Full Question

When distributing Communion, my priest says, “Receive Jesus Christ” instead of “The body of Christ.” Is this okay?


The General Instruction of the Roman Missal states:

[The minister] raises the eucharistic bread slightly and shows it to each one, saying: "The body of Christ." The communicants reply: "Amen." (GIRM 117)

The liturgy is not private property. No one individual, including the priest, has the authority to change the rubrics according to personal taste or whim.


  • Hilary White says:

    I suggest you find a parish where you kneel down to receive and the priest says, “Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam suam ad vitam aeternam.”

    • Telma Dorcey says:

      I thought that after Vatican II mass was to be given in the language of the local people. I don’t know how many churches still say mass in Latin. Trying to find a church that gives mass in Latin may be difficult.

      • Db says:

        Vatican II gave permission to use the vinacular but in no way stopped the Latin. Disobedient Bishops did away with the Latin, communion rails, allowed communion in the hand and many more atrocities within the church. Many parishes are reviving the extraordinary form of the Mass; I belong to one such parish and it is beautiful.

      • Pat says:

        you are correct – but some people cling to old teachings –

        • Luke says:

          Vatican II never abrogated the Latin from the Latin Mass, indeed many of the documents and the missal suppose the continued use of Latin and many of the other “old teachings.”
          Also, since Summorum Pontificum, there are many avenues open to those who seek the ancient Mass.

      • Carol pelletier says:

        Latin is spoke at each mass daily on ewtn

    • lucia moro says:

      Correct latin says: “custodiat animam tuam ad vitam aeternam.” Your soul, not his soul.

  • Father FJC, Indiana says:

    Has someone addressed the priest blessing non-communicants who come up in the Communion line? I vacillate back and forth on the issue. I had a parishioner leave the parish when I wouldn’t bless a child at Communion. Now, people expect the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to give a blessing too.
    I wish the bishops would make a clear statement on this practice and also holding hands at the Our Father. I am afraid if I made a pronouncement eliminating these practices my bishop would be unhappy. (And I do not carry the political weight to survive my bishop being unhappy.)

    • surkiko says:

      Father, the pastor in my parish always invites non-Catholics and children who haven’t received their first HC to come forward to get a blessing. He also blesses the babies. I cannot say enough how that makes the parish family so warm and inviting. If family members and friends want to hold hands while reciting the Lord’s Prayer, I say amen to the great witness of love and fraternity. So until there’s explicit instructions to the contrary (very doubtful), let us be a faith community with the cup runneth over with faith, hope and charity (love).

    • david says:

      I do not know where the hand holding came from but I thought that when you pray it was as a combined single unit, not holding hands unit of the masses. I don’t like it and wont do it. I also don’t gesture back to the priest when we say “and with your spirit” What ever happened to the hands pressed against eachother or folded when you stand or kneal or going up for communion?

      • I agree with you. I do not see the reason of holding hands with my seatmate or neighbor. It could be disease communicating. Exactly, I never extend my hand. But sometimes I just can not refuse one who insist on getting my hands. It make me feel uneasy and disturbs the solemnity of the mass tho’. God bless!

    • brgeem says:

      Is it possible to know why you wouldn’t bless a child brought to the altar?

      • Shirley says:

