Communion under Both Species
Holy Communion has a fuller form as a sign when it is distributed under both kinds. For in this form the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is more clearly evident and clear expression is given to the divine will by which the new and eternal Covenant is ratified in the Blood of the Lord, as also the relationship between the Eucharistic banquet and the eschatological banquet in the Father’s Kingdom (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, Chapter 38). The possibility of receiving communion under both kinds at every Eucharist is always preferable as we can more fully respond to Christ’s command: “Take this all of you and eat it… Take this all of you and drink from it…” Therefore, it is desirable that Holy Communion be distributed under both kinds at daily Mass and during the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist, if this can be done in an orderly and reverent way.
It is important that adequate explanation take place so that the lay faithful are aware of the significance of receiving communion under both kinds. It should also be explained that Christ, whole and entire, and the true Sacrament, is received even under one species. Therefore, receiving under only one species in no way diminishes the grace that is necessary for salvation.
Some practical considerations
• In general, two chalices are required for each ciborium. • The consecrated wine must be consumed after the distribution (except in the case of someone who is ill and cannot receive solid food). Only the necessary amount of wine should be consecrated. • Each sacrament is always given to us by another person. A priest or deacon or a minister of Holy Communion should give communion by the Precious Blood to the lay faithful, standing in a designated place For Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
• Stand a short distance from the Minister of the Host so as to avoid congestion • Hold the Chalice before each communicant and say “The Blood of Christ”. The Communicant responds with an “Amen” and the minister hands the cup to the communicant, who takes the cup, takes a sip and hands the cup back. • Wipe the rim of the cup carefully with the purificator, (inside and out) and turn the cup a quarter turn for the next person. • If your cup is emptied and there are more communicants, see if another minister is finished and has consecrated wine remaining in his or her cup or if there is more consecrated wine on the altar. If not, you should take the empty cup to the Altar. • If, after the last communicant, you have Precious Blood remaining in your chalice, look around at the other stations to see if there is a place where you can assist or where some other minister may need the wine from your cup. If not, take the cup to the Altar and consume the Precious Blood. • Please note, that if there is a substantial amount of Precious Blood left, no one is expected to consume an extraordinary quantity of Precious Blood. Please be responsible in getting others to assist you. If you have a wheat or alcohol related illness, you will not be expected to consume the Precious elements. In that case, please put your cup on the altar for the priest to consume.
Communion for those with a gluten intolerance
A gentle reminder about the reception of Holy Communion by those with a gluten intolerance (also known as coeliac condition). The possibility of receiving communion under both kinds at every Eucharist is always preferable as we can more fully respond to Christ’s command: “Take this all of you and eat it… Take this all of you and drink from it…”
When making a separate chalice available to provide those with a gluten intolerance the chance to receive communion, it should not be placed on the altar or on a side altar for them to come and take themselves. Each sacrament is always given to us by another person. A minister of Holy Communion should give communion by the Precious Blood to them, standing in a designated place. Please remember that people with a gluten intolerance can have a very serious health reaction to consuming even a tiny particle of a host. Therefore it is very important that people do not ‘contaminate’ a chalice provided for the possibility of their receiving communion by the intinction of their Host into the chalice. Imagine going forward to receive communion yourself only to find that you cannot because of other people’s lack of consideration. We recommend that a notice making clear the Holy Communion arrangements for those with a gluten intolerance is placed clearly on a notice board in your Church. For parishes that offer communion under both kinds regularly the following notice might also be placed in the weekly participation sheet: We invite those who wish to receive communion under both kinds not to dip their Host into the chalice out of care for those with a gluten intolerance for whom contamination can be very painful. Part of this article was adapted from the “Liturgical Calendar for Ireland 2009”.