? about the Mass around 1858 in Lourdes, France

I’m reading a book about Bernadette Soubirous, and it says …“The 9 o’clock mass was being said for a women’s group; it was a policeman’s wife’s turn to distribute the blessed bread”…and that Bernadette “was chosen to bring it to the altar in church.”

I never heard of anything like this. It seems that hey did not receive communion every day at that time. I was just wondering about distributing the blessed bread. Was it just bread? Thanks very much for any replies.

Have a look here, in particular the 3rd paragraph from the end where pain bénit is mentioned.

In some countries there was, maybe still is, an old tradition of blessing bread and sharing it after mass. This was very common in France. From this article (written in the early 20th c.):

The little loaves or cakes of bread which received a special benediction and were then sent by bishops and priests to others, as gifts in sign of fraternal affection and ecclesiastical communion were also called eulogiae. Persons to whom the eulogia was refused were considered outside the communion of the faithful, and thus bishops sometimes sent it to an excommunicated person to indicate that the censure had been removed. Later, when the faithful no longer furnished the altar-bread, a custom arose of bringing bread to the church for the special purpose of having it blessed and distributed among those present as token of mutual love and union, and this custom still exists in the Western Church, especially in France. This blessed bread was called panis benedictus, panis lustratus, panis lustralis, and is now known in France as pain bénit. It differs from the eulogia mentioned above, because it is not a part of the oblation from which the particle to be consecrated in the Mass is selected, but rather is common bread which receives a special benediction. In many places it is the custom for each family in turn to present the bread on Sundays and feast days, while in other places only the wealthier families furnish it. Generally the bread is presented with some solemnity at the Offertory of the parochial Mass, and the priest blesses it before the Oblation of the Host and Chalice, but different customs exist in different dioceses. The prayer ordinarily used for the blessing is the first or second: benedictio panis printed in the Roman missal and ritual.

It sounds like St. Bernadette would have been familiar with this tradition. A similar tradition exists in the Byzantine Rite.

Such a nice custom - I kind of wish we could still do this. Thanks. :slight_smile:

I’ve often thought that there is no scriptural reason why a priest cant take a loaf and bless it tear it up and give the congegation the pieces. it would probably be more in keeping with the last supper anyway. :slight_smile:

we do this on Holy Saturday at the Easter vigil. They are white bread rolls, easily distinguished from Eucharistic bread, blessed and distributed after the Easter Vigil.

When I was a girl it was a custom in my Detroit parish during the day on Holy Saturday.

Daily communion is a VERY modern thing…when I was growing up most catholics only received communion once a month…confession was expected before each communion as well as a 12 hour fast from all food & water…my mother used to turn off the water to the bathroom sink so we wouldn’t mistakenly have a drink of water during the night and break the fast. In my grandparents day communion was even LESS frequent…for most people only once a year. So the blessed bread was a way for most people to be included in some way.

Daily communion for most would still be a very modern and unusual thing. I suspect you meant to say weekly communion. Although you are correct receiving communion that regularly was uncommon if you look back historically.

See the article below for the traditions of distributing blessed bread in Orthodoxy and the Eastern Catholic Churches:-


I recently read the autobiography of St. Therese who speaks about her sister Celine bringing the blessed bread home for her from Mass.

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