Wednesday 20 August 2014

“Do you neglect the grave obligation to attend Sunday Mass: never, sometimes, often, or always?”

Pope St Pius X
With Our Blessed Lady watching over him
 as he brings communion to children
 and crushes heresy underfoot.
Now that's what I call multi-tasking!

On this 100th anniversary of the death of the saintly Pope Pius X, who promoted the early receiving of Holy Communion, Fr Tim Finigan writes an excellent piece for the Faith Magazine on the dangers that arise when the Blessed Sacrament is demanded as a right, rather than seen as a gift and privilege.

Well worth reading the whole article but here is a flavour:
When applying to Catholic schools in England, parents are asked to fill in a supplementary form regarding their Catholicity. The form often asks: “Do you attend Mass: weekly, most weeks, occasionally, or never?” It would be more instructive to ask: “Do you neglect the grave obligation to attend Sunday Mass: never, sometimes, often, or always?”
Rather than take the difficult pastoral road of reminding people that there are circumstances in which some change needs to be made before receiving Holy Communion, we seem to have accepted that everyone should routinely present themselves for the sacrament every time they attend Mass. 

Pope St John Paul

St Pio

Blessed Teresa

Pope Benedict XVI

St. Sylvester receiving Holy Communion at the hands of the Virgin Mary.
(From a dream wherein she asks him if he is ready to receive.)

Last Holy Communion of St. Joseph of Calasanz, (by Goya, 1819)

Our Blessed Lady receiving Holy Communion from St John


Sixupman said...

Those of a certain age will remember
Mass Register on Monday mornings, not to mention classes being taken to Confession on a Friday afternoon.

Happy days, particularly if it happened to be that skilled drummer, Fr. Bamber, hearing Confessions.

Celia said...

Interesting that routine reception of Communion is seen as a modern aberration. When I was at primary school in the 1950s the headmistress would come round on Monday to check who had been to Communion. Not to have received was regarded as wrong and you would be asked for an explanation.

Unknown said...

My eldest son was at a catholic comprehensive school during the 1980s and one day announced that the RE teacher had said to the class that they need not go to church on Sunday if they did not feel like doing so.Is it any wonder that people no longer believe it is an obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation (what is left of them that is.) Can someone enlighten me as to how the obligation to attend Mass is presented in our catholic schools to-day ?

Jacobi said...

We are required to attend Mass circa 56 times per year, under pain of Mortal sin if we do not have a proper excuse.

We are required to receive Holy Communion at least once a year, and that at Easter or thereabouts.

More importantly, whether we receive Holy Communion once or 56 times, we must do so in a State of Grace, free form Mortal Sin, having observed the proper fast and being otherwise properly disposed.

GOR said...

I would add: “Sundays…and Holydays of Obligation”. With the transference of some Holydays to Sundays and the vagaries of the rules in different countries, I suspect few people remember that the obligation applies to them as well.

In my parish Holydays of Obligation are never mentioned – either by the Pastor or in the Parish Bulletin – resulting in very sparse attendance. One has to refer to the diocesan website to be sure - and with no reminders I suspect few think of doing that.

Miguel said...

I had never thought before on Our Lady receiving the Holy Communion from the hands of Saint John. What a beautiful thought! Thank you.
Miguel, from Lisbon, Portugal