Author Archives: Karen

About Karen

I'm a cradle Catholic stay-at-home mother of 2 little ones under two (a girl and a boy) and wife to my handsome husband J. I am constantly, consistently, relentlessly trying to grow in my faith and in my abilities as a good wife and mom. I can't imagine life any other way, and my family and faith mean the world to me :)

When Precious Blood is Spilled

Standard

This past Sunday, I attended Mass with my husband and 3-month old daughter as usual. And as usual, there were the reverent and irreverent parishioners, there were readings, there were songs, there was a homily, and there was a Consecration.

But unlike the usual Communion time, there was a commotion near the altar steps. At first I wondered if some poor elderly parishioner had fainted or if someone tripped down the steps. Indeed the latter might have happened, but it wasn’t the cause of the commotion:

An Extraordinary Minister of the Holy Eucharist had spilled Precious Blood. They quickly addressed the issue and moved on to completing the distribution of the Eucharist, but it certainly caused quite a stir.

So what do you do if you spill Precious Blood either on your clothing or on the floor?

I was curious as to the answer to this, so I Googled. Though I couldn’t find the physical Canon Law on the matter in my admittedly brief search, I did find this, this, and this. I thought I would share, though I urge you to talk to your priest should you encounter these situations before acting on it to prevent improper handling.

Normally, when disposing of Precious Blood after Mass, the Precious Blood must be consumed (this happens at the altar by the priest after the distribution of the Eucharist is complete), and the chalice may be rinsed with clean water. This water may be poured directly onto the ground (some parishes have a special drain that specifically drains into the ground called a Sacrarium) but should never be poured down a normal drain (no element of Christ, or something who touched him, should ever reach a sewer). Under no circumstance is the Precious Blood to be poured down the Sacrarium, but the water that rinses the chalice after consumption can be, though, again by no means down a normal drain. The idea is that, though the water has touched residual Precious Blood, the amount of Blood left is so tiny that Christ is no longer truly present in it and is the reason why it can be discarded, with reverence, on the ground. The purificators are soaked in water, with the water discarded in the Sacrarium as well.

Should Precious Blood be spilled on the ground, purificators should be used to soak it up, and soaked as normal with the water discarded in the Sacrarium.

Most of us will never deal with this on our own if we are never Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Eucharist, and if you become an EM, you’ll almost assuredly be trained in how to handle such issues.

If Precious Blood spills on your clothing as a parishioner, one article I found has a priest who advised that soaking the article of clothing at your earliest convenience in a bowl of clean water to get as much of the Precious Blood out as possible and then taking that water and discarding it on the ground (again, not down a drain) before washing the clothing in a washing machine is sufficient.

I pray that no one reading this ever faces needing to handle spilled Precious Blood. Ideally we would have perfectly nimble hands and feet where there would be zero risk of this most grave issue, but obviously our fallen state includes unintended clumsiness, and it’s useful to know how you might proceed.

***As always, you should ask your priest before taking the advice from a blog should you encounter these issues, and it’s always a good idea to take the most conservative and reverential approach you can.***

Advertisements

Be “in” the World, not “of” the World

Standard

Pope Benedict speaking to the masses at World Youth Day

Interested in seeing what sort of news there was about World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain this year, I Googled “Pope visits Spain” to see what came up. What  surprised me was not the many articles on World Youth Day and his goals of inspiring the masses, but the several articles that came up detailing him being protested.

I’ve always found it interesting how bad news makes for the most popular stories, and it seems ever more likely that bad news regarding the Catholic Church is bound to get far more press than good news. These articles ignore the nearly 1 million attendees at World Youth Day while promoting the cause of the roughly 1,000 protesters whose range of complaints stretch from the Church’s stance on gay marriage to the Pope’s perceived culpability in sexual abuse scandals.

More loathsome than the emphasis on protests are the comments from readers that follow the articles. Any Catholic, and indeed any reasonable Christian, would feel at least a little nauseated after reading some of the vitriol posted about the Church, the Pope, or Christians in general. To summarize their general flavor, the Catholic Church, the Pope, and indeed all Catholics are nitwits, pedophiles, and intolerant hateful bigots. I was about to get angry about all this, and then I realized something.

This is what is supposed to happen. The hate, the disgust, the bad media—these only prove that we are doing something right. Christ even told us, in John 15:18-19, “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.”

The poor reaction of the world to our Church only highlights the need to be ever more present with our faith. And what better way to be present in the world (without being “of” the world), especially as the younger generation continuing the faith, than to participate in an event like World Youth Day?  What is more evident today of the strength of our Church than a mass of young people coming together bearing rosaries, scapulars, bibles, prayer books, and catechisms. And most importantly, bearing a common prayer of thanksgiving for the faith we’ve been given and for the most holy sacrifice our Lord made for us so that we might be able to stand together, cleansed of sin, and pray for the transformation of those protesters whose hearts have been hardened to Christ’s love.