The Body and Blood of Christ

  As RCIA leaders and catechists, we approach the beginning of Lent and the season of spring with the excitement and anticipation of welcoming new members into the body of Christ. Baptism and Confirmation are followed by the wonderful reception, for the first time, of the Body and Blood of Christ. Let us remember, just for a moment, our own First Holy Communion. Perhaps we received Jesus under the species of bread only, or we may have received the Body and Blood of Christ under the appearances of both bread and wine. If we are cradle Catholics, it occurred during our childhood, perhaps at the age of seven or eight; if we entered the Catholic Church as adults, we remember this wonderful event as part of a whole constellation of ceremonies. Surely we desire for our candidates and catechumens the fuller sacramental sign--receiving the Body and Blood of Christ under the appearances of both bread and wine.    

There has been some confusion recently in the press and in Catholic blogging circles concerning the frequency of receiving the Body and Blood of Christ under both species, particularly in the United States of America. I have been doing some research in an effort to clarify this confusion and put it to rest. This study explores the history and praxis of reception of Holy Communion under both species: some information contained herein may be useful to you in resolving issues concerning this within your own parishes.

 Sincerely yours,

Joyce Stolberg

The Body of Christ; The Blood of Christ: Theology, History, and Praxis