As Father Jay Finelli reminded me today, in times of pestilence Communion on the hand is not necessarily the answer to the problem, as the hands are often the primary way the disease is passed from person to person.
First, instruct the faithful to extend their tongues beyond their lips. Ask them to hold their heads up right, rather than leaning forward.
Offering the faithful the opportunity to receive kneeling at the communion or altar rail is best as this provides a stable pause so that the communicant is less likely to become a “moving target” which increases the possibility of contact with saliva or dropping the sacred Host.
Many priests lay the near edge of the host down first, raising the far edge up to do so, for contact with the tongue, or grasp the side of the host; both increase likelihood of contact with the tongue of the communicant.
When arriving at the position of each communicant, grasp the Host with a minimal contact area on the near edge. This technique, of course, improves with practice. Your palm should be facing downward.
As you move the Host toward the tongue of the communicant point the forward edge of the host downward and closer to the middle of the tongue to make first contact.
As the forward edge of the Host makes contact with the tongue, release your grasp and allow the Host to fall completely upon the tongue.
I’ve been giving Communion this way for almost 27 years and have seldom made contact with or spread saliva between communicants.
And wash your hands prior to Mass. There’s a prayer to go with it:
Da, Domine, virtutem manibus meis ad abstergendam omnem maculam; ut sine pollutione mentis et corporis valeam tibi servire.
“Give virtue to my hands, O Lord, that being cleansed from all stain I might serve you with purity of mind and body."
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