Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Don't bite!

Every once in a while at St. Peter's something happens that provokes the priest into giving a little scolding before the final blessing. Well, maybe not quite a scolding...
Today it was the earnest request that those who desire to receive Holy Communion on the tongue open their mouth and hold the tongue out long enough to let the minister place the Host on it without getting bitten!
I know what he was talking about. I served as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion for quite some time. You really have to be on your toes, ready to respond to people's unstated preference without breaking the prayerfulness of the moment. But it's really hard to manage when you have to slip the Eucharist between their teeth and the only thing that comes to mind is putting quarters in a Coke machine.
Back in the day when Communion on the tongue was the only option, we were taught to tilt our head back slightly (we would also be kneeling at the Communion rail), open wide and hold our tongue out to make it easy for the priest (only the priest in those days) to place the Host reverently. I suspect that many people today did not receive that kind of instruction.  (Did you?)

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