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Friday, May 18, 2018

On My Knees, I Come to You, O Lord

There was a time when every Catholic Church in the world had some things in common, such as an altar against the wall, a tabernacle, a pulpit, and a communion rail. 
When I became a Catholic in 1968, the church I had attended for some time had all these things AND a missal in every pew with Latin on one side of the page and English on the other. 

It wasn’t long after I was able to receive Holy Communion that those things began to disappear one by one.   After 50 long years, I am happy to say that I once again attend a Catholic Church where I can come to God on my knees and receive him in that humble posture with a grateful heart.
St. Veronica Church,
Chantilly, VA

Thank you, Bishop Burbidge, for saying yes to our parish request to install a rail and for your permission to put it to use.  Some may say this is old fashioned, but I believe the vast majority of our parishioners  will approach the rail with tears of gladness and understand that it is the one physical element of the Sanctuary that connects the laity with the sacrifice of the mass.  Touching the rail and taking the posture of submission, I believe, will join us more fully to the mystery of the sacrament. 

St. Veronica Catholic Church in Chantilly, VA is one of, if not the first in the diocese of Arlington to construct a rail, besides Christendom College in Front Royal—which was not allowed to use it under Bishop Loverde.  I have been told that Purcellville is in the process of getting one now.  The person at St. Francis de Sales I spoke to was as excited as I am about the return of this symbol of our faith.  I think the practice will certainly see a great revival as more and more parishes in this diocese and others recognize the enthusiasm for this beautiful tradition. 

Gilding the Communion Rail of
St. Alphonsus
in New Orleans, LA 
The idea of bringing back the rail is not new, in fact, it has been growing for several years and often it is the sheep not the shepherds who are begging for it.  This article written in 2011 for National Catholic Register highlights the path taken by several churches already and gives a history of the rail and its sad removal almost everywhere after Vatican II.    

Fr. Greg Markey commented in the article the following:

“The word sanctuary comes from the word ‘holy,’ which means ‘set apart.’  The sanctuary is set apart from the rest of the church because it reinforces our understanding of what holiness is.  The sanctuary is symbolically the head of the church and represents Christ as the head.”

St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in Brentwood, MO
We know the reason for them being there for centuries and whereas there was but one reason for them being removed, there is an even greater reason for bringing them back.  For the love of Christ, it is simply the right thing to do.
Who knows, maybe there's one in your future on its way to a parish near you!  Regardless of the style of your church or the budget of your parish, the possibilities are endless when talent and desire are joined together.


  1. St. John the Beloved in McLean has an altar rail, even though it is a church in the round. We also have a wonderful Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) every Sunday at 12:00 Noon. Don't attend this Mass unless you want to get hooked because that is what will happen. The Mass is a taste of Heaven!


    Pray for Borgolio and for the Church of Darkness to leave Rome !

  3. Every LATIN RITE Catholic. The Byzantine Church administers communion in both forms, to the people standing. Pulpits are not universal in the Byzantine Catholic Church. Generally, there is not adoration of the eucharistic elements.