Receiving the Eucharist...at your own hand...at home

This is something I've been dying to ask Catholics! I'm about to start RCIA and become one myself :)

As a child in the UK I remember a programme on Sunday mornings which was 'the mass' basically and it encouraged viewers to join in by having a candle, some bread and a glass of wine to hand. I tried to join in but I was about 8 - so I had a yellow pencil for candle, a slice of normal bread and some blackcurrent squash. I know it sounds funny - but even as a child, when I realised I'd not been baptised, I decided I should baptise myself and I had a bath and remember my (very considered) words at the time "Please God, bless this water and make it holy" and then I had the bath and said something like "Please baptise me in the name of the father...etc". I mention this only to clarify that my memory of this programme was very clear - not something I imagined, though few people seem to remember it.

I raised the question of this 'mass at home' programme on a different forum once and was surprised to hear that many people who didn't/couldn't attend church - or who felt the church itself 'wasn't for them', found great solace in receiving communion at home. I didn't go as far as to ask what their usual ritual was in this regard - or if they bought the wafers or based it on the Catholic mass. But some received it every day at home and at their own hand - others less frequently.

I personally understand where they're coming from and can't see that Jesus himself would say they were wrong. Remember, he reprimanded the apostles when they complained a 'non member' was baptising people in his name.

So this is my question...do you think it's wrong? Do you think it would be as valid as receiving communion from a priest? And if not, why not? I look forward to hearing what people make of this idea :) And thank you for your time X

NOTE: Sometimes I think we focus way too much on the letter of the law and lose the spirit of the law - and I see it quite a bit on this forum from time to time - I know it's cliched, but I do think it's worth wondering 'What would Jesus do?" - what would he say? Would he condemn? Would he celebrate? Would he be present at a persons 'home mass'?

Self-communication is forbidden.

“Communion is a gift of the Lord, given to the faithful through the minister appointed for this purpose. It is not permitted that the faithful should themselves pick up the consecrated bread and the sacred chalice; still less that they should hand them from one to another” (ID, no. 9).

[quote="MetalMark, post:2, topic:186343"]
Self-communication is forbidden.

[/quote]

Oh, boy.

Isn't communion in the hand or rather communion from the hand a form of self-communication?

“Communion is a gift of the Lord, given to the faithful through the minister appointed for this purpose. It is not permitted that the faithful should themselves pick up the consecrated bread and the sacred chalice; still less that they should hand them from one to another” (ID, no. 9).

This rule needs to be reworded big time. Say what you want but there seems to be a contradiction here if they allow communion in the hand.

[quote="ProVobis, post:3, topic:186343"]
Oh, boy.

Isn't communion in the hand or rather communion from the hand a form of self-communication?

[/quote]

no because you receive the Sacred Species from the minister.

Perhaps OP's childhood memory of this program is a little hazy. I am sure no broadcast of a Catholic Mass would encourage people to get ordinary bread and wine and consume them at home as some type of symbol of participation in Mass.

If she heard a reference to communion at home perhaps it was about ministers bringing the host to the home of a sick person and communicating there in the context of the approved rite for taking communion to the sick.

It is dear that a child would "play sacraments" and that is a time honored practice of Catholic children so no child who has done so is wrong, nor are they of course participating in valid sacraments through such play.

If someone has gone to communion in Church and rather than consuming the host immediately, as required, has in effect stolen it and taken it home without permission to consume later (and no doubt carried it in an unworthy manner) that is indeed a grave abuse, and if they are doing it with full knowledge and intent, a sacrilege. Yes since the NT speaks in many places about taking communion worthily I do think it is wrong, since Jesus himself stressed the sacred nature of this sacrament.

First of all, that is awesome you are joining the Faith! Congratulations!

If a priest did not consecrate the bread and wine, then the transubstantiation - the most important part of the mass – did not take place. Jesus was not present in the bread and wine. I have never heard of anything like this and the way you described it I can't imagine the CC approving it.

I see where you are coming from, but to me it just sounds more like a group gathering and praying. Kinda a bible study type feel.

PAX CHRISTI

[quote="puzzleannie, post:4, topic:186343"]

Perhaps OP's childhood memory of this program is a little hazy.

[/quote]

That's why I withdrew my comment. Not the proper place to discuss CITH.

[quote="puzzleannie, post:4, topic:186343"]
no because you receive the Sacred Species from the minister.

Perhaps OP's childhood memory of this program is a little hazy. I am sure no broadcast of a Catholic Mass would encourage people to get ordinary bread and wine and consume them at home as some type of symbol of participation in Mass.

