The Eucharist: How we receive — Church emphasizes unity in Communion

Father Michael Wimsatt, pastor of St. James Church in Elizabethtown, Ky., offered the Eucharist to altar servers during a Eucharistic Devotion in March. An ongoing effort to educate Catholics about the Eucharist includes a refresher about the reception of Communion. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

As part of the national Eucharistic Revival and local plans to reintroduce Communion from the chalice this month, the Archdiocese of Louisville has been offering catechesis on the Eucharist.

While much of the catechesis has centered on the meaning and importance of the Eucharist, local church leaders are also reminding Catholics about a simpler aspect: How to receive the Eucharist.

“We’ve been without the chalice now for three years,” said Dr. Karen Shadle, director of the Office of Worship. “That’s a long time. For Catholics who are older, it’ll come back like riding a bike.

“But we’ve had 1,200 people come into the church who need catechesis around the chalice,” she noted. “This is a good time to look at how we do what we do and why we do what we do.”

Catholics belong to one united Church, Shadle noted. As such, there are some practices that express our unity.

Reception of Holy Communion can be broken down into six steps: posture, gesture, Sacred Host and Precious Blood, dialogue, singing and silence.

These steps have prescribed norms for Catholics in the United States that express the church’s universality, though some steps offer room for slight variation.
“We do get kind of bogged down in our parishes, but we should remember we are one church, one diocese,” said Shadle.

“We’re unified in procedures and processes and it’s important to do what the Church asks of us. We’re taking this opportunity to emphasize oneness together.”
Following are examples and explanations of each step provided by the Office of Worship.

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