Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Jesus in Baggies at St. John of Rochester

June 25th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Here is the link to Sunday Mass, June 14th, at St. John of Rochester in Fairport. (Edit clarifications have been made to original text posted.)


The above link requires selecting the June 14 (Corpus Christi) Mass.  Some viewers have had trouble getting to the particular Corpus Christi Mass on which we are focusing. If you do not find at 44:50 the beginning of Instructions for Communion, you are viewing the ‘wrong’ Mass. If you have problems, please note the picture of the celebrant posted to help you identify the subject Mass.

This blog reporting goes back to the very roots of abuses seen in the Diocese of Rochester when Cleansing Fire first started (and which are archived still on this site.) Anyone familiar with the exact wording of the Novus Ordo quickly notices the word changes and the drama of presentation which color the Mass at St. John’s Rochester.

Whatever happened to “do the red; say the black” which appeals to the priests most humble in their celebration of the Holy Eucharist? St. John’s of Rochester is much more like a dramatic reading on a stage, and I had to keep wondering “Is this Catholic?”

And, regarding color, one wonders about the background behind the Crucifix which is behind the main altar. To someone unfamiliar with St. John’s politics, I must say it looks a lot like LGBTetc endorsement, and one suspects that the last half of Romans Chapter 1 may not often be preached at St. John’s. We don’t know whether the colors and prominence are intended to suggest LGBTetc or not, but it seems irresponsible to create the illusion of confusion. (Similarly, a dear priest friend of mine from Africa found a chasuble and stole, soon after he arrived, in the sacristy of another prominent DoR Church and he used it for Mass, only to be told it was a ‘plant’ of the relevant same-sex colors and he had fallen for it! When alerted, he never wore it again, but no one seemed to know how those non-liturgical colors had suddenly “appeared” in the sacristy.)

Such ‘other’ concerns are dwarfed by St. John Rochester’s Communion Rules, which begin around the 44th minute on the video. There we hear what is effectively a slam against all priests who carefully and faithfully deliver the Holy Host onto parishioners’ tongues. The celebrant at St. John’s Mass says: There is no hygienic way of giving communion on the tongue.” (46:11)

There we also hear an allegation against all the experts who say either the hand and tongue are equivalent risks, or that the tongue is even safer because it has been in the mouth covered by a mask, unlike the hands which open doors and touch pews. Try THAT with your tongue! But the people of St. John’s seemed, on the video, to embrace (or at least obey) the clericalist leadership all the way, even to the celebrant’s violating Catholics’ rights under Redemptionis Sacramentum, which documents the right of all Communion recipients to receive “either in the hand or on the tongue” at their choice (except in the Latin Mass where all communicants receive kneeling and on the tongue.)

Now we come to the headline grabber. Communion instructions begin at 44:50. If a Mass attendee at St. John’s has someone at home (or a friend or neighbor) “unable to be here,” he or she is welcome to bring Communion to that person. All they need to do is tell the “Communion minister” how many hosts they want, and the “minister” counts them out and, using what looks like tweezers, drops those hosts into a plastic bag! Jesus goes into the baggie! I shudder to think of the tiny fragments that must remain in the bag, of how the Lord is handled, carried in pockets and purses, maybe forgotten in the laundry by that friend or neighbor. And that ‘friend or neighbor’ is of concern too. Since when are we encouraged to bring Communion to unidentified recipients? It has been pointed out to me by a viewer that this weekend (June 20-21) is seeing a major increase in demonic activities and demonstrations. Wholesale giving out of hosts to unknown recipients risks demonic use of the Most Holy.








The pictures above show the celebrant (acting as a ‘Communion minister’) counting out the hosts one-by-one, using a tweezers -like device, and passing on the bag to the person to be entrusted with the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. How can parishioners, who have just heard a significant part of John Chapter 6 read in the Gospel, ON THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI, actually participate in bagging Jesus?  I would like to see a Crusade to free the Divine Host-age.

