Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities, Revised Edition
The USCCB’s Divine Worship Secretariat has announced the publication of a revised edition of the Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities, which was first published by the USCCB in 1995. The new edition of the Guidelines was approved by the US Bishops at their June 2017 meeting, and it incorporates expanded information and guidance in light of recent medical and technological advancements. New and updated norms related to the distribution of Holy Communion to persons with feeding tubes, gluten intolerances, and age-related dementias are included in the revised Guidelines. All involved in pastoral ministry are encouraged to read this important document which may be downloaded directly from the USCCB’s website.
In July of this year, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued a circular letter to diocesan bishops and their equivalents concerning the bread and wine to be used for the celebration of the Eucharist. In its letter, the Congregation noted that the bishop is given the task of watching over both the quality of the bread and wine to be used for Mass, as well as those who prepare these materials. While, until recently, it was usually the case that religious communities were entrusted with the baking of bread and the making of wine for Mass, hosts and wine are now also routinely sold by large companies. In view of this, the Congregation has asked bishops to remind producers of these materials of the norms that must be observed. These include the following:
- “The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition. It follows, therefore, that bread made from another substance, even if it is grain, or if it is mixed with another substance different from wheat to such an extent that it would not commonly be considered wheat bread, does not constitute valid matter for confecting the Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Sacrament. It is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist. Hosts should obviously be made by those who are not only distinguished by their integrity, but also skilled in making them and furnished with suitable tools” (Redemptionis Sacramentum, 48).
- “The wine that is used in the most sacred celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice must be natural, from the fruit of the grape, pure and incorrupt, not mixed with other substances…. Great care should be taken so that the wine intended for the celebration of the Eucharist is well conserved and has not soured. It is altogether forbidden to use wine of doubtful authenticity or provenance, for the Church requires certainty regarding the conditions necessary for the validity of the sacraments. Nor are other drinks of any kind to be admitted for any reason, as they do not constitute valid matter” (Redemptionis Sacramentum, 50).
The Congregation also reiterated several guidelines originally published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith concerning the celebration of the Eucharist by persons who cannot consume bread or wine made in the usual manner:
- “Hosts that are completely gluten-free are invalid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist. Low-gluten hosts (partially gluten-free) are valid matter, provided they contain a sufficient amount of gluten to obtain the confection of bread without the addition of foreign materials and without the use of procedures that would alter the nature of bread.”
- “Mustum, which is grape juice that is either fresh or preserved by methods that suspend its fermentation without altering its nature (for example, freezing), is valid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist.”
- “The Ordinary is competent to give permission for an individual priest or layperson to use low-gluten hosts or mustum for the celebration of the Eucharist. Permission can be granted habitually, for as long as the situation continues which occasioned the granting of permission” (24 July 2003, Prot. N. 89/78 – 17498).
Pastors are to be advised that several companies producing hosts do so in both gluten-free and low-gluten forms, and that gluten-free hosts are not valid matter for the Eucharist. A list of suppliers of low-gluten hosts which are valid for use in the celebration of Mass may be downloaded from the USCCB’s website or acquired by contacting the Office of Liturgy.
With regard to wine to be used for the celebration of Mass, pastors should equally be aware that much of the wine that is sold in retail stores is either of doubtful liceity or validity. This is due to the fact that many products sold as “table wine” often contain added water (up to 25%), cane sugar, beet sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, other fruit concentrates, and stabilizing chemicals. In these cases, such wines do not satisfy the requirements that sacramental wine be “fruit of the grape, pure and incorrupt, [and] not mixed with other substances.” With this in mind, only wine that is labeled for sacramental use and which has received ecclesiastical approbation should be used for the celebration of the Eucharist. A list of companies that produce wine that is approved for sacramental use may be obtained from the Liturgy Office.
The Office of Liturgy and the Office of Adult Faith Formation have produced instructional videos for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and Lectors in both English and Spanish. The videos present the history and theology of these ministries and also discuss the practicalities of serving in these roles. Presenters include faculty members from St. Joseph’s Seminary. Parishes interested in obtaining copies of these videos may access them at our website.
A procession of the Blessed Sacrament may take place on this day or on another appropriate day near this feast. In 1975, the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship indicated that processions should not take place only within the body of a church, as this practice does not fully express the character of a “procession,” which should move from one place to another. The Congregation stated that a procession with the Blessed Sacrament should instead ordinarily move from one church to another church. Nevertheless, if local circumstances require, the procession may return to the same church from where it began.
