As you know, our parish school has been struggling to sustain itself. It is becoming more difficult to do that. Due to the considerable parish financial support to the school, we do not have the necessary funds to meet all of our obligations particularly the payment to the Diocese for various insurance premiums which are paid by the Diocese on our behalf. The Diocese has agreed to cover this expense for the current fiscal year in the amount of $293,000 and will do so in the new fiscal year which starts on July 1 in the amount of $403,000. However, enrollment is looking a little bit stronger than what we originally estimated, so this amount may be closer to $350,000. While the Diocesan office responded immediately with an outright grant to cover these expenses, we cannot expect the Diocese to do this every year. Its resources are also limited. There are 108 other parishes and many other schools feeling increasing financial pressure. We need to increase enrollment in our own parish school in order to continue to provide our families with a viable, sustainable Catholic education option. It is important that our parishioners and those with children currently in our school who plan to attend know that.
The Fathers of the Church urge us to approach the Body of Christ with great reverence. They knew that all Jesus demands of us to receive His Body is to be free from unconfessed mortal sin. In taking Holy Communion in the hand, one of the Fathers expressed taking God’s Body as if one was placing him on a throne. When the practice was renewed after Vatican II, most bishops did not want it because of the danger of irreverence. I do see people popping the host into their mouths as if it were junk food. I wonder if I was handing out nuclear bombs if they would do the same?
The Church calls us to obedience in how we receive Jesus. We are to form a throne with our hands placing one over the other. The priest, deacon or minister then places the Body of Christ in the palm of the hand. Then the recipient picks up the Host with the other hand and then consumes It. It is improper to take the Host. That action is reserved only for priests and bishops. Our hands should be clean and empty – not even holding Rosaries.
After the minister says, “The Body of Christ,” we should respond with “Amen.” Amen is an ancient collective solemn ratification. Amen is an ascent to believe what God has told us that the Eucharist is simply because that what God says It is. We do not say “I believe” because this is an act of personal control. This conveys a selfish arrogance of not accepting the mystery on God’s terms. We can never comprehend this mystery and by saying “Amen” we simply and humbly accept what God has said the Host is. “Thank you” is inappropriate because it reduces the solemnity to an act of social politeness. This can give us a false familiarity with God – perhaps worthy enough to treat the Host as junk food. To understand God is not to know Him. If you understand God, you are deluding yourself.