This picture below follows a presentation (22:40) by a woman named Barb after the celebrant’s remarks following the Gospel. Didn’t we do away with sneaking women, lectors or not, into doing part of the homily (or using homily time) during Bishop Clark’s reign? It’s baaaack! Notice they are just starting to rise to give her a standing ovation. Well, there’s no ovation due to St. John’s of Rochester, in my opinion. It’s a travesty.





Post Script: Here are three pictures from Fr. Bradshaw’s Mass which illustrate the result of fumbling the tweezers. Priests who have given Communion for decades are still susceptible to fumbling when using a new tool at such a solemn moment. It is interesting to note the glow around the dropping host in the first picture below. (See comment #13)


13 Responses to “Jesus in Baggies at St. John of Rochester”

  1. Mary-Kathleen says:

    Has this information been sent to Bishop Matano?

  2. Abaccio says:

    I suspect the new parochial vicar might not be thrilled to see this.

    I admittedly have never liked Father Clifford since he said such asinine things about our Holy Father Emeritus, as seen here:

  3. Diane Harris says:

    With all yesterday’s ‘detail’ I apparently missed one of the best arguments against springy face masks, and against celebrants who make their faithful flock approach the Eucharist with face mask on, until they get out of breathing range of the Minister of Communion.Look at 50:36 for the sacred host bouncing off the floor, the confusion of the Communicant but, in the end, his doing the right thing and consuming the host.

  4. Mary-Kathleen says:

    On Saturday, soon after posting my question here, I emailed the article to Fr. Dan White as he passes information on to Bishop Matano. And I emailed it to Fr. Walter.

  5. Joy2All says:

    When we volunteered to serve as visitation ministers (extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion), we had to take 16 hours of training, plus 2 hour on the Eucharist from the pastor, as well as the diocesan training on creating a safe environment. Here they’re just handing out the hosts to whomever requests however many? With no instruction on proper reverent treatment?

  6. christian says:

    First, I would like to comment on the colors behind the crucifix. I prefer more traditional church architecture. With that being established, those colors are not the colors I would have chosen for a background color wash behind a crucifix, but I am tired of various shades of colors being interpreted as support for the LBGT movement. A multi-color approach or a traditional rainbow has been evaluated as sending a message of support for the LBGT movement by members of the LBGT community, and also by others in the public, even among those more conservative.

    (Genesis Chapter 9, 11-17: “I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth. God said: This is the sign of the covenant that I am making between me and you and every living creature with you for all ages to come: I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and every living creature—every mortal being—so that the waters will never again become a flood to destroy every mortal being. When the bow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature—every mortal being that is on earth. God told Noah: This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and every mortal being that is on earth.”) A Rainbow has always been depicted as a sign of the covenant that God made with Man among abrahamic religions. Now one cannot depict a rainbow in any form of art or decoration without someone jumping to the conclusion that it is an endorsement for the LBGT movement. The same thing has occurred when multiple bright colors are used. We have been robbed of our faith symbol and use of colors by the LBGT movement.

    Years ago, a long-time pediatric practice used to have a bright muti-colored fabric hanging outside its practice to not only connect to the practice’s name, but as a uplifting, welcoming type of banner especially among young children. After the LBGT movment began having a strong influence, the bright mult-colored fabric hanging was taken down, and within a short time, the practice changed its name.
    Individuals and organizations which had previously used the rainbow either as a sign of covenant or as an uplifting design, removed it from their identifying design, signs, artwork, stationary, or accessories for fear of sending am unintended endorsement of the LBGT movement.

