Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Tag Archives: Eucharist

The Catholic Mass

Here is a thoughtful video with tons of great quotes that was shared with me today. Thought you might enjoy a quick pick-me-up. Thanks to Sr. Clare Hunter, FSE for sharing and enriching my day!


I Dare You to Take My Lenten Challenge

Our parish would like to be a host parish for Perpetual Adoration. I think one of the greatest challenges is having the human capitol (i.e., knees in the pews) to ensure that He is never alone. It is my personal opinion that an untapped resource are the youth and young adults of any parish, let alone mine.

The Secret to Meaningful Change: Adoration

During the last two years in high school, I spent at least an hour every Friday night at a local parish that has perpetual adoration – it changed my life. That time every Friday energized my prayer life, assisted in my struggles against sin, helped my studying (He makes an excellent tutor) and secured for me a peace dispensed only by the Lord. In fact, my Sr. Prom included a stop by the chapel for adoration (yes, I know I am a geek) with my date and the couple we were doubling with. It was an unforgettable hour for all of us. The Lord blessed it beyond our wildest imaginations. Did anyone think we were weird? Only those who were to scared to name what they really wanted and needed. Most of our friends wish they had done the same.

In college, adoration continued and began an anchor to my week. Once I was married, my wife insisted that I stop by for adoration before I came home – otherwise, I was a bear.

I am the man today because of Jesus and His Real presence enthroned in that monstrance. If I had to voice how I plan to live out my diaconate, and where I plan to find my strength, it would be, “To Jesus, through Mary…most especially in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.”

The Challenge…if you Dare!

I would like to offer a challenge to any teen and young adult reading this today: Commit to at least one hour of adoration a week for the rest of Lent. If you take up this challenge, and send me your name, I pledge to offer you up – by name – during my recitation of Lauds and Vespers and pray for you and your intentions daily during Lent (Take the deal while supplies last). I might even be able to sweeten the deal by coaxing additional deacons to join me.

During this challenge, I want you to dare the Lord to change your life. Toss down the gauntlet before Him and challenge Him to reach down into the deepest and darkest recesses of your heart, and in an intimate way, break through your during adoration to profoundly rock your world. One of the few promises I can make is that you will not be disappointed! So, you game? Don’t be a Catholic sissy…bring it!

Perpetual Adoration

I know that there are enough people in my parish…even among the teens and young adults…to make perpetual adoration a reality. Youth and young adults, you are the sleeping giant that Church needs.

“Maybe”, as Mordecai said to Queen Esther, “you were born for such a time as this!” (Esther 4:14)

It’s time for you to wake up and take your rightful place in the mission of the Church – it all starts with adoration. I can make this simple guarantee, once it is established, well, I will testify in the courts of our Lord, that the parish will be renewed, lives will be changed and miracles will become a daily occurrence.

Until that time, if you want adoration and you have a group that is willing. Find me, for you are the treasure of the Church and I will gladly present you before the King of Kings. from Cardinal Newman Society on Vimeo.

Update: Rethinking Liturgical Roles

Marie asked yesterday for a clarification. She wrote:

“If the exposition is to be interrupted, the deacon (or in his absence, a priest, even the presiding minister) immediately removes the blessed sacrament from the monstrance and places it in the tabernacle.”

This states an exception but not the rule.  I agree with you on the role of a deacon, but I would like to see documentation of the rule not the exception in regards to this.  Can you research more?

No problem and thanks for requesting the clarification! Since  I have the Ordo (Order for the Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist) sitting right here in front of me, here we go. In paragraphs 31 (within the liturgy) and 120 (outside of the liturgy), the Ordo reads:

Immediately after the distribution of communion, the monstrance is placed on the altar. The deacon (or, in his absence, a priest, even the celebrant himself) places the host in the monstrance. If desired, the monstrance may be placed on a throne.

The instruction is similar in paragraph 39 (Exposition outside of Mass at the beginning of the Divine Office):

If the blessed sacrament is not exposed, the deacon (or, in his absence, a priest, even the presiding minister) brings it to the altar and places it in the monstrance.

Again, the instruction repeats itself and is consistent, using the same language i.e.” …the deacon (or, in his absence, a priest, even the presiding minister) brings it to the altar and places it in the monstrance.” The positive instruction for Reposition can also be found in paragraphs 131 (Closing inside of Mass) and 149 (outside of Mass), using the same language, which states:

The deacon (or, in his absence, a priest, even the celebrant himself) removes the blessed sacrament from the monstrance and places it in the tabernacle.

Conclusion: Deacons expose and repose even when they are not the presiding minister or a priest is present. Hopefully this fulfills your request for the positive instruction.

Eucharistic Miracle in Venezuela?

You be the judge…

Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage: Ponferrada/Cebreiro

Carolyn Smith and her daughter Meredith are currently on pilgrimage in Spain hiking the Camino. Meredith is blogging (check it out) their trip and I wanted to encourage you to pray for them and join them on pilgrimage. As they travel they will be sending notes and messages which the Q Continuum will be helping pass on by filling in some history. Let’s continue to cheer them on through Facebook and support them with our prayers.