If she heard a reference to communion at home perhaps it was about ministers bringing the host to the home of a sick person and communicating there in the context of the approved rite for taking communion to the sick.

It is dear that a child would "play sacraments" and that is a time honored practice of Catholic children so no child who has done so is wrong, nor are they of course participating in valid sacraments through such play.

If someone has gone to communion in Church and rather than consuming the host immediately, as required, has in effect stolen it and taken it home without permission to consume later (and no doubt carried it in an unworthy manner) that is indeed a grave abuse, and if they are doing it with full knowledge and intent, a sacrilege. Yes since the NT speaks in many places about taking communion worthily I do think it is wrong, since Jesus himself stressed the sacred nature of this sacrament.

[/quote]

NOTE: The programme may have been a different denomination - I was about 8 then and not brought up with any religion at all so I have no idea. But it was at a time when we only had 4 channels so it must've been on a main channel...I'll see if I can find out more about it...

[quote="ProVobis, post:6, topic:186343"]
That's why I withdrew my comment. Not the proper place to discuss CITH.

[/quote]

Thank you and how rude! No my memory of the service isn't hazy because I watched it every Sunday morning! I'll see if I can find out the name of it and then maybe some on youtube.

However...I don't think I'll bother! I asked in my OP what people though - but people didn't respond with their own considered thoughts so much as say it's against the RCC!

Does anyone have a considered opinion other than that I'm mistaken about the programme or other than quoting catechism etc.

Is there room for free thinking catholics at all in the church? My visits to this forum leave me concerned I'm afraid.

[quote="rainbowlitez, post:8, topic:186343"]
Thank you and how rude! No my memory of the service isn't hazy because I watched it every Sunday morning! I'll see if I can find out the name of it and then maybe some on youtube.

However...I don't think I'll bother! I asked in my OP what people though - but people didn't respond with their own considered thoughts so much as say it's against the RCC!

Does anyone have a considered opinion other than that I'm mistaken about the programme or other than quoting catechism etc.

Is there room for free thinking catholics at all in the church? My visits to this forum leave me concerned I'm afraid.

[/quote]

Well in the first place only a validly ordained minister of the Eucharist, ie: Priest can confect he Eucharist. So what you did was mimic a Mass, if it was a Mass and eat a piece of bread. You did not receive the Eucharist in any way shape or form. No harm no foul. You cannot however baptize yourself as far as I know in Catholicism or any other Christian group.

Yes there is plenty of room for free thinking in the Catholic Church.However as a Catholic you have to accept the basic tenets of the faith. For instance as a Catholic you have to accept the fact of transubstantiation, the changing of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. Not to do so puts you squarely outside the beliefs of the Catholic Church and puts you at odds with the Church. Hopefully when you start RCIA you will learn this and other things..

On reflection I suppose you can wonder and think and theorize over how and why such things occur, but in the end you still have to accept them

Best wishes and good luck

[quote="rainbowlitez, post:7, topic:186343"]
NOTE: The programme may have been a different denomination - I was about 8 then and not brought up with any religion at all so I have no idea. But it was at a time when we only had 4 channels so it must've been on a main channel...I'll see if I can find out more about it...

[/quote]

Put it this way - if it included prayers for the Pope at any stage then it would've been Catholic. If it didn't (but, say, included prayers for the Archbishop of Canterbury) then it would've been Anglican. High Church Anglicans call their services 'Mass' as well.

Assuming it was Catholic, the priest was doing a seriously imprudent thing, not to say that it necessarily would've invalidated the Mass though.

He was in error in seriously blurring the lines between sacrament and non-sacrament, and possibly confusing the people at home into thinking they were really physically receiving the Eucharist when they weren't.

[quote="palmas85, post:9, topic:186343"]
So what you did was mimic a Mass

[/quote]

I think people are missing the fact that I was 8 years old and following a TV programme.

My parents were not religious.

I was not brought up religous so this is something I did off my own back following the instructions of the TV programme.

I would assume it was Anglican - it certainly never mentioned the pope and it was in the UK.

I'll do a search to see if I can find the programme because it was on every week - once I find the name I'm sure there'll be clips on youtube...I keep thinking it was called "This is the Day" but I'm having no luck in my googling to find it - that could have been just another of the religious programmes I watched Sunday mornings!).

(The attitude of some on this forum (not this post in particular but others I've looked at) is making me reconsider wanting anything to do with RCC - I don't get much of a sense of the 'spirit of the law' and that disappointing in the least...but kinda disturbing if it's representative of Catholics as a whole. I guess I have some serious thinking to do about...in particular, what would Jesus would say about the RCC?)