    Not enough people or organizations were willing to stand up for what they believe and stand behind the symbol of God’s covenant of Man, so that now when rainbow is referenced, many people associate it with the LBGT movement, and some exclusively with the LBGT movement. You can’t even reference such things as multiple colors, harmony, rainbow, or trying to get along with many types of different people in your spoken speech without some people taking it as an endorsement of the LBGT movement and community.
    I attended a conference years ago on health and wellness along with others. The presenters gave presentations including powerpoint slide shows on medical topics, focusing on healthcare and medical intervention, nutrition, healthy lifestyle, and additionally some medicines/supplements, as well as medical and clinical studies. There were handouts given out and there were displays on hand in the foyer. The day was split up between morning presentations and afternoon presentations, with lunch in between. One of the afternoon presenters started off with asking what we thought of when we heard the word Harmony, and he added, in regard to people. I was in the front, so I answered in the context of different people getting along together. This presenter excitingly took my answer as an endorsement of diversity and inclusivity, and mainly the LBGT movement. I was somehow flabbergasted and taken back to how my unassuming answer of people of varying cultures and backgrounds getting along together peacefully had been considered an endorsement for the LBGT movement, and was the springboard for this presenter going off into a presentation of supporting LBGT people, as well as people from different racial and cultural backgrounds. I was not happy at seemingly being identified as supporting the LBGT movement and community by this presenter. We found out his name and credentials after he started his presentation, and additionally in his handouts. He was the Diversity and Inclusivity Officer of St. John Fisher College. Apparently, there had been an opportunity available and seized upon to present Diversity and Inclusivity particularly of the LBGT movement and community, at a Health and Wellness Conference.
    Note; The LBGT flag has six colors. It is a counterfeit. God’s rainbow has seven colors. I hope there are enough Christians and others of abrahamic religions that teach and stand up for the true meaning of the rainbow, a sign of God’s covenant with Man, so that when children, teens and adults look up at the sky and see a rainbow, they will not think it is the LBGT flag.

    Second, I have a problem with how some people are using their masks at Mass. Even at our parish, there are a few people who wear the mask beneath their nose, just covering up their mouth. (I have seen some people doing this in public as well). Why bother wearing a mask if you don’t cover up your nose as well? I saw one acolyte the other week, remove it for a little period of time out of eyesight of the priest, and then put it back on when in eye shot. (The mass was being video-taped). I didn’t see this happening this week. Last week. an elderly man visitor came up to our pastor who was still wearing a mask while standing outside after mass, and shook his hand. (It probably put our pastor on the spot). This man obviously didn’t get the message that you are not supposed to be shaking people’s hands in public. I had also seen a few people take off their mask directly after Mass ended, then process through the church and exit near other people, to the parking lot. This week, I saw at least woman doing this after Mass ended. No critical thinking! One elderly man who sat in the back pew at this week’s Mass, took off his mask after being seated, and then put it back on when he was walking forward for Holy Communion. Masks are intended for both transmitting infection to others and contracting infection from others.

    There are people in general, of all ages, who don’t seem to understand the rules for social distancing, which is actually physically distancing, no public hand to hand contact, public hugging, or public kissing., and doing frequent hand-washing and sanitization, and doing the proper wearing of masks (without constantly adjusting it and pulling it off and on, or fiddling with their face, including eyes, nose, and ears, and eyeglasses if wearing). For those at Masses and Church Services, or those in the general public, who find it inconvenient and uncomfortable to wear a mask, think of all the essential workers who have to work an entire shift, or even longer, with a mask on. These workers in addition to medical and dental workers and emergency responders, include those who work in stores, warehouses, call centers, and those who prepare and serve food and drink.

    Regarding Mass at St. John of Rochester – there is no reason for the priests or deacon to remove their masks for speaking. I think it is in the latest Mass video where the deacon sits there for a period of time holding his mask before he even gets up to speak. (At our parish, the cantor/organist, priest, visiting deacon, and acolytes keep their masks on throughout the Mass even when speaking, cantoring, or singing. The only time the mask is lowered is for Holy Communion. The parishioners are also asked to keep their masks on while speaking and singing, and only lower them for Holy Communion. (Just about all parishioners follow these rules strictly). Holy Communion given on the tongue with social distancing, and using one central kneeler (sanitized along with hand sanitizer), with the priest sanitizing his hand between Communicants, is much more conducive to the administration of Holy Communion with masks.

