Yesterday, December 15, Archbishop Apuron did a pastoral visit to St. Francis Parish in Yona. During the opportunity for Q & A, parishioner Tommy Tanaka read a list of concerns to the Archbishop. The following is one of them:
Archbishop, I am concerned that the celebration of the Eucharist in the neocatechumenal communities is not in compliance with the exceptions to the liturgical books permitted in Statute of the Neocatechumenal Way.
The people receive the sacred host standing, but they do not consume it immediately as the rest of us are required to do. They wait till all have received then they sit and then consume.
Is this practice of sitting to consume the consecrated host permitted by Rome, and if so, where?
And if it is permitted by Rome, why have you not made it clear to the entire diocese that this practice is permitted so that we are not scandalized by what we perceive to be a violation of liturgical norms?
This is a major concern for us because this practice separate the neocatechumenal way from the rest of the faithful and we feel that you have an obligation to clarify it for us.
According to some who were there, the Archbishop replied that the neocatechumenal way of distributing Holy Communion "was approved", but that he would have to look up the source.
If this is what he said, then great. We look forward to "the source". Because it must have come very recently since Benedict XVI, in an audience with the Neocatechumenal Way in 2012 said:
"The Decree approving the celebrations listed in the 'Catechetical Directory of the Neocatechumenal Way' has just been read. They are not strictly speaking liturgical but are part of the itinerary of growth in faith...It is the task of the celebration in the small communities — regulated by the liturgical books that must be faithfully followed, with the details approved in the Statue of the Way..."
- ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI TO THE COMMUNITY OF THE NEOCATECHUMENAL WAY, Paul VI Hall, Friday, 20 January 2012
There is NOTHING in the Statute of the Way which permits a communicant to sit and consume. There is NOTHING in the Statute of the Way which permits the priest to delay his own communion until he has first distributed the sacred host to the communicants.
Yet these are the practices of Archbishop Apuron himself when he celebrates his neo-eucharist with his community and the practice of every single neocatechumenal community. So the permission, the Archbishop is said to have referred to must have been granted since January 20, 2012.
We wait anxiously to see it.