        Understanding the sacredness of Who God is gives us the answer to your question. As a child, I was taught that every morsel & bit of the Eucharist was still God. It didn’t matter how small. Patens were used so no part of God hit the floor & became stuck under someone’s shoe & desecrated. While the priest is holding the most High God; it is his duty as a priest to ensure that nothing happens to any part of & to protect the Most Blessed Sacrament. The vessels & priest’s hands are purified after Communion & the remaining Hosts are reverently placed in reserve in the tabernacle. God first! Then us. Priests of every level bless the congregation at the closing of mass & many, especially us seniors, the sick & disabled & children are blessed again when they greet the celebrant before going forth from Church afterwards. When someone holding the office of bishop or higher is the celebrant, they bless everyone when they process in & out of Mass. No one misses a blessing if they remain ’til the end of Mass. This is a matter of time & place.
        From the moment of the Consecration of the bread & wine transubstantiated into the Body & Blood of Jesus Christ, we are physically in the Real Presence of God with us in His church. This is why the Eucharist is the source, the center, & the summit of our catholic faith. This time is most holy & sacred. The enormity of Who God is as Three Divine Persons in One Supreme Being, the Creator of all of us & all the Universe, Who in the Old Testament said if the Heavens are His throne & the Earth is His footstool, what house could we build for Him; is humbling as we approach the altar to receive Him. We are so blessed that through the hands of the priest, God has made himself small to be with us. In this most sacred time, when we receive Jesus in Communion, our only word should be Amen & then silent heartfelt prayer of love & adoration while Jesus is physically present in us as we consume Him. God deserves to be our sole focus at that time.
        By grace & faith, we also know God deserves our utmost care, understanding & desire to teach our children, grandchildren & godchildren that as they come with us to communion; this is a sacred quiet time they can say a special prayer in their heart telling God they love Him & learn how to properly receive Him. Children old enough to understand can add they wish to receive Him spiritually & look forward to when they can receive God sacramentally. This begins at home when we pray with our families. There are beautiful books, some written by saints, to help children & adults understand Mass, Communion & our faith.. Canon law, the GIRM, encyclicals & letters of the popes are available. Reading about the Eucharistic Miracles & the studies done on the Miracle of Lanciano may help those who still question the sacredness of being in the Real Presence of God especially during Mass & adoration. When I was young, you were taught in grade school, the parts of the Mass, the parts of the church, what we do from when we enter to when we leave & what was special about each,including our silence & how we dress. These are beautiful things to learn. Talk to your pastor, he can help you.
        As for extra-ordinary ministers giving blessings, two thoughts: 1) they have the same obligation to protect the Sacred Host in their care. Every piece including bits stuck on their fingers is God. At no time should they risk a crumb falling to the floor while they give a blessing only a priest can give. 2) they should talk to their pastor about retraining to learn what they as laypersons, who are privileged with the precious ministry to assist in distributing Holy Communion as extra-ordinary ministers when no other clergy are available; should & shouldn’t do & why, so there are no abuses, however well-intentioned.
        The more we learn; the more we grow in our faith & love of God, His church, & Our Blessed Mother. It is especially important in these times to help our families learn about our faith. Prayers for all of us. God bless!

    • Patrick says:

      Stay strong, Father! Praying for you and the bishop.

    • Shirley says:

      In my reply to brgeem, I had an idea for your concerns also. St. Pope John Paul II in his letters Dominicae Cenum & Inestimable Donum really touches on the majesty of the Real Presence of God in the Eucharist & the sacredness of It & the priests hands. If you must say something, preach the majesty of God with us, in even the tiniest most miniscule piece of the Sacred Host. The smallest to the largest visible piece are the same. Science has examined the Miracle of Lanciano & it is on record. In faith, we already know this & why you do nothing else while distributing Holy Communion ’til the remaining Hosts are reposed in the tabernacle after Communion. Even the sink to cleanse the vessels is special because of this. Preach on the extreme sanctity of that part of Mass.
      Or maybe each week, explain one part of Mass ’til you progress to the exit with the final blessing so everyone is on board with what is supposed to happen, when, & why it’s done at that time. Then they’ll know blessings are given at the appropriate time & place before, at the end, & after Mass. This addresses your concerns without a pronouncement or having to say outright to stop asking for it during Communion as we’re not supposed to be talking to anyone but God then.
      Expand on the beauty of each part of Mass, including the final blessing & blessings given individually as people exit. Expound on the wonder & blessing of God remaining with us in this way & how they, reverently, are on holy ground even when Mass is over. It’s surprising the increasingly large number of people of all ages who don’t really understand this; thus talking above a whisper, especially during sign of peace & when Mass is over, gossiping & answering ringing cell phones, etc even during Mass.
      Ask God & Mary to bless them with the grace to understand & cooperate with the teachings & guidelines of our faith; to have that epiphany moment where they get it; even if they can’t explain the mystery of God with us in the Eucharist. Hang in there like Jesus did. Even His disciples fell away. Offer your Masses (especially Holy Week) & Holy Hours; Divine Mercy & Sacred Hearts novenas for your & all parishes. (Jesus made special promises for His priests in both of these devotions.) Also, the door opens for you to preach each week after that, on a Sacrament & the sanctity & necessity of them. So many possibilities: the creeds, rosary & it’s mysteries, holy days of obligation, etc. Put a few pamphlets in the back of church that you like on this. Maybe plan a Saturday as a Parish Day of Reflection on the Eucharist starting after morning Mass, & invite priests to assist with confessions, talks, Q&A; culminating with Benediction like EWTN does for the Litany of the Sacred Heart on Sunday mornings with all wrapping up by 2:30/3pm. Then leave the church open ’til after 5pm Mass, for all who want to stay & pray. It will be time for Sat. evening Confessions soon & the Vigil Mass, anyway. Hope this gives you ideas.
      Temptation, especially dissension, is everywhere to separate us from understanding, growing in, following the guidelines, & honoring our faith. Will pray God gives you a way without conflict. Have you & all priests on up to the pope, in all prayers & Masses. Am grateful for your vocation so we have Mass & the Sacraments. Thank you for dedicating your life in service of God & His Church. God bless!

