On occasion over the last few months I have had parishioners approach me wondering when we will reinstate the offering of the Precious Blood at Communion time of Holy Mass. Perhaps there are others who have other questions in mind. Here is an answer.
Bottom line, I do not know when the Precious Blood will be reinstated. I do know we are coming up again on flu season, when many parishioners can be sick. And, of course, we are still in the middle of the COVID battle (it seems most specifically at this moment with the delta variant). Even people who have received the COVID injections are getting the delta variant, so I can't rely on injection percentages to think maybe we will be free of contagion in the parish. The CDC publishes on its website that the COVID injection does not prevent contracting COVID or spreading it. Here is the webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html. And here are three points on that page (accessed October 8, 2021):
- Infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant. When these infections occur among vaccinated people, they tend to be mild.
- If you are fully vaccinated and become infected with the Delta variant, you can spread the virus to others.
- People with weakened immune systems, including people who take immunosuppressive medications, may not be protected even if fully vaccinated.
I also believe that many people are still very afraid of catching COVID. I understand that fear. I can imagine that many would not choose to receive the Precious Blood.
Imagine trying to estimate the amount of wine to put into the chalices before Mass, when there could be many people who choose to avoid the Precious Blood, even when it is offered. What has to happen with the Precious Blood left over after Communion time? The ordinary and extraordinary ministers have to consume what is left over. That could be pretty difficult.
Finally, I should make it very clear that in the Host alone – without receiving Precious Blood from the chalice – the communicant is receiving the whole Jesus… Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Nobody is being deprived of the Whole Jesus by the fact that we are distributing Holy Communion only under one species (the appearance of bread). For many, many centuries the Church distributed only the Host at Communion time…. And the Eucharist created many saints in those centuries!
Let me also put in a plug for our need for extraordinary Eucharistic ministers (and volunteers in other areas of parish life, such as running the livestreaming during Mass). Right now it is already pretty difficult simply to schedule the two or three extraordinary ministers we need for Holy Mass without the Precious Blood. How would we schedule the three-or-so more necessary for each Mass? There's absolutely no way we would be able to distribute the Precious Blood smoothly with the current number of extraordinary ministers.
May we all be patient and beg the Lord to lead the Church wisely through these very trying times. Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu, Mariae et Josephus,