The 1,000 year old pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is also known as the Way of St. James and in Spanish as the Camino de Santiago. Over 100,000 pilgrims travel to the city each year.

The Legend

Popular legend says that St. James traveled to the Iberian peninsula, preached the Gospel and rested in the Lord as a great missionary Apostle. Pope Leo XIII in the 1884 Bull of Pope Leo XIII Omnipotens Deus accepted the authenticity of the relics at Compostela. One tradition speaks of the authenticity of St. James’ relics which,

can be traced before the 12th century, the relics were said to have been discovered in 814 by Theodomir, bishop of Iria Flavia in the west of Galicia. Theodomir was guided to the spot by a star, the legend affirmed, drawing upon a familiar myth-element, hence “Compostela” was given an etymology as a corruption of Campus Stellae, “Field of Stars.” (Wikipedia)

Along the way, Carolyn and Meredith will be passing through many famous sites. On their first hiking day, they passed through Ponferrada near Cebreiro; both sites of Eucharistic miracles.


The following miracle explanation is provided in 2006 by Istituto San Clemente I Papa e Martire / Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association:

Juan De Benavente lived in Ponferrada with his wife. It was apparent that he was very devout and religious. In fact every evening he stopped in church to pray. One day, during his prayer time, he succumbed to greed and seized the tabernacle, a simple wooden container, in which there was a precious silver ciborium containing some consecrated Hosts. He fled from the church and headed towards the Sil River in order to pitch the cheap wooden tabernacle, but when he tried to launch it into the water he could not because of its sudden immense weight. So he returned home where he hid everything and said nothing to his wife. During the night continuous flashes of light came from the tabernacle, arousing the suspicion of his wife. So Juan decided to go out and dispose of his sacrilegious stolen goods. He reached a place the townspeople called the Arenal Field and threw the tabernacle and consecrated Hosts into the middle of the blackberry patch. The discovery of the crime brought dismay among all of the population and Juan became increasingly nervous and anxious, also because he did not know how to sell the silver ciborium without getting caught.

Near the Arenal Field, the owner of the land, Diego Nuñez de Losada, set up a target practice for entertainment during the feast days. During the time frame in which the sacred Hosts were still in the blackberry patch, eyewitnesses reported seeing flashes of light at night and strange doves hovering during the day. The crossbowmen tried in vain to hit the doves. The miller Nogaledo decided then to capture the doves with his own hands and ventured into the blackberry patch, discovering the tabernacle and the sacred Hosts from where the intense flashes of light originated. Disturbed, he went straight towards the church where the bells were ringing in the distance. The return of the sacred Hosts was organized with a solemn procession. Juan was overcome with remorse and decided to admit his guilt. In the place where the miraculous Hosts were recovered a chapel was immediately constructed. In 1570 the parish priest planned the expansion of the building and instituted a solemn annual procession on the eighth day of the Feast of Corpus Christi in memory of the miracle.

O’ Cebreiro

The Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association also shares the miraculous story of O’ Cebreiro:

Chalice and Paton of the miracle

One icy winter in 1300 a Benedictine priest was celebrating the sacred Mass in a chapel beside the church of the convent of O’Cebreiro. On that miserable day of unceasing snow and unbearably freezing wind, he thought that no one would dare show up for Mass. He was wrong. A farmer from Barxamaior by the name of Juan Santín, left the convent to attend Mass. The priest saying Mass, who did not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament, despised in his heart the farmer’s sacrifice of good will. He began in this way to celebrate the Mass, and immediately after having  professed the words of the consecration, the Host changed to Flesh and the wine changed to Blood, and was expelled from the chalice and stained the corporal. At that very moment, it seemed that even the head of the wooden statue of the Madonna was leaning in adoration. The people today call her the “Madonna of the Sacred Miracle”. The Lord had wanted to open the eyes of the incredulous priest who had doubted and to compensate the farmer for his great devotion. For almost two hundred years the Host-changed-to-Flesh was left on the paten until Queen Isabella learned about the miracle when she passed through O’Cebreiro while on pilgrimage in Santiago de Compostela.

The queen immediately had a precious crystal shrine custom-made to hold the miraculous Host, the chalice and the paten, which to this day, can be admired in this church. Every year on the feast days of Corpus Christi, August 15th, and September 8th, the relics are taken in procession along with the Madonna. Among the most documented testimonials of the miracle are the bull of Pope Innocent VIII of 1487, that of Pope Alexander VII of 1496, and an account by Father Yepes.

The Altar of Repose

This article was written by Jeffrey Tucker and is a re-print with permission from the New Liturgical Movement blog:

Fr. David Grondz sent me this very interesting commentary on a huge confusion out there concerning the altar of repose:

Since the revision of the Roman Missal and its promulgation in 1969, many problematic issues have arisen concerning rubrics and liturgical practice in general. Details have been left unclear and at times the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Sacraments has not been especially helpful in clarification of practice in the Liturgy. Perhaps the most confusing time for any parish priest is the period that we are about to enter, Holy Week.