[quote="rainbowlitez, post:11, topic:186343"]
I think people are missing the fact that I was 8 years old and following a TV programme.

My parents were not religious.

I was not brought up religous so this is something I did off my own back following the instructions of the TV programme.

I would assume it was Anglican - it certainly never mentioned the pope and it was in the UK.

I'll do a search to see if I can find the programme because it was on every week.

(the attitude of some on this forum is making me reconsider wanting anything to do with RCC - it's very much 'letter of the law' and not 'spirit of the law' for some people...I hope that's just because 'spirit of the law' types are more vocal and more present on this forum...if not...I have some serious thinking to do about what Jesus would say about the RCC!)

[/quote]

No I didn't miss the fact that you were 8 years old. I used to pretend to conduct Masses when I was that age as well. It's a lovely and touching thing to think of a child doing so. And I know a young girl who, while preparing for her own baptism, 'practiced' by baptising her dog and her dolls. I have no problem with her for doing that either, it's one of those things that kids do.

So rest assured it's not your behaviour that is at issue or of concern, rather that of the priest, if he was Catholic.

[quote="rainbowlitez, post:11, topic:186343"]
I think people are missing the fact that I was 8 years old and following a TV programme.

My parents were not religious.

I was not brought up religous so this is something I did off my own back following the instructions of the TV programme.

I would assume it was Anglican - it certainly never mentioned the pope and it was in the UK.

[/quote]

It was probably something put on by the Scottish Freechurch - it sounds like their style.

(The attitude of some on this forum (not this post in particular but others I've looked at) is making me reconsider wanting anything to do with RCC - I don't get much of a sense of the 'spirit of the law' and that disappointing in the least...but kinda disturbing if it's representative of Catholics as a whole. I guess I have some serious thinking to do about...in particular, what would Jesus would say about the RCC?)

The reason we partake of the Sacraments in groups rather than as individuals is that we are a religion of love. Love requires that there be more than one person in the room. It is because of love that we are not allowed to baptize ourselves - we must allow someone else to love us. We have to trust them to baptize us. We are not allowed to make our own holy communion because we must allow God's love to come to us through the other person.

But if you are planning to be a one-person church, then yes, you have a lot of thinking to do, because the Catholic Church is a group experience. It's not something you can do all by yourself. :)

[quote="LilyM, post:12, topic:186343"]
No I didn't miss the fact that you were 8 years old. I used to pretend to conduct Masses when I was that age as well. It's a lovely and touching thing to think of a child doing so. And I know a young girl who, while preparing for her own baptism, 'practiced' by baptising her dog and her dolls. I have no problem with her for doing that either, it's one of those things that kids do.

So rest assured it's not your behaviour that is at issue or of concern, rather that of the priest, if he was Catholic.

[/quote]

Thank you for clarifying - I'm almost sure the priest wasn't Catholic. The UK is meant to be Anglican so I really doubt he was Catholic. As I understand it, Catholics and Anglicans see the mass/eucharist differently - so perhaps that's it. All over youtube there are people of different denominations (mostly cults I should think) telling people that they can receive communion at home with friends. But if as Catholics believe, the priest carries the authority to perform the transubstantiation, then what they're doing is 'breaking bread' with their brothers in the name of Christ...not the same as a mass...not acceptable to Catholics...but I'd not go so far as to say it was wrong because I don't think Jesus would be saying 'hang on - there's no priest' - that's not right - they're in trouble! (jokey way of putting it but I think you get what I mean). I think the intention counts to an extent. But even if people receive the eucharist at home I also understand that would not be the same as mass...

Now...back to the googling and hope I can find that programme! (There were only 4 channels at the time and only about 4 religious programmes...how can it be so hard!).

[quote="jmcrae, post:13, topic:186343"]
It was probably something put on by the Scottish Freechurch - it sounds like their style.

The reason we partake of the Sacraments in groups rather than as individuals is that we are a religion of love. Love requires that there be more than one person in the room. It is because of love that we are not allowed to baptize ourselves - we must allow someone else to love us. We have to trust them to baptize us. We are not allowed to make our own holy communion because we must allow God's love to come to us through the other person.

But if you are planning to be a one-person church, then yes, you have a lot of thinking to do, because the Catholic Church is a group experience. It's not something you can do all by yourself. :)

[/quote]

I'm not planning to receive communion at home on my own - my post is just about people that said they did on a thread on another forum ages ago and I was curious to see if anyone else had heard of such a thing.