    • Luke says:

      I have seen that the proper form for non-Communicants during Communion is to remain in the pew. But if a child is too small to stay behind on his own, then it’s expected that he or she will come forward with mom or dad. That said, there’s nothing in the rubrics for the blessing of non-Communicants, but as a priest you can dispense blessings almost whenever you wish! EMHCs on the other hand…probably should not.

  • Fred Bachour says:

    Well in the eastern church the words are, “servant of God,(name) receive the body and blood of Christ for the remission of your sins and for eternal life.” just for people to be aware and sometimes we shorten it to receive the body and blood of Christ. Maybe the priest was eastern catholic.

  • Mary rose says:

    I would say run and find an anointed, Holy Ghost filled church like I did years ago, leaving the lie, and the traditions and doctrines of men behind, Never to return.

    • Mary Rose you left the Faith that Jesus founded to join a man made church and man made teachings.

    • carmen says:

      Why, because some PRIEST did not use the proper wording? No , find out why he is doing this and bring it to his attention.If he is being rebellious than bring it to his Bishop.Running away to another denomination that is never the solution, that’s what Martin Luther did and today the body of Christ is devided by 30+ thousand denomination.This is not what Jesus wanted.

    • lucia moro says:

      Such ignorance of the true faith scares me, Mary Rose. How could you betray our Lord?

    • Db says:

      Do you not realize you have turned your back on Christ? What s shame!

  • brgeem says:

    It is but words. What counts is the meaning in your heart.

  • Jeanette Henley says:

    If we are truly a universal Catholic Church, each minister or priest should say “The body of Christ” when administering communion and the reply “amen”. I firmly believe the liturgy should always remain the same no matter what Catholic Church you attend.

  • jim says:

    I suggest you get as far away from the ignorance and superstitious nonsense that religion is.

  • Shirley says:

    Sounds like your priest or your church is of a different rite in the Catholic Church. There are quite a few. Be wary of answers you see as atheists & non-catholics troll our sites with their own agendas. To find a roman catholic church, you can always call your archdiocese, give your zip code & ask for the names/locations of roman catholic parishes by you so you can attend mass. Also, check mass.org to find a parish. Both are sure ways you can find a church to attend wherever you live or travel. Please keep our priests, bishops & this country in your prayers. God bless!

  • May says:

    It appears there are still some of those post Vatican II era “Father Feel Good” priests left. Bless them. I look at it this way: these men answered God’s call to priesthood. Unfortunately in the sixties and seventies the seminaries became lax and these men were inadequately formed resulting in this sort of thing. It is not right. But they, for all practical purposes don’t know any better. One would hope by now they would have learned the truth, but some, sadly, still have not. So they need to be charitably approached and reminded that deviating from the rubrics and words of the Mass is wrong and if he continues, find a parish with a priest who is faithful.
    Thankfully, Pope John Paul II implemented a reform of seminaries during his papacy and the younger priests are well formed, wonderfully faithful to Holy Mother Church and they don’t play fast and loose with dogma, theology or the liturgy. Pray for this priest. I really believe he is “invincibly ignorant”. But by all means do not follow the advice of some on this thread to go to non-Catholic churches. The Roman Catholic Church is the one founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ and has the fullness of faith. And it is where you can receive Our Lord Himself, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Holy Spirit is vibrantly alive in our Church. BTW, the use of non-official words by this priest does not invalidate the Sacrament, but it is illicit for him to use them. So it is troublesome. I hope you can find a parish that has a priest who is faithful in all ways. But don’t give up the Church over this. Please. Let us pray for one another.

