christ is the light of the world. It is blessed with the signs and words prescribed in the Missal or by the Conference of Bishops.

The Procession in which the people enter the church should be led by the light of the paschal candle alone. Just as the children of Israel were guided by night by a pillar of fire, so similarly Christians follow the risen Christ. There is no reason why to each response ‘Thanks be to God’ there should not be added some acclamation in honour of Christ.

The light from the paschal candle should be gradually passed to the candles which it is fitting that all present should hold in their hands, the electric lighting being switched off.

The Deacon makes the Easter proclamation, which tells by means of a great poetic text the whole Easter mystery in the context of the economy of salvation. In case of necessity, where there is no deacon, and the celebrating priest is unable to sing it, a cantor may do so. Bishops’ Conferences may adapt this proclamation by inserting into it acclamations from the people.

The readings from sacred scripture constitute the second part of the Vigil. They give an account of the outstanding deeds of the history of salvation, which the faithful are helped to meditate calmly upon by the singing of the responsorial psalm, by a silent pause and by the celebrant’s prayer.

The restored Order for the Vigil has seven readings from the Old Testament chosen from the Law and the Prophets, which are everywhere in use according to the most ancient tradition of East and West, and two readings from the New Testament, namely from the Apostle and from the Gospel. Thus the Church, ‘beginning with Moses and all the Prophets’ explains Christ’s paschal mystery. Consequently, wherever this is possible, all the readings should be read so that the character of the Easter Vigil, which demands that it be somewhat prolonged, be respected at all costs.

Where, however, pastoral conditions require that the number of readings be reduced, there should be at least three readings from the Old Testament, taken from the Law and the Prophets; and the reading from Exodus chapter 14 with its canticle must never be omitted.

The typological import of the Old Testament texts is rooted in the New, and is made plain by the prayer pronounced by the celebrating priest after each reading; but it will also be helpful to introduce the people to the meaning of each reading by means of a brief introduction. This introduction may be given by the priest himself or by a deacon.

National or diocesan liturgical commissions will prepare aids for pastors.

Each reading is followed by the singing of a psalm, to which the people respond.

Melodies should be provided for these responses which are capable of promoting the people’s participartion and devotion.

Great care is to be taken that trivial songs do not take the place of the psalms.

After the readings from the Old Testament, the hymn ‘Gloria in excelsis’ is sung and the bells are rung in accordance with local custom; then the collect is recited, and the celebration moves on to the readings from the New Testament. There is read an exhortation from the Apostle on Baptism as insertion into Christ’s paschal mystery.

Then all stand and the priest intones the ‘Alleluia’ three times, each time raising the pitch. The people repeat after him. If it is necessary, the psalmist or cantor may sing the ‘Alleluia’, which the people then take up as an acclamation to be interjected between the verses of psalm 117, which is so often cited by the Apostles in their Easter preaching. Finally, the Resurrection of the Lord is proclaimed from the Gospel as the high point of the whole Liturgy of the Word. After the Gospel a homily is to be given, no matter how brief.

The third part of the Vigil is the baptismal liturgy. Christ’s passover and ours is now celebrated. This is given full expression in those churches which have a baptismal font, and more so when the Christian initiation of adults is held, or at least the Baptism of infants. Even if there are no candidates for Baptism, the blessing of Baptismal water should still take place in parish churches. If this blessing does not take place at the baptismal font but in the sanctuary, baptismal water should be carried afterwards to the baptistry there to be kept throughout the whole of paschal time. Where there are neither candidates for Baptism nor any need to bless the font, Baptism should be commemorated by blessing of water destined for sprinkling upon the people.

Next follows the renewal of baptismal promises, introduced by some words from the celebrating priest. The faithful reply to the questions put to them, standing and holding lighted candles in their hands. They are then sprinkled with water: in this way gestures and words recall to them the Baptism they have received. The celebrating priest sprinkles the people by passing through the main part of the church while all sing the antiphon ‘Vidi aquam’ or another suitable song of a baptismal character.

