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 CNS Story:

YANKEE-COMMUNION (UPDATED) Apr-21-2008 (420 words) xxxn

Video instructs priests, deacons on giving Communion to stadium crowd

By Beth Griffin
Catholic News Service

NEW YORK (CNS) -- In preparing for the April 20 papal Mass at Yankee Stadium, the Archdiocese of New York posted an instructional video on the archdiocesan Web site for the priests and deacons distributing Communion to the more than 57,000 people at the Mass.

Deacon Eugene R. Hamilton of St. Peter's Parish in Haverstraw and Deacon Frank Gohl from Regina Coeli Parish in Hyde Park were among those who climbed into the upper tiers to give pre-Mass instruction to the people who would receive the Eucharist during the Mass.

Each priest and extraordinary minister of holy Communion was expected to distribute Communion to 100-150 people, four rows at a time. The goal was to give out the hosts in 15 minutes and by most accounts the goal was met.

In an April 17 interview with Catholic News Service, Father Daniel O'Reilly, a New York archdiocesan priest, said the Yankee clubhouse was going to serve as the primary sacristy for the Mass. He was chosen to be the head sacristan.

Father O'Reilly, who lives at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, currently is the New York Archdiocese's liaison with campus Newman Centers and works with the archdiocese's outreach to Catholic students at area non-Catholic universities.

He said that he and four other priests who also live at the seminary would be responsible for consolidating the undistributed hosts and dry-purifying and packaging the 550 ciboria commissioned for the stadium Mass.

The commemorative ciboria were to be distributed to each of the parishes of the Archdiocese of New York and each of the bishops concelebrating the Mass.

As he explained it, the priests had to use a cloth to purify the ciboria, because unlike a sacristy in a church, there was no place to properly dispose of the water normally used to purify the ciboria. A note explaining that was to accompany each ciborium.

In the interview, Father O'Reilly said he couldn't disclose where the pope would vest, but when the popemobile stopped on the warning track in front of the Yankee dugout, it was pretty clear that the famed Yankee tunnel leading from the dugout to the clubhouse and umpires' room was about to get a visit from a very different celebrity.

Father O'Reilly said there were sites for the consolidation of the hosts on each level of the stadium, including the announcing booth of the longtime "voice of the Yankees," Bob Shepherd.


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