    Third, regarding giving out Holy Communion in plastic bags: I wonder if it is an attempt to have Eucharistic Ministers and perhaps just parishioners in general, distribute Holy Communion to as many people as possible who cannot Mass, while trying to maintain adherence to COVID 19 guidelines. You would think they could come up with something more appropriate. Cleaned gold pyxs could be used. Most churches used to have gold pyxs to give trained and approved Eucharistic Ministers in which to take Holy Communion to the sick and homebound. I wonder if there was a problem getting some of these gold pyxs back or keeping track of them. On a few occasions when I had to borrow one from a church, I returned it back to that church ASAP. I have noted some churches use a type of altar linen pocket receptacle for Holy Communion which can be closed, I think by velcro. I used to be involved with Eucharistic Ministry at Mass, and to the institutionalized, hospitalized, the sick, and homebound, tears ago.

    Many years ago, when I was asked to come to this particular church to get Holy Communion to visit a number of patients as a Eucharistic Minister, I was given a gold ciborium filled with Holy Communion to take on my visits. I went directly to visit these patients and returned directly to that church to return that gold ciborium. I felt very strongly about returning that ciborium as soon as possible. I eventually bought my own gold pyx to use for visits so I would not have to go back again to return the ciborium directly after my visit. I wanted something suitable to take our Lord in Holy Communion on my visits. When I took Holy Communion on visits to the institutionalized, hospitalized, sick, or homebound, I left directly after receiving the Holy Communion, to the people which I was to visit and distribute Holy Communion.
    There was a woman Eucharistic Minister from one church I attended occasionally around that time, who showed me what she used to take Holy Communion to the sick and homebound in: a tiny light green tupperware bowl with white lid on a key chain which she had attached to her key ring. She had her car keys on the same ring. It would seem that the tiny tupperware bowl with Holy Communion suspended from her key ring, was swung around as it hung from her ignition as she drove, and also as she opened her car doors, trunk, and the doors to her house. I remembered what also bothered me at the time, in addition to her receptacle for Holy Communion, was the fact that she admittedly was not making visits right away, but would be carrying the Holy Communion around with her for awhile. I felt rather sick about her carrying Holy Communion around on her key ring in a tiny tupperware bowl. I remember thinking she was much too casual and didn’t have the right reverence and mind set for a Eucharistic Minister. Apparently, whoever had given her Holy Communion at that church to take to the homebound, didn’t have a problem placing the hosts in her tiny tupperware bowl on a key chain attached to her key ring.

    Fourth, the woman named Barb who talked at the end of the June 14th Mass at St. John of Rochester, according to their bulletin, is Barbara Hesenius, Pastoral Associate. She was retiring after serving that parish for 20 years. Among her duties as a Pastoral Associate, was leading a weekly bible study, leading St. Stephen Ministry, training people for St. Stephen Ministry, visiting the homebound and sick with Holy Communion, and training others to do so, and helping couples prepare for Holy Matrimony and helping parents prepare for the Baptism of their child. She appeared a little nervous when spoke and she could have been more concise, but I’m sure it was an emotionally charged moment as she was bidding goodbye to parishioners and a parish she had served for 20 years. It was a one time event. I think it would have seemed strange if hadn’t said good-bye to parishioners before leaving.

  7. christian says:

    Sorry for the typos in my previous posting. Regarding the use of masks it should have said:
    “Masks are intended for both inhibiting the transmission of infection to others and inhibiting the contraction of infection from others.

    I am in agreement to Joy2All: Throughout the many years I was involved in Eucharistic Ministry, I had to receive ongoing hours of education and training, and also at each parish and for each separate ministry I served. Although there was training conducted at the parish level/site for their particular guidelines, the training was conducted through the Diocese of Rochester. I remember having to attend multiple sessions on a Saturday where you had to bring a bag lunch due to the hours you would be spending there. There was also special training and instructions for visiting the sick and injured in hospitals, nursing homes, or other healthcare institutions, or the home. We all had to be approved as attending Mass regularly and leading a respectable, moral life to be considered for Eucharistic Ministry. We had background checks starting years ago, and then Create A Safe Environment was added as a requirement.