  • Barbara says:

    Leave it alone why are they always wanting to change our old ways in prayers.

  • More VII/Post VII confusion; another modernist innovation that should be corrected. The poor priest doesn’t understand, and worse, possibly doesn’t believe in RC Eucharistic theology. What is clear from the Post VII RC Church is that the usage of the proclamation of the priest “The Body of Christ” to the communicant in the Novus Ordo Mass is a significant departure from the from Latin Mass, which is translated as, “May the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve your soul unto life everlasting. Amen.” To use “Receive Jesus Christ” is a complete break with Tradition and the Canons of RC Liturgical usage. Under the Latin Tridentine Mass, only the Precious Body was distributed to the faithful–not the blood–and only an Ordained Priest or Bishop could distribute Communion to the faithful. In the VII Novus Ordo, the Precious Body and Blood are received ‘separately’ by the faithful, often times from the hands of a lay ‘Eucharistic Minister of Communion.’
    In the Orthodox “Chalcedonian” (Greek & Slav) usage, the Communicant receives the Precious Body and Blood together (which are placed together in the Chalice after the consecration); the priest distributes communion from a golden spoon–this form it hasn’t changed in 1600+ years. While distributing Communion, the priest says the following to each Communicant, “The servant of God (Christian Name), partakes of the precious, most holy, most pure Body and Blood of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of her/his and life everlasting. Amen. Receive the Body of Christ Taste the Fountain of Immortality.” Only a Bishop, Deacon, or Priest may distribute communion–never a lay person.
    In the Orthodox “Non-Chalcedonian” (Coptic) usage, the distribution of the Body and Blood of Christ are separate. First, the priest distributes the Body of Christ, then followed by the blood of Christ which, like the Chalcedonian usage, is distributed from a golden spoon. While distributing Communion to the faithful, the priest says, “This is truly the Body of Emmanuel our God. Amen” whiled distributing the precious body, and, “This is truly the Blood of Emmanuel our God. Amen.” Only a Bishop, Deacon, or Priest may distribute communion–never a lay person.
    The great and wonderous thing about a truly ‘orthodox’ Liturgy is its emphasis on not only the Body and Blood but also an acknowledgement of the Divinity of Christ. The fact that an Ordained minister (Bishop, Priest or Deacon) distributes Communion ensures that abuses do not occur. It follows, then, for any priest to say ‘Receive Jesus Christ’ while distributing Holy Communion, is is really quite insufficient, and frankly, if the priest is changing the words during the distribution of the Eucharistic Divine Mysteries, what is he saying during the Consecration? For me, it does little more than place the validity of the Eucharist being received in question. It is because of things like this, that I entered the Orthodox Church.

  • brgeem says:

    Wise words John.

  • The Liturgy is simply an external expression of how the Holy Mass can be celebrated. But our BELIEF, our FAITH, should focus on the real meaning of the Mass as our Lord Jesus has asked “to do it in His memory… and that the Bread “in substance” is His Body while the Wine is His Blood” Therefore in Communion we don’t simply take His Body but we receive Him as Jesus Christ, our Saviour. So if they say the Liturgy is not a private property, so be it, but never take away from my belief, from my Faith that Communion is receiving Jesus Christ. I will not mince in conscience if I don’t follow the Liturgy or the Rubrics. I won’t sin against God for not following the Rubrics. I will stick to my Faith that taking communion is receiving Jesus Christ not just His Body, nor just His blood. Rubrics are human made. They can be changed. Going against what Bishops say is not disobedience as a whole. People are afraid of changes.

  • John O'Hanlon says:

    This is not right, when one replies Amen to. “The Body of Christ ” we not only acknowledge we are receiving the the Jesus in the Eucharist but also WE are also the Body of Christ.

  • Trudy says:

    What did Jesus say in the Bible, the word of God, at the first Last Supper? From my NIV study Study Bible: “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” I believe that is what you should say to each communicant.

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