Return Communion Wine for Baton Rouge Catholics | New
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Baton Rouge has asked pastors to make communion wine available to parishioners, beginning the first weekend of Advent, but churches are allowed to proceed at their own pace and address concerns about drinking from a common cup.
In a letter read out to churches in the diocese’s 12 civil parishes on Saturday, Bishop Michael Duca said he was easing the last of the restrictions imposed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Last week, I sent a letter to priests and deacons in the diocese confirming “that there are no longer diocesan mandatory COVID precautions in place for worship. I believe it is time, and I ask that all of our parishes return to full ministry lay participation at Sunday Mass as we did prior to the establishment of COVID protocols,” the letter reads.
The bishop said parishes should go ahead if they have ministers available to do so, including lay ministers.
“Each parish can move forward at its own pace, under the direction of its parish priest, taking into account the time needed to prepare lay ministers and the current desires and willingness of people to receive, once again, the chalice,” he said. writes Duca. .
In March 2020, Duca closed churches to help slow the spread of the coronavirus and granted dispensation to Catholics allowing them to miss mass on Sundays. Churches gradually reopened, first with attendance limits and mask mandates, until Duca withdrew the dispensation in June 2021. When Catholics returned to Mass, they were only offered bread to fellowship.
Wine may return for Vigil Masses on November 26, the Saturday before the first Sunday of Advent at the start of the new liturgical year.
Catholics and some Protestants believe that through a process called transubstantiation, the bread and wine used at Mass are transformed into the body and blood of Christ while maintaining their regular appearance.
“I remind the faithful that while receiving the chalice is a spiritually significant experience for many, it is not necessary to receive the fullness of Christ in Holy Communion. As always, receiving the chalice when offered is an optional choice. for the individual communicant,” Duca said.
In a letter sent to lay ministers last week, the Reverend Paul Yi of St. George’s Catholic Church acknowledged the possibility that some would be uncomfortable.
“I want to remain mindful and respectful of any apprehension or unease of the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion about distributing the Precious Blood at this time,” Yi wrote. “The general reception of the Precious Blood from the Chalice by the faithful is expected to be minimal initially, however the return of this action to our liturgical celebrations is an essential part of our worship.”
Yi said in his letter that from the time of Christ until about the 11th century, it was common for Catholics to receive both bread and wine. In the 12th century, it was customary to receive only bread, and in 1415 the Council of Constance decreed that wine would not be offered to the faithful. Church laws were revised in 1963 to allow bishops to offer wine in their dioceses.
The Diocese of Baton Rouge has approximately a quarter of a million Catholics in a dozen civil parishes in southern Louisiana.
The National Catholic Reporter wrote in March that priests in Memphis, Tennessee had been given the opportunity to offer wine from a common cup starting in April as part of a local relaxation of pandemic restrictions. . Some Episcopal dioceses have relaxed restrictions on the spring communion cup, including in Mississippi.