I have excellent news.
Our communion rail is installed at Mother of Dolors Parish. Some of our mature parishioners may remember receiving the Eucharist kneeling at the altar rail. When permission was given to receive the Eucharist standing up (1967) and in the hand (1977), many of these beautiful rails were removed from the sanctuary.
So why bring it back?
There are several reasons. One, it restores a greater integrity to the sanctuary. The sanctuary was built with the altar rail as a permanent fixture and to return it would be to restore something of the original integrity and beauty of the architecture. More significantly, it will more easily remind us of the holiness of the sanctuary. The rails and gate force us to recall that this space is God’s and we ought not tread it lightly.
As we are in the midst of a Eucharistic Revival, now would be an opportune time for an altar rail. The goal of the revival is to convey the truth of Who the Eucharist is and to restore belief and awe-filled reverence in the worship of the Blessed Sacrament. As bodily gesture plays an unspoken but profound role in worship, the altar rail provides the ability to kneel while receiving our Eucharistic Lord. When else do you kneel to receive anything? We kneel before our superiors, and not even that happens often today. But the gesture recalls the Truth of who God is and who we are, and our need for humility in this relationship. You may still stand and receive Him in the hand, but now you will have the option of kneeling too.
Lastly, the altar rail is not intended to be solely a divider between a nave and the sanctuary, but it is meant to extend the altar of sacrifice for the laity to kneel before, to bring their offerings to the Lord, and to consummate the sacrifice of the Mass. It brings the altar closer to you, so to speak, and that is a good and holy thing.
Sincere thanks to the benefactors and those who will help install it.
With gratitude and joy for the days ahead!