The extended Vigil of Pentecost may be celebrated on this feast. The readings and psalms associated with the extended Vigil are newly included in the Lectionary for Mass Supplement, which was recently published in April of this year and announced in the March 2017 edition of the Liturgy Update.
The sequence Veni, Sancte Spiritus is obligatory only on Pentecost Sunday and not at the Vigil, unless, for pastoral reasons, the readings of Pentecost are proclaimed at the Vigil Mass. The extended dismissal consisting of “Alleluia, Alleluia” is said or sung at both the Vigil Mass and on Pentecost Sunday itself.
The Office of Liturgy will be hosting a workshop on Friday, October 13 from 3:00-5:00pm on “First Communion in the Context of the Liturgical Life of the Church.” This talk will be given at Saint Joseph’s Seminary by Dr. Donna Eschenauer, Ph.D., associate academic dean at Dunwoodie and the author of First Communion Liturgies: Preparing First-Class Celebrations. Registration for this workshop is $10 and may be accessed on the Liturgy Office website.
Clergy, religious, and lay faithful are invited to attend a ten-week course on the liturgical year and the environment of worship. The class will be taught by Fr. Matthew Ernest, S.T.D. and will take place on Mondays and Wednesdays, from June 12-July 24, at 7:00-10:00pm. Class meetings will be held at Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Poughkeepsie and televised via in-classroom technology to Saint Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers.
First-time students: $250 (audit)/$750 (3 credits)
Parish Musicians : $500 (audit)$750 (3 credits)
Others: $500 (audit)/$1500 (3 credits)
This course is being offered in conjunction with the Saint Cecilia Academy for Pastoral Musicians, a four-course, fully accredited program offered through Saint Joseph’s Seminary in the field of liturgical music for the purpose of introducing musicians to the history, theology, and pastoral principles of liturgy and sacred music. For more information about this summer liturgy course or the Saint Cecilia Academy, visit the Liturgy Office website.
In recent years, the Office of Liturgy has received several questions regarding the actions of concelebrants during the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation within Mass. Specifically, it has been asked whether all concelebrants should extend their hands over the confirmandi during the prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit which precedes the imposition of hand and anointing with chrism. This question may stem from some ambiguity in the rubric which accompanies this prayer in the newly translated Order of Confirmation. That rubric reads, “Then the Bishop lays hands over all those to be confirmed (as do all the Priests who are associated with him).”
The question as to whether those “Priests who are associated with the Bishop” refers to all concelebrants or only those who assist him in administering the Sacrament of Confirmation was addressed by the USCCB’s Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy in 1972, at the time of the promulgation of the post-Conciliar Confirmation rite. The Committee indicated that a distinction should be observed between those concelebrants who assist the Bishop in performing the chrismation and other priests who may be present to concelebrate the Confirmation Mass, but who do not perform the anointing associated with the conferral of the Sacrament of Confirmation. In this case, only those priests who anoint the candidates with the Bishop (as in the case of especially large groups of confirmandi) are to participate in the extension and imposition of hands during the prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The USCCB’s Divine Worship Secretariat has announced the forthcoming publication of several liturgical books which have recently received the recognitio from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The first of these is the English translation of Exorcisms and Related Supplications. This is the first English translation of the post-Conciliar De Exorcismus et supplicationibus quibusdam, which was promulgated in Latin in 2004. The English translation of this ritual book will be published by USCCB Communications and sold only to Bishops and designated exorcists. However, it is expected that Appendix II of this book, which contains a collection of prayers and supplications for the private use of the faithful, will be published for general use. More information about this ritual book may be found on the USCCB’s website, which offers a series of questions and answers regarding the Rite of Exorcism and its use in the life of the Church.
The Secretariat has also recently announced the Congregation’s confirmation of a “Book of the Chair,” which is entitled, Excerpts from the Roman Missal. This ritual book contains only those prayer texts which are used at Mass by the celebrant when he is at the presidential chair. Those portions of a typical Mass formulary which will be listed in Excerpts from the Roman Missal are the Entrance Antiphon, the Collect, and the Prayer after Communion. As well, this new book will include other ritual texts that are usually proclaimed apart from the altar, such the introductory rites for Palm Sunday and the Easter Vigil, the Rite for the Blessing and Sprinkling of Holy Water, and Solemn Blessings and Prayers over the People. This resource will be of particular value to those parishes with young altar servers, inasmuch as the book is only half the size of the current Roman Missal and much lighter and easier to carry and hold. It is expected that publication information for Excerpts from the Roman Missal will be announced in the forthcoming months.