Letter from Bishop John M. D’Arcy
Diocese suspends the administering of holy Communion through the chalice
Oct. 13, 2009
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
After consulting with the regional vicars and receiving competent medical advice, I have determined in the best interest of the health of all in our communities and especially our young children, that we will suspend the administering of holy Communion through the chalice. This will be effective the weekend of Oct. 17-18, 2009 — the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time. In reaching this decision, we have consulted medical authorities, especially Dr. Deborah McMahan, health commissioner of Allen County. Dr. McMahan informs us that the present situation is classified as a pandemic, meaning that individuals do not have any natural immunity to H1N1. Dr. McMahan has endorsed the suspension of drinking from the cup. This was also the advice from the majority of our regional vicars.
The H1N1 virus may have run its course in three months, or it may last longer. We will monitor the situation, but I want to make it clear that no parish may give holy Communion from the cup until the suspension is lifted. That will be done as soon as the present serious situation has eased.
This suspension applies to all parishes and at all Masses: Sundays, solemnities and weekdays. I urge that it also be followed by religious houses.
Also, for further protection of the health of all, the greeting of peace is optional or may be given verbally or by a nod of the head.
We do this not only for parishioners, but for the wider community. Protecting all, especially our dear young children, must be the concern of everyone.
Let us remember the age-old teaching of the church. The body and blood of Christ is fully present and totally received under either species.
The eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ. — Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1377.
I shall remove this suspension as soon as the competent authority tells us that the danger is over.
With every best wish and prayer, I remain
Sincerely yours in our Lord,
Most Reverend John M. D’Arcy
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