St Michael’s church in communion row

St Michael’s church in communion row

  • 26 Jun 2013
  • Hindustan Times (Mumbai)
  • Manoj Nair Page 8

MUMBAI: Do you take your communion – a Christian religious rite in which consecrated bread and wine are given to believers by a priest as memorials of Jesus’s death – while kneeling down or standing?

This is the question being asked by members of St Michael’s Church, Mahim, where a priest is reported to have refused communion on Saturday to a worshipper because he had knelt down to receive the wafer and wine offered to him.

Church members who are protesting, say both positions are allowed in their religious rules but priests said people who knelt down were wasting time and holding up the long queue of people waiting for communion.

Dominique Fernandes, a member of the church, was in the queue when the priest declined to give communion to the man who was ahead of him. “He was not from our church and had knelt down out of respect. I complained to the priest that it was wrong to deny him communion but I was asked to leave by the

At St Michael’s Church (right), Mahim, on Saturday, a priest allegedly refused communion to a worshipper because he had knelt down to receive the wafer and wine

Church members who are protesting, say both positions are allowed under rules. ushers,” said Fernandes.

Community groups have criticised the priest’s behaviour. Gordon Jacobs of the Association of Concerned Catholics which has complained to the Archbishop of Bombay about Saturday’s event, said, “The old way of receiving communion was to kneel down and receive it on the tongue. Now, the practice is to stand and take it in your hand. Both ways are acceptable.”

“You cannot refuse communion just because a person is kneeling down,” said Arcanjo Sodder, another member.

Father Simon Borges, parish priest of St Michael’s church, said, “People may kneel down out of a sense of reverence, but they hold up the line. There is always a long queue of people waiting for communion, so they are asked to remain standing,” said Borges.

Recent events have added to this confusion. A few years ago, an archbishop in Scotland said people taking communion should stand as it was a mark of respect. But a year before this announcement, Pope Benedict XVI was seen giving communion to people who were kneeling down.


About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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5 Responses to St Michael’s church in communion row

  1. This is height of ignorance with the clergy, Vatican II does allow Holy Communion to be taken standing and in the Hand, yet it also permits those who wish to receive the Holy Host on the tongue and kneeling.This incident at The Mahim Church is defiance to the rule and arrogance and total ignorance of the rules. What is more surprising was the newly appointed Parish Priest was a witness and did noting to correct the situation, may be he also is ignorant of the rule.
    Tomorrow is the Feast of Our Blessed Mother and Our Dear Cardinal Oswald Gracias would be celebrating Holy mass and Communion, he is a native of this parish and a word of apology to the laity would be in order.
    Please also be informed that There is support coming in from many many laity and even clergy on this issue.
    CBCI and CCBI should also send out a clarification which must be read at all masses for a week to ensure the laity know their religious rights.
    Its a shame our clergy is all out at sea, the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

  2. Maria Magdalena Almeida e Vales says:

    If one’s faith prompts him or her to receive The Eucharist kneeling then by all means he or she should be able to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus thus. It used to be received kneeling down along a railing with the hands under the white cloth covering the railing, earlier. Only because, it may have become time taking or inconvenient for the Priest to move from one end to another and to bend a little to distribute communion, as the railing kept filling up, they may have decided to have the Priest or the Extraordinary Minister stand in one place and the communicants walk up in a file and and receive The Eucharist, either on the tongue or on their palms and stand aside for a moment and put the particle in the mouth and look into the palm for any particle left there and accordingly consume it. In fact each and every particle consists of the Body and Blood of Jesus and care is to be taken that these particles receive due reverence and do not fall on the floor and be trampled upon(sacrilege). Yet, communicants receiving The Eucharist on the palm of the their hands just seem to mechanically take the Body and Blood of Jesus by their fingers and pop it into their mouths whilst walking away, without even giving a thought to the fact that some fragment may have been left on the palm and that he or she is required to give due respect and lick it off the palm in reverence. Whether it is done out of ignorance or with a mere gesture of ‘it does not matter at all’, is not explainable and depends on the catechises one has received. But it pains me to see such callousness. I have brought this to the notice of many and even to the priests to educate the congregation that every particle comprises of the entire Body and Blood of Jesus (mystery), and therefore those receiving The Eucharist on the palm of the hand ought to check for the presence of such particles. I am patiently waiting to hear the priests make announcements to this effect. I remember, when I was small, if a Host had to accidentally fall onto the floor, that area was cordoned off till the Priest attended to it. Nowadays, even the little plate held under the chin is not used sometimes.
    Some of the Priests delete or set some rules on their own, which do not conform to the traditions of the Church, because of uniformity perhaps, like, kneeling down after the Santus till before the Lord’s Prayer and again after the Agnus Dei till time of receiving Communion, because the rest of the community is standing. Then again, not singing the Our Father because it takes time or because all should take part by reciting, can all not take part in singing as well, if not better? There are such masterpieces of music renditions of the Our Father, should we discard them thus and let them become redundant? What a shame! Yet again, some Priests are not in favour that ladies wear veils, because it disturbs the uniformity of the ‘others” who do not wear veils. And definitely not, if she has to go up onto the altar or lectern. In fact, 1 Cor 11, states that women need to cover their heads, to show respect to their husbands, so where has it been said or written that the ladies should no longer wear veils? This is how the fervour and due respect is dampened unnecessarily. I hope that the right messages and signals are given to the faithful. As it is, a lot of people are moving away from the One,True,Holy,Catholic and Apostolic Church, so let us refrain from diluting our faith handed down by Jesus,from St Peter throughout the ages to the present day., which has stood the test of time inspite of all odds, and, unfortunate and unholy clergy.

  3. Pingback: St Michael’s church in communion row « EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church

  4. Sahsha says:

    The ushers and priests at St. Michaels church need to learn manners and etiquette. They basically think that the heavens have opened up and been delivered to man kind for their aid, the ushers are always passing judgement and telling people to do this and that, the priests are a different issue altogether. So Dear Ushers and Priests, if u are listening, please leave behind ur pathetic attitude while entering the house of GOD.

    • Hello Sahsha, the arrogance within begins from the head.of the institute. Its time the laity stand up and question their arrogance and those who assist them in interaction with we the people. Have you ever tried to reach our Dear cardinal Oswald Gracias on the phone. First you encounter a female who scans you as if you are a terrorist, once you pass the test, you are then questioned in the most rude manner by a male person, who I am told is the secretary to our Dear Cardinal.
      Just in case you would like to share this experience please call The Archbishops House any week day, on tel nbr 22021093,Do share your experience with us on this site.Thanks

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