    Regarding Jesus in Baggies: As I stated before, you would think they could come up with something more appropriate. Holy Communion as a rule, had only been given to Eucharistic Ministers to take to the sick, injured, and homebound. The only exceptions that I had seen, was a family member asking for Holy Communion to take to their immediate family member.

    I relayed in my previous posting, the woman Eucharistic Minister at one church who used a tiny key chain tupperware bowl as a receptacle to take Holy Communion to the homebound, and obviously those in charge of distributing hosts to Eucharistic Ministers saw no problem with that receptacle and that it would be suspended on her key ring with car keys and house keys. Apparently the message hadn’t been conveyed to her that she needed to visit the homebound right away and not keep the Holy Communion with her on her key chain, or she had ignored that message. One hopes that one entrusted with Holy Communion from priest, to deacon, to Eucharistic Ministers, to others, gives it the proper reverence, respect, and care.

    BTW-Fr. Evan Simington, Pastor of St. Alban’s Catholic Church and Parochial Vicar of St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish, is leaving for a new assignment in Irvine, California, which will start July 1st, 2020.
    This Sunday, June 28th, 2020, 11 A.M., will be his last Mass with us. So if anyone would like to say goodbye and wish him well, this Sunday will be the last chance.

    Deacon Nathan Davis of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter will be ordained to the holy priesthood on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul, Monday, June 29th, 2020, in Houston by Bishop Steven Lopes. Then the newly ordained Fr. Nathan Davis will come to Rochester, New York, to be the new Pastor of St. Alban Catholic Church and the new Parochial Vicar of St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish, which will start July 1st, 2020.

  8. Diane Harris says:

    Christian, wonderful analysis of a complex situation. I do understand that Barb was someone important to the community. Apparently she said she is coming back in Sept for what I perceive as her going away party. What I want to make clear to our readers is that I was not objecting at all to Barb’s getting a few minutes to speak a preliminary goodbye. What I object to is WHEN in the Mass she (or any layperson) is permitted to speak. And it should not be right after the Gospel and Celebrant’s preaching, before the Offertory. It creates the illusion of being part of the preaching, which she has no right to do. Rather,I think it should have been after the last blessing.

  9. christian says:

    Diane, You are absolutely right about goodbyes and announcements from lay persons being outside the context of the Mass. I erred on my part by jumping around while viewing the June 14th Mass video as I noted that I had initially had viewed the June 21 Mass video, the unintended reference. I had picked up who this Barbara was by referencing the bulletin after noting she was bidding parishioners goodbye. What I hadn’t picked up was the spot in which she was bidding parishioners goodbye due to jumping around in the video. Apparently, I assumed it was at the end of Mass. (I am well aware of what assume stands for, having been told among others in a group near the beginning of my professional career).

    In most parishes that I have attended Mass, if a Lay Person gets up to deliver a message, it is at the very end of Mass, usually before the dismissal and the recessional. I had been at a Mass some years ago where the Deacon assigned to that parish, who had served that parish for a number of years, was saying goodbye to parishioners. He is ordained clergy and he gave his goodbye speech outside the context of the Mass, at the end, before the dismissal and recessional.

    I really don’t know who’s idea it was for Barbara, the Pastoral Associate, to give her goodbye following the homily. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it was the Pastor’s idea, as he thought it was a way of giving her the esteem he thought due by placing her goodbye after his homily.

    BUT-even the homily is not supposed to be about the priest or the deacon! It’s acceptable to share a story if it has relevance to the message in the Readings and Gospel, but the homily is supposed to be centered on Jesus Christ! And the Mass is not supposed to be about the priest, it’s supposed to be centered on Jesus Christ! (It’s not about me, it’s about Him!)