We have all experienced celebrations of the Sacred Triduum that have left us less than satisfied. Much could be written about the intricacies of these ancient ceremonies. Permit me to address only one aspect, the Altar of Repose.

Our starting point must be Catholic Praxis and Tradition in that tradition informs us on many of the finer points of our faith; this is especially true when it comes to detail questions in the Liturgy. Classically stated the principle is, Lex orandi, lex credendi. The revisers of the Liturgy made several assumptions about common knowledge and experience that can no longer apply simply because common practice has changed over the last decades given the lack of a traditional consciousness.

Since, as the maxim implies, there is a reciprocal and mutually informative value found between prayer and belief, we need to consider again our approach to the example that we, as priests, give to the faithful not only when we celebrate Mass, but more importantly, when we are in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord.

A friend on mine once warned me, “it is easy to be reverent when there are other people around, but if you don’t genuflect in Church when you’re by yourself, then you miss the point. It isn’t a question of show or drama, but of an abiding sense of the presence of Christ in the Tabernacle.”

The rubric at the end of Mass for Holy Thursday stresses the fact that SOLEMN adoration not continue after midnight. According to a traditional understanding this would mean that the externality or public nature of the adoration should cease. Nowhere does this suggest that private persons may not adore before the altar of repose, and nowhere does this suggest that the Blessed Sacrament need be removed from its rightful place in the Tabernacle of the Altar prepared for this purpose.

It would, however, suggest that some modification of the locum repositionis take place so that the sobriety of Good Friday be maintained. To my mind this would mean (applying the principles of traditional adornment and restraint—which cannot be outlined in great detail here) removing the plants and flowers at this altar as well as all of the superfluous candles. Accordingly, the basic liturgical and canonical requirements would remain at this altar; two candles, sanctuary lamp (perhaps the tabernacle veil) and the altar cloths and carpet. All of this remains solely because the Blessed Sacrament is present. The Ciborium then, is brought from this altar to the main altar for Holy Communion on Good Friday.

Any of the liturgical authors such as Fortescue and Wapplehorst spell this out in great detail.

Somehow a notion that has emerged in the United States that Solemn adoration means simply the presence of the Eucharist the Church, at least on this occasion. A moment’s thought reveals the shallowness of this way of thinking in that its logical conclusion is to remove the Sacrament from the Church and place It somewhere else (usually in a safe or cupboard of the sacristy).

To be clear: this understanding is CORRECT, but MISPLACED in the liturgical sense. It is clear that at least for part of the Triduum, the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in two places, one for the Liturgy of Good Friday (locum repositionis) and another OUTSIDE the Church for the sole purpose of Viaticum. It is also in this second location that the hosts which may remain before the Mass of the Lord’s Supper are placed (since the main Tabernacle is to be conspicuously empty) and to which the remaining hosts after Communion on Good Friday are taken after the ablution of the fingers.

It would seem that these two locations are important: First, because the Missal makes it clear that enough bread is to be consecrated on Holy Thursday for both that Mass and the Communion of Good Friday, hence no mixture of pre-triduum hosts with those consecrated on Holy Thursday night. Second, these three days are considered as one in a liturgical way: each is another part or continuation of what preceded.

The insistence of receiving the elements consecrated during a particular liturgy is most important here. Because the faithful receive in this way, it seems that the Sacrament should remain in the Church, until after Communion on Good Friday and only then removed to the sacristy. The old phrase of “in actu functionis” seems to sum this up.

I suspect that the common practice of putting Christ in the Sacristy is a reaction to a fear of the faithful paying more attention to the reserved Sacrament than the liturgy. After all, this has been a fairly common complaint in some circles and we have seen the fruit of this understanding… tabernacles removed permanently from Churches, Eucharistic Chapels (some of which are barely accessible, or only accessible by walking through the Sanctuary!) and churches that have been remodeled in such a way as to obliterate all foci and symmetry.

But since we believe, lex credendi, that the Eucharist is both meal and sacrifice, the Eucharistic presence encompasses both Thursday and Friday. The tradition of the altar of repose makes this link. It is a moment when precisely because the location of the Eucharist is different, but still in the Church, that this connection between meal and sacrifice can be explained to the faithful.

I was formed in an environment where the altar of repose was a major undertaking, no expense was spared and it remains one of the most beautiful parts of the Triduum for me. I have brought this experience to my people and tried to foster this sense in them. To be sure, it’s a lot of work and beeswax candles are costly, but the catechetical value of the experience in addition to truly following the rubrics and interpreting them in light of an understanding of continuity, exposes to our people the mystery of salvation more fully as it is enshrined for us in these three holy days.

Next week, for the first time in my parish, the Holy Eucharist will remain at the altar of repose until Holy Communion on Good Friday; and only then will the ciborium be placed in the safe for the communion of the dying.