14 December 2014 + Third Sunday of Advent + Gaudete Sunday
This weekend we celebrate Gaudete Sunday, which means we are nearing Christmas. It is now the time to formally begin decorating for the celebration of our Lord's birth. This past week we began Advent confessions for our CCD students. This week will be confessions nearly every night throughout our deanery. Confessions for our area will be on Thursday night at St. Joseph Church in Boyd. If this doesn't work out for you check out the deanery schedule.
I received a call this week from Msgr. Michael Gorman, Vicar General for the Diocese of La Crosse, who informed me that I was elected by the priests of the diocese to serve on the Presbyteral Council, which is an advisory council of priests to the Bishop. This will involve several meetings in La Crosse throughout the year. While I am humbled to serve on this council, I am less and less anxious to make the drive each time.
You should be receiving my annual Christmas letter in the mail very soon. We are still in the process of cleaning up our mailing list, and have discovered some errors. If you don't get a letter please let the office know. The letter comes with an invitation for brunch put on by our Knights of Columbus on Sunday, December 28th at Holy Family Hall. We will have a display of our three capital improvement projects and a question and answer time at 1:00pm that day. A pizza-and-movie door prize for a parish household will be drawn as well.
I have been asked several times by parishioners about having both forms offered for Holy Communion - the Body and Blood of Christ. I have been resistant to have the host and the chalice for several reasons. First, we would more chalices than we have. Second, many people are resistant to drinking from a common cup. It is often times the case that we have to suspend this anyway when the cold and flu season begins. Third, you need double the Eucharistic ministers for every Mass. My preference has always been the practice of intinction . Intinction is when the host is slightly dipped into the Precious Blood and then given on the tongue by the Eucharistic minister. It takes the same amount of Eucharist ministers that we have presently, and there is no drinking from a common cup. An additional advantage is that the Precious Blood is always available for those who have problems with gluten intolerance. This is becoming a more common problem and we have several parishioners already who cannot receive the host.
Intinction does require a special vessel with a Eucharistic plate and cut combination. We have a few already. Recently, a pastor gave me six intinction sets that were not being used in his parish. With these six we have enough to begin the practice. For receiving both forms, the Eucharistic minister takes the host, dips it into the Precious Blood and then says, "The Body and Blood of Christ." The recipient responds, "Amen," just as one normally does. The host then must be placed on the tongue of the recipient by the Eucharistic minister. It cannot be received in the hand for obvious reasons. If the recipient holds out his or her hands, only the host may be received. If someone who is gluten intolerant wants only the Precious Blood, the recipient should indicate that to the Eucharist minister who then says, "The Blood of Christ" followed by the recipient's response of "Amen." The small cup is then given to the person to take a small sip. The cup is then given back to the Eucharistic minister to be placed back on the plate. We will begin this practice next weekend with a further explanation from the pulpit. This will be the practice from then on. I am asking all Eucharistic ministers to come to the sacristy before the Mass you serve to get further instructions from me or Deacon Willkom. Those in the choir loft will not have this option since we do not want the Precious Blood spilled going up and down stairs. Intinction will only be used on the main level of the church.
Advent blessings and best wishes,