Truly, I have quite serious mobility (including agoraphobia) problems and getting to RCIA is going to be a logistical nightmare...I just hope I will be able to get to church afterwards! I guess time will tell.

I suppose that raises questions for me too - in what way am I part of a church if I can't go to it?!

Well...I'm giving up looking for the programme...I think it was called 'This is the Day'. I know it was on Sunday morning's must've been about 7-9am because no one else in the house was up except me. It started with an intro saying if you wanted to join in to have bread, wine and a candle ready. It was set in a church...maybe different churches each week but not sure about that either. And I wouldn't have thought it'd have been Catholic since this is the UK and RC programmes are rare!

So that's all I know...if I find anything over time I'll come back and post links to this post.

But in my brief search I found a lot of Christian groups celebrate communion at home - I watched a few youtube presentations and not one mentioned transubstantiation...so I think that's where the real difference comes in the belief as to what is happening.

Here's a link to one of the little presentations I found that I thought you might like to watch - even if it's just to criticise it!

youtube.com/watch?v=P0uERJ6qcis

Woah! Well...on the promptings of this post and my searching around I happened across a guy preaching on youtube about receiving communion at home with friends...so I thought I'd look at some of the others and what they say (to see if any mentioned that they'd been part of an organised church at any time and what changed their mind mostly...I didn't find that)...but what I did find is this...

youtube.com/user/bbol2008#p/u/2/WdsLN6gT9YI

  • hope the link works!

It seems to be a guy who's on a mission to point out flaws in organised religion in general. It won't change my mind but I do like to consider all sides of an arguement! So I've posted it in case anyone else wanted to have a look...

[quote="rainbowlitez, post:15, topic:186343"]
I'm not planning to receive communion at home on my own - my post is just about people that said they did on a thread on another forum ages ago and I was curious to see if anyone else had heard of such a thing.

Truly, I have quite serious mobility (including agoraphobia) problems and getting to RCIA is going to be a logistical nightmare...I just hope I will be able to get to church afterwards! I guess time will tell.

I suppose that raises questions for me too - in what way am I part of a church if I can't go to it?!

[/quote]

In the same way as anyone who suffers from a disability preventing attendance, or lives in a remote area without church buildings or priests, or what have you, is part of the Church. God knows our hearts, knows we'd be there if we could and makes allowances. The only difficulty is with those who CAN be present and choose not to attend - they are really severing themselves from the Body of Christ.

We can either be spiritually present, say by watching Mass on TV and making a spiritual communion, or have a priest or EMHC visit us at home to give us Communion so we can fully share the Eucharist with our fellows.

[quote="LilyM, post:18, topic:186343"]
In the same way as anyone who suffers from a disability preventing attendance, or lives in a remote area without church buildings or priests, or what have you, is part of the Church. God knows our hearts, knows we'd be there if we could and makes allowances. The only difficulty is with those who CAN be present and choose not to attend - they are really severing themselves from the Body of Christ.

We can either be spiritually present, say by watching Mass on TV and making a spiritual communion, or have a priest or EMHC visit us at home to give us Communion so we can fully share the Eucharist with our fellows.

[/quote]

Thank you hun...that's reassuring. I'm gradually getting over my agoraphobia (it's been 17 years now) and there have been time when I've been able to go outside on my own and stuff...but as soon as there's a stress or something unusual happens I risk 'going into one'...and when that happens it can set me back massively...it's about 2 months since I left the house now. I suppose it'd be easier if I could find someone to go with me to the church but 17 years of agoraphobia leaves you short of friends! And I don't want to ask a relative stranger to help - even though they might - because if I have a panic attack or something...well...it's not fair on them basically. I hope I'll find a way around it - even if I go on a week day mass instead of Sunday when it's more busy - that way, if anything happens, it won't be so disruptive and embarassing!

I'll think of something :-) Where there's a will there's a way! XXX

Anna, going back to your first post in this thread, I think it's lovely what you did. And while the bread and blackberry stuff would not have become the Body and Blood of Christ in the same way that the bread and wine are changed at Mass, I'm quite sure our dear Lord blessed you abundantly for wanting to receive communion so much.

What you did could be called a Spiritual Communion. You can still make a Spiritual Communion prayer now, while you wait to enter the Church. You can, in your own words, tell Jesus how much you love Him and want to receive His Body and Blood, and ask Him to come spiritually into your heart. Or you can Google for a set prayer - there are some very nice ones.

Welcome home!
Betsy

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