UPHOLDING THE SACRED
Restoring the Altar Rail & the Tabernacle

December 2006By Lyn Frances Elledge

Lyn Frances Elledge, T.O.P., is a member of the Third Order of Preachers (Dominicans) and is the founder of An Association of the Rosary, a Respect Life organization dedicated to the inviolable dignity of every human being that seeks the renewal of the Church through adoration of the Eucharist. For more information on the Association, which received an Apostolic Blessing from Pope John Paul II, write to: Lyn Frances Elledge, Founder; 300 S. John Redditt Dr. #606; Lufkin TX 75904.

Pope John Paul II sought to bring the Church into a deeper sense of the sacred, especially in relation to the Eucharist. And there is much evidence that Pope Benedict XVI is striving for this as well. John Paul II said that the Eucharist "is the greatest gift in the order of grace..." (Dominicae Cenae, #12).

At the October 2005 Eucharistic Synod of Bishops in Rome, Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, spoke for a change in the reception of Holy Communion in order to recover a sense of the sacred. He said that "Among the liturgical innovations produced in the Western world, two in particular tend to cloud the visible aspect of the Eucharist, especially as regards its centrality and sacredness: the removal of the tabernacle from the center and the distribution of communion in the hand.... Therefore, I humbly propose the following practical propositions: that the Holy See issue a universal regulation establishing the official way of receiving communion as being in the mouth and kneeling...." Cardinal Janis Pujats of Riga, Latvia, made similar comments.

As Jesus said, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food and my blood true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.... This is the bread that came down from heaven" (Jn. 6:53-56, 58). If the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Christ, should we not kneel in awe and worship when we receive it into our bodies? Christ gives us "bread from heaven having all sweetness within it." Each one of us who receives this bread from Heaven becomes a living Tabernacle.


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We can all make the point regardless of what the custom is at our parish, by kneeling to receive the Blessed Sacrament regardless of what others do. I kneel and Father gives me Communion. I kneel on one knee so as to be able to quickly get up again and not be disruptive, but I kneel. It's never been a problem, and if any priest dares deny me the sacrament simply because I choose to adore from below instead of from above, he'd have hell to pay. I don't go by the moniker "catholicmilitant" for no reason. Posted by: gespin3549
May 19, 2008 11:24 AM EDT
Yes, but some of us are not capable of even genuflecting without something to hold onto. At my church there is no way to hold onto a pew of anything else. Put back the communion rails. Posted by: Barbara
October 12, 2012 02:54 AM EDT
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