The celebration of the Eucharist forms the fourth part of the Vigil and marks its high point, for it is in the fullest sense the Easter Sacrament, that is to say the commemoration of the sacrifice of the Cross and the presence of the risen Christ, the completion of Christian initiation, and the foretaste of the eternal pasch.

Great care should be taken that this Eucharistic Liturgy is not celebrated in haste; indeed, all the rites and words must be given their full force – the General Intercessions in which for the first time the neophytes now as members of the faithful exercise their priesthood; the procession at the offertory in which the neophytes, if there are any, take part; the first, second or third Eucharistic Prayer, preferably sung, with their proper embolisms; and finally, Eucharistic Communion, as the moment of full participation in the mystery that is being celebrated. It is appropriate that at Communion there be sung psalm 117 with the antiphon ‘Pascha nostrum’, or psalm 33 with the antiphon ‘Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia’, or some other song of Easter exultation.

It is fitting that in the Communion of the Easter Vigil full expression be given to the symbolism of the Eucharist, namely by consuming the Eucharist under the species of both bread and wine. Local Ordinaries will consider the appropriateness of such a concession and its ramifications.


The Easter Vigil Liturgy should be celebrated in such a way as to offer to the Christian people the riches of the prayers and rites. It is therefore important that authenticity be respected, that the participation of the faithful be promoted, and that the celebration should not take place without servers, readers and choir exercising their role.

It would be desirable if on occasion provision were made for several communities to assemble in one church, wherever their proximity one to another or small numbers mean that a full and festive celebration could not otherwise take place.

The celebration of the Easter Vigil for special groups is not to be encouraged, since above all in this Vigil the faithful should come together as one and should experience a sense of ecclesial community.

Faithful who are absent from their parish on vacation should be urged to participate in the liturgical celebration in the place where they happen to be.

In announcements concerning the Easter Vigil care should be taken not to present it as the concluding period of Holy Saturday; rather it should be stressed that the Easter Vigil is celebrated ‘during Easter night’, and that it is one single act of worship. Pastors should be advised that in giving catechesis to the people they should be taught to participate in the Vigil in its entirety.

For a better celebration of the Easter Vigil, it is necessary that Pastors themselves have an ever deeper knowledge of both texts and rites, so as to give a proper mystagogical catechesis to the people.


Mass is to be celebrated on Easter Day with great solemnity. It is appropriate that the penitential rite on this day take the form of a sprinkling with water blessed at the Vigil, during which the antiphon ‘Vidi aquam’, or some other song of baptismal character should be sung. The stoups at the entrance to the church should also be filled with the same water.

The tradition of celebrating baptismal Vespers on Easter Day with the singing of psalms during the procession to the font should be maintained where it is still in force, and as appropriate restored.

The paschal candle has its proper place either by the ambo or by the altar and should be lit at least in all the more solemn liturgical celebrations of the season until Pentecost Sunday, whether at Mass, or at Morning or Evening Prayer. After the Easter season the candle should be kept with honour in the baptistry, so that in the celebration of Baptism the candles of the baptised may be lit from it. In the celebration of Funerals the paschal candle should be placed near the coffin to indicate that the death of a Christian is his own passover. The paschal candle should not otherwise be lit nor placed in the sanctuary outside the Easter season.
– Given at Rome, at the Offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship, 16 January 1988


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On this day, when ‘Christ our passover was sacrificed’, the Church meditates on the Passion of her Lord and Spouse, adores the Cross, commemorates her origin from the side of Christ on the Cross, and intercedes for the salvation of the whole world.

On this day, in accordance with ancient tradition, the Church does not celebrate the Eucharist: Holy Communion is distributed to the faithful during the celebration of the Lord’s Passion alone, though it may be brought at any time of the day to the sick who cannot take part in the celebration.

Good Friday is a day of penance to be observed as of obligation in the whole Church through abstinence and fasting.

All celebration of the sacraments on this day is strictly prohibited, except for the sacraments of Penance and Anointing of the Sick. Funerals are to be celebrated without singing, music, or the tolling of bells.

It is recommended that on this day the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer be celebrated with the participation of the people in the churches.

