That’s the memorable remark of one priest to a member of his flock who consistently skipped communion. How should pastors handle this?
Catholic News Service has an interesting take:
Father Adam Forno occasionally notices parishioners skipping the Eucharist at St. John the Evangelist and St. Joseph parish in Rensselaer, where he is pastor.
Sometimes, a Massgoer doesn’t receive Communion because he or she has remarried without having a first marriage annulled. Other times, it is because of personal shame.
“We’ve got some people who just feel they’re not worthy,” Father Forno explained. “People have a strong sense of not being in right relationship with God, and so they honor that by not going to Communion as they were taught. But my sense is that you need Communion more than ever then.”
A man in one of Father Forno’s former parishes attended daily Mass, but he never received Communion. Father Forno approached him and said: “You come to supper with the Lord, but you don’t eat.” The priest asked if the man needed to reconcile anything with God and offered to help.
Several pastors throughout the Albany Diocese said they have spotted handfuls of Catholics at their parishes abstaining from the Eucharist, occasionally or habitually. They noted that many parishioners falsely believe being divorced or forgetting to pray are reasons to abstain.
Massgoers who stay seated during Communion present pastors and parish leaders with complex tasks of spiritual guidance. Whenever possible, parish leaders are advised to teach about church rules but help people differentiate between mortal and venial sin.
“It calls for such pastoral nuancing,” Father Forno said. “It’s not black and white.”
Check out the rest. Thoughts?