Recently, Fr Paul has written in Carmel reminding us of some matters concerning the celebration of Communion during Mass.
Asking all of us to be consistent in how we process to the front of the church and receive communion is not simply about efficiency, safety and the like.
A common bodily posture, to be observed by all those taking part, is a sign of the unity of the members of the Christian community gathered together for the Sacred Liturgy, for it expresses the intentions and spiritual attitude of the participants and also fosters them.
As Fr Paul has also reminded us, when approaching to receive communion, we are asked to bow towards the Blessed Sacrament being given to us as a sign of reverence. This allows us to offer a common sign of reverence whilst maintaining the flow of the communion procession.
Once we have received communion, the procession continues as we return to our seats. Everyone is encouraged to spend time in silent prayer after receiving communion, and people may choose to do this whilst kneeling or sitting. It is only at our seat, however, that this silent prayer should take place.
Praying at the Marian Shrine or at the images of the saints, and asking for their intercession is something that many people find spiritually nourishing, but this is only appropriate before or after Mass. During Mass, our focus is rightly upon Christ, whose death and resurrection we celebrate, and whose body and blood we receive in holy communion.