The Celebration of the Lord’s Passion is to take place in the afternoon, at about three o’clock. The time will be chosen as shall seem most appropriate for pastoral reasons in order to allow the people to assemble more easily, for example, shortly after midday, or in the late evening, however, no later than nine o’clock.

The Order for the celebration of the Lord’s Passion (the liturgy of the Word, the adoration of the Cross, and Holy Communion) stems from an ancient tradition of the Church and should be observed faithfully and religiously; it may not be changed by anyone on his own initiative.

The priest and ministers proceed to the altar in silence, and without any singing. If any words of introduction are to be said, they should be pronounced before the ministers enter. The priest and ministers make a reverence to the altar, prostrating themselves. This act of prostration, which is proper to the rite of the day, should be strictly observed, for it signifies both the abasement of ‘earthly man’, and also the grief and sorrow of the Church. The faithful, for their part, should be standing as the ministers enter, and thereafter should kneel in silent prayer.

The readings are to be read in their entirety. The responsorial psalm and the chant before the Gospel are to be sung in the usual manner. The narrative of the Lord’s Passion according to John is sung or read in the way prescribed. After the reading of the Passion, a homily should be given, at the end of which the faithful may be invited to spend a short time in meditation.

The General Intercessions are to follow the wording and form handed down by ancient tradition, maintaining the full range of intentions, so as to signify clearly the universal effect of the Passion of Christ, who hung on the Cross for the salvation of the whole world. In case of grave public necessity the local Ordinary may permit or prescribe the adding of special intentions.

In this event it is permitted that the priest select from the prayers of the Missal those more appropriate to local circumstances, in such a way however that the series follows the rule for General Intercessions.

For veneration of the Cross, let a cross be used that is of appropriate size and beauty, and let one or other of the forms for this rite as found in the Roman Missal be followed. The rite should be carried out with the splendour worthy of the mystery of our salvation: both the invitation pronounced at the unveiling of the Cross, and the people’s response should be made in song, and a period of respectful silence is to be observed after each act of veneration, the celebrant standing and holding the raised Cross.

The Cross is to be presented to each of the faithful individually for their adoration, since the personal adoration of the Cross is a most important feature in this celebration, and only when necessitated by the large numbers of faithful present should the rite of veneration be made simultaneously by all present.

Only one Cross should be used for the veneration, as this contributes to the full symbolism of the rite. During the veneration of the Cross the antiphons, ‘Reproaches’ and hymns should be sung, so that the history of salvation be commemorated through song. Other appropriate songs may also be sung.

The priest sings the invitation to the Lord’s Prayer, which is then sung by all. The sign of peace is not exchanged. The Communion rite is as described in the Missal.

During the distribution of Communion, psalm 21 or another suitable song may be sung. When Communion has been distributed the pyx is taken to a place prepared for it outside the church.

After the celebration, the altar is stripped, the Cross remaining however, with four candles. An appropriate place (for example, the chapel of repose used for reservation of the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday) can be prepared within the church, and there the Lord’s Cross is placed so that the faithful may venerate and kiss it, and spend some time in meditation.

Devotions, such as the Way of the Cross, processions of the Passion, and the commemorations of the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary are not, for pastoral reasons, to be neglected. The texts and songs used should be adapted to the spirit of the Liturgy of this day. Such devotions should be assigned to a time of day that makes it quite clear that the liturgical celebration by its very nature far surpasses them in importance.
– Given at Rome, at the Offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship, 16 January 1988


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Man and woman are both called to live in profound communion through a reciprocal recognition of one another and the mutual gift of themselves, working together for the common good through the complementary aspects of masculinity and femininity.

Who today can fail to recognise the need to make more room for the “reasons of the heart”? In a world like ours, dominated by technology, we feel the need for this feminine complementarity, so that the human race can live in the world without completely losing its humanity.

Think of all the places afflicted by great poverty or devastated by war, and of all the tragic situations resulting from migrations, forced or otherwise. It is almost always women who manage to preserve human dignity, to defend the family and to protect cultural and religious values.
– Pope Benedict XVI


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