    To me, that’s why it seems appropriate for announcements, messages, and goodbyes by anyone, regardless of position or title, be outside the context of Holy Mass.

  10. Diane Harris says:

    Christian’s comments give me the opportunity to add a bit to the post about another item which should be (and is!) outside the Mass — applause. The move to a standing ovation at St. John’s of Rochester was of course accompanied by applause. I cringe. In Pope Benedict’s “The Spirit of the Liturgy” he says: “Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment.”

    Some years ago I had a conversation with a young, dedicated priest who loved Pope Benedict’s books, and I asked him, when he gets the opportunity (as parochial vicar or later as pastor) how could he avoid asking for applause because the choir,for example, has come to expect such recognition on ‘high holy days.’ And maybe the servers, flower arrangers, ushers, etc. He had already thought it out and said he would say, at the end of Mass, something like: “Let’s thank Almighty God for the many wonderful gifts He has given to our parish, especially for the beautiful voices and music raised to Him this day (other recognitions could also be added here) and then he would IMMEDIATELY break into prayer to God, tying to the Mass text and preaching, and sounding like PRAYER, not an invitation to applaud, followed by AMEN rather than clapping.) I have no idea if he has done what he had planned or not, or surrendered to the prideful expectations of others, but very few parishes adequately address the egocentric demand for recognition and applause.

  11. BigE says:

    Which experts have said that the covid-19 risk is equivalent whether receiving on the tongue or hand? I’d be interested your source for this information. Thanks.

  12. Diane Harris says:

    There are several references in this article
    regarding dioceses which allow receiving on the tongue, some of which checked with their own consultants and experts before determining their policy. The names of those consultors were not revealed, but presumably one could contact the dioceses mentioned to ask about their sources.

  13. Diane Harris says:

    So, the question I am being asked is whether or not anything has happened as a result of Mary-Kathleen’s (see comment above) contacting the Bishop’s Office. I looked at the two later Sunday 11AM Masses streaming from St. John’s of Rochester, to see if I could find changes from the Corpus Christi Mass. However, both subsequent Masses were celebrated by Fr. Bradshaw, not Fr. Clifford who presided over the Corpus Christi Mass, so perhaps the results aren’t directly comparable.

    Nevertheless, it does appear that the camera angle has been modified so that it is more difficult to view the priest or deacon’s handling of the Eucharist. Still, in last week’s streaming video I did not see plastic bags, so perhaps one abuse has been corrected. The tweezers remain. And the instruction about bringing the Body of Christ to friends and neighbors seemed to be missing. I will say “seem” and “appear to be” as a stream can be edited.

    Still, there was again an incident of a dropped host. The cause in Fr. Clifford’s Mass seemed to be his requirement that a communicant receive in the left hand while wearing the face mask, then while walking away using the right hand to lift or remove the face mask to ingest the Sacred Host by lifting the face mask with the same hand which should have been picking up the host from the left hand. The elastic ear straps easily slip and their elasticity acts as a propellant to slingshot the host away from the lips. At least that is how the dropping of the host on Corpus Christi looked as a young man in a blue shirt lost control of his face mask. He picked up the host and went back to the pew, consulting with his parents about what to do with the host.

    In Fr. Bradshaw’s Mass the dropped host was his fault, not the communicant. The priest fumbled the tweezers which had hold of the Body of Christ and the host fell to the floor. It is ironic that the devices supposedly intended to ‘protect’ the priest and/or communicant have the effect (in their very unfamiliarity) of causing abuse to the Eucharist. To which I would say: “Man-up Fathers,and use your fingers, sanitizing as needed.” You are already abusing the Communicant’s right to receive kneeling, and/or on tongue. Let’s not add abuse of the Eucharist too by requiring unfamiliar objects like tweezers and facemask to increase the risk of sacrilege by knowingly using devices which increase the risk! Running scared with tweezers is simply not the clergy’s finest moment.

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