Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Paten Pending: Another New Year's Resolution

Over the years I have been asked to help out as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, and so I understand the many things that the ministers (ordinary and otherwise) have to be thinking about during the distribution of the Blessed Sacrament.

I would like to suggest that more thought be given to one aspect that is currently ignored on a widespread basis: the position of the ciborium and paten.

The smallest particle of the Blessed Sacrament deserves adoration, and thus should be treated with the greatest care and custody.
Fracto demum sacramento 
ne vacilles, sed memento 
tantum esse sub fragmento,
quantum toto tegitur.

One of the easiest ways to respect the Blessed Sacrament, often overlooked, is simply by making sure that the paten, and in the absence of the paten the ciborium, is always underneath the host as it is on its way to being accepted by the communicant. This is very easy to do. Simply hold the paten or ciborium under the host while saying "The Body of Christ" (in the OF), and then, while moving the host towards the communicant's hand or mouth, simply move the paten or ciborium as well.

This is very easy, but by my observation often neglected. Many times both clerics and EMOHCs will in fact elevate the Blessed Sacrament for several moments while saying "The Body of Christ," without taking care that the paten or ciborium is directly underneath. This means that any particles will simply fall to the floor.

In a similar vein, it is important to keep the paten horizontal until it has been purified. Again, this is easy to do, but is sometimes neglected.

These basic measures, besides consoling the faithful and reinforcing their devotion to the Lord, show proper care for this divine Gift, deserving of all praise.