I've seen this done, in Rome in the late 1950s or early 1960s. At the sound of the bell, people would place a lighted candle in their windows as the priest passed by, carrying the Blessed Sacrament.I don't know why it is no longer done.
Is the bell so that people can kneel as the Body of Christ is carried past? A fine tradition, but it would also need some education to tell parishioners what they are supposed to do!Sadly few Catholics kneel even during an obvious Eucharistic procession. I have been to Masses where extraordinary ministers carry hosts out just before the end of Mass to take to the sick, and I have been given puzzled looks when I kneel as they pass.On another point, according the Duffy the pre-Reformation English practice was for another two acolytes to walk in front of the priest carrying lighted candles. I don't know how (or if) they stopped the candles from blowing out, but even so the sight would have made it clear that something important was happening; God was passing by.
Dear FatherThanks for sharing these great pictures!There is a story about St. Philip Neri spotting a man leaving Holy Mass straight after receiving Holy Communion, but before the final blessing, and the saint sending the acolytes to go after him and catch him up in the street!Perhaps such an approach would stop the new and disturbing phenomenon of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion taking the Blessed Sacrament into the supermarket immediately after Mass...In ChristAlan and Angeline
Dear Alan and Angeline,I hope you were exaggerating for effect. You were, weren't you? I don't know any Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, but surely they can't be so ill formed? If you do know of this happening I hope you can do something to stop it.
South Queensferry, early nineties - the EEM's stuck the Blessed Sacrament (in a little case) in their back trouser pocket.
Dear FatherMy father, in Manchester, in the 1930s, regularly would see a Priest taking communion to somebody to whom he would administer the last Rites, and he would be accompanied by at least one, and preferably two servers in cassock and cotta, and carrying candles, and, if necessary, travelling on the bus or tram.
Dear Simon PlattSadly this is no exaggeration and we are trying to get it stopped.Today there are many such battles and we can at times feel as though we are in a fox-hole in a war zone.Please pray for all concerned!
I wonder how many men raise their head covering when they pass a church? how many do likewise when a funeral passes by? The age of respect seems to have passed us by. In Quebec where your picture was taken religion is now a minority interest. Congregations are well down, vocations are well down, and the birth rate is the lowest in Canada. The Provincial Government is aggressively secularist.
Dear Father, In my parish in Melbourne the priest, when taking Communion to a sick person, was accompanied by an acolyte in 2006. In the film "The Leopard" the priest and acolyte proceed in the manner described.Anthony B
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