RITE FOR ADMINISTERING HOLY COMMUNION APART FROM MASS
1. When a priest is about to administer the holy Eucharist outside of Mass, he will have on hand a sufficient number of consecrated particles for all who are to communicate. In addition there should be in readiness at a convenient place one or more vessels containing wine and water for the purification of the communicants,* and a clean linen cloth should be extended before them. The candles on the altar are lighted. Having washed his hands, the priest vests in surplice and a stole which should be either white or the color suited to the day's office (on All Souls' a purple stole is used instead of black). Preceded by a cleric or another assistant, the priest goes to the altar with hands folded, or he carries before his breast the burse containing the corporal. He genuflects, ascends to the predella, opens the tabernacle, genuflects, takes out the ciborium which he places on the corporal, and uncovers it. The assistant kneels on the epistle side, and says the "Confiteor" in the name of the people.
* This rubric is still observed in the Mass of ordination, but in general has fallen into disuse.--Trans.
2. Then the priest genuflects again, with hands joined turns to the people, taking care that he does not have his back turned to the Blessed Sacrament, and standing a little toward the gospel side, he says:
May almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you your sins, and lead you to everlasting life. All: Amen.
May the almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon, absolution, and remission of your sins. All: Amen.
As he says these words, he makes with his right hand the sign of cross over the communicants.
3. Then turning back toward the altar, he genuflects, takes the ciborium in his left hand and with his right removes a host which he holds between the thumb and index finger a little above the ciborium. He turns again to the people, and standing in the middle of the predella, says in a loud voice three times:
See the Lamb of God, see Him who takes away the sins of the world. Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but only say the word, and my soul will be healed. The people may join in saying the words Lord, etc.
4. If he gives holy communion to priests or other members of the clergy, they receive first, kneeling at the altar steps, or if more convenient, on the floor of the sanctuary, separate from the laity. (Pries and deacons who receive wear a white stole or one of the same color worn by the ministrant.) He then proceeds to the faithful and begins the distribution at the epistle side.*
* At the moment the priest gives the communicants the sacrament, they hold the paten below their chin (Instruction of S. C. S., dated March 2, 1929).
5. In giving the sacred host he makes with it the sign of the cross over the ciborium in the case of each person, saying simultaneously:
The body of Christ.
The communicant says: Amen.
6. When all have communicated, the priest returns to the altar places the ciborium on the corporal, genuflects, and then says:
O sacred banquet in which Christ becomes our food, the memory of His passion is celebrated, the soul is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is bestowed, (P.T. and on Corpus Christi: Alleluia).
P: You have given them the bread of heaven (P.T. and on Corpus Christi: Alleluia).
All: Which has all delight within it (P.T. and on Corpus Christi: Alleluia).
7. Then he adds:
P: Lord, heed my prayer.
All: And let my cry be heard by you.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you. Let us pray.
God who left us in this wondrous sacrament a memorial of your passion, help us, we beg you, so to reverence the sacred mysteries of your body and blood, that we may always experience the effects of your redemption. We ask this of you who live and reign with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. All: Amen.
In Easter time the following is said instead: Let us pray.
Pour out on us, O Lord, the Spirit of your love, so that we, fully nourished by the Easter mysteries, may be of one heart in your love; through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. All: Amen.
8. Before replacing the sacrament, the priest takes special care to deposit in the ciborium any fragment of host that may adhere to his fingers. Then he purifies in the finger bowl the fingers which touched the sacrament and wipes them with a purificator. The water used in purifying his fingers is later poured into the sacrarium, or some other decent receptacle, if there is no sacrarium. Lastly he replaces the ciborium in the tabernacle, genuflects, and locks the tabernacle.
9. Then lifting his eyes, extending, elevating, and joining his hands, and bowing to the cross, he says:
May the blessing of almighty God, here he turns toward the people and continues: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, come upon you and remain with you forever. All: Amen.
This blessing of the communicants takes place only when they receive outside of Mass, either immediately before or after.
10. The rite described above is observed also when a deacon gives holy communion. Whenever a bishop distributes communion outside of Mass, he blesses in the usual way, saying: "May the name of the Lord be blessed," etc., and makes the threefold sign of the cross.
11. During Mass communion of the people ought to follow immediately after that of the celebrant (although for a valid reason it may happen occasionally at a Mass said privately that it be distributed right before or after Mass), since the prayers which follow communion in Mass are not intended for the priest alone but apply to the other communicants as well.
12. Therefore, if some are to communicate during Mass, the priest having consumed the Precious Blood and before taking the final ablutions, places the consecrated particles in the ciborium, or on the paten when only a few will communicate, unless they have been in the ciborium or another chalice from the beginning. In the meantime the assistant extends the communion cloth before the communicants. If the ciborium is in the tabernacle, the priest genuflects after he has opened the tabernacle door. Then with the ciborium in his left hand, he holds a host just above it with his right, turns to the people squarely in the center, and says: See the Lamb of God, etc., as explained above He then gives the Eucharist to the communicants, beginning with the ministrants at the altar if they wish to receive. When the distribution is finished, he returns to the altar, without saying anything, neither does he give the blessing because he will impart it at the end of the Mass. Lastly he says the prayers of ablution as given in the Missal, consumes the final ablutions, and concludes the Mass.
13. Should it happen that some occasionally communicate immediately before or after a Mass said privately, then the priest will administer holy communion vested in the Mass vestments, in the same manner as is done outside of Mass as explained above; yet always omitting the Alleluia and the blessing at the end if black vestments are worn.
SECTION: Communion during Eastertime
Holy Eucharist - General Rules
Rituale Romanum Index