Update on Holy Communion

The outbreak of the Covid-19 Pandemic in 2020 required a temporary reduction of liturgical practices in the celebration of the Eucharist and administration of the sacraments. Until now, the only liturgical restriction remaining within the archdiocese is the prohibition regarding the reception of Holy Communion from the chalice. The archdiocese has asked all parishes to begin offering Communion under both kinds (bread and wine) beginning as early as Holy Thursday, April 6th, but no later than Pentecost Sunday, May 28th.

Here at St. James, before offering Communion from the chalice, I’d like to have some time for catechesis and preparation for the reception of the Precious Blood from the chalice. This will also be a time to foster the full participation of the faithful in the Mass.

It has been close to three years since Communion from the chalice has been offered at Mass. Rediscovering the sign value of Communion under both kinds (bread and wine) is important for us as a community of faith. Why? Because, as our Church teaches us, every effort is to be made to ensure that “the faithful should receive the Body of Christ from hosts (bread) consecrated at Mass and partake of the chalice (wine), so that even by means of the signs, Communion may stand out more clearly as a participation in the sacrifice actually being celebrated” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 55, and the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 85).

Over the next few weeks, you’ll find in our parish bulletin a series of articles that have been prepared by the Worship Office of the Archdiocese of Newark. These articles will help to catechize and prepare our community for the full participation of the faithful in the Mass. Our Eucharistic Ministers will be receiving careful training as we prepare for the reintroduction of the Communion chalice this Pentecost Sunday, May 28th.

While many communicants have waited in anticipation for the reintroduction of Communion from the chalice, there are others for whom Communion from the chalice is not desirable. Please know that while it is necessary for the church to provide the option of receiving Communion under both kinds (bread and wine) so that participation in the sacrifice of Jesus’ Body and Blood is manifested, communicants are not obligated to receive both kinds (bread and wine).

As we continue to emerge from a period of necessary adjustment resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic, we welcome this liturgical step forward which affords the lay faithful the opportunity to receive both the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ at Mass.