Three Things About the Eucharist We’ve Learnt from COVID-19

This weekend, the Church in Australia celebrates the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. It takes on particular significance this year, given that our weekly celebration of the Eucharist has been put on hold due to coronavirus restrictions. Reflecting on this experience gives us an opportunity to more deeply appreciate what we’ve missed:

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Liturgical Ministry Formation Workshops

Carmel Bulletin, 6 October 2019

We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty.

Luke 17:10

Today’s gospel reminds us of the humility of serving others.  One way that we can place ourselves at the service of God and our neighbour is through engagement in liturgical ministry. 

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Saying Amen

Carmel Bulletin, 8 November 2015

It is the shortest response that we make at any time during the Mass.  It is the most common response.  It is also, I believe, the most important.

The word Amen is a word by which we give assent or affirmation to what has been said.  Often it is described as meaning “so be it”.

Priest leading the Collect Prayer
© Alphonsus Fok, 321 Photography

The response Amen allows the assembly to give its voice to its prayers that are led by the priest.  We confirm that we worship in the name of the Trinity.  We affirm our profession of faith.  The Eucharistic Prayer, with its praise, petition and thanksgiving, comes to its completion with the Great Amen; a response considered so important that it should be sung.

Receiving communion from the chalice
© Alphonsus Fok, 321 Photography

It is interesting, therefore, that some people seem reluctant to respond to the priest, deacon or Extraordinary Minister when they receive communion.  The declarations “The Body of Christ” and “The Blood of Christ” deserve our heartfelt response.  To say Amen is to declare our belief that we are receiving Christ himself.  Not only that, but as St Augustine once explained, we declare our belief that Christ is present within us, and that we say Amen to both what the Eucharist is, and what we are.

To say Amen when we receive communion is a powerful expression of our faith.  So don’t be afraid to speak up!  Say Amen.

Communion of the Sick

Carmel Bulletin, 15 June 2014

Communion of the SickLast week, Fr Paul wrote about the small change that will occur to the sending forth of ministers taking Communion to the sick.  This change comes into effect next weekend.

The intention is that this sending forth of ministers will now form a part of the blessing and dismissal rites at the end of Mass.  We are all sent forth at the end of Mass to be the Body of Christ to our brothers and sisters and we, as a community, send forth those ministers to go out into the world to serve in a particular way.

It is important that those taking Communion to the sick participate in this rite, and be entrusted with the Eucharist at the end of the Mass, rather than coming to request Communion from the tabernacle afterwards.  There may be rare occasions where this is unavoidable.  The practice of being sent forth from the Mass, however, is to be the norm in our parish.

The practice of calling the ministers forward to receive Communion for the sick is not about drawing attention to those ministers.  Rather, it is about drawing our attention to those who they will visit.  We all have a responsibility to keep the sick and housebound of our parish in our thoughts and prayers.  We should take the time to enquire occasionally about their ongoing health and offer support and assistance.  Finally, we have a duty to ensure that we support those who care for the sick, and keep them in our thoughts and prayers as well.

Ministry to the Sick

Carmel Bulletin, 8 June 2014

An important aspect of our pastoral care of each other is prayer for and outreach to our fellow parishioners who are unwell.Communion of the Sick

It is heartening to see that many parishioners are certainly mindful of others who are unwell and assiduous in commending them to our prayers.  A number of parishioners also take Holy Communion to those who are unwell.  At times, spouses or other family members perform this service for each other.  In other cases, a parishioner functions as a “Special Minister of the Eucharist” and takes Holy Communion to the sick who request it.  Please be aware that either means of taking the Eucharist to the sick is appropriate and encouraged.  If you would like to know more about providing the Eucharist to a sick family member or fellow parishioner, please speak about it to one of the Priests in the first instance.

It is most desirable that those who take the Eucharist to the sick are seen to do so as an extension of the community’s celebration of the Eucharist and are commissioned by the worshipping community, through the Priest, at the end of Mass.  This is why we have a special commissioning of Ministers of the Eucharist to the Sick at the end of Mass.  To emphasise the link between the worshipping community’s celebration of the Eucharist and the taking of the Eucharist to the sick after Mass, we will be slightly repositioning when this commissioning takes place.  Beginning from the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (the special feast in honour of the Eucharist) on the weekend of 21 & 22 June, Special Ministers of the Eucharist to the Sick will be commissioned after the Notices and the Prayer after Communion (rather than before, as is currently the case) – and immediately before the Final Blessing and Dismissal.  These Ministers will be invited to process from the Church with the Priest and servers, as a way of symbolising that they are taking Holy Communion to the Sick as an extension of the community’s celebration of the Eucharist.

Fr Paul