The Anglican Celebration of the Holy Eucharist
My purpose in posting this essay is to explain what an actual Anglican celebration of the Holy Eucharist looks like, or perhaps what it should look like. One recent reader of the blog seems to be confusing that which is Roman with that which is Catholic, and labeling all else as "low-church" (saints preserve us!). This is the very error that I'd hoped to address in the recent post (High Church v. Low Church), but it has resulted in some missing the point and pejoratively labeling those that do not do all things according to modern "Anglo-Catholic" procedure (I'm assuming according to "the Missal" and Ritual Notes) as "low church." Once again, saints preserve us, for that which is modern and Roman is simply that--modern and Roman. It is not ancient nor Catholic.
So, without further ado, how to celebrate the Holy Eucharist in the way of the ancient English Church.An Anglican Use
The Reverend Francis F. E. Blake, Th. M.
This pamphlet is the result of the request of many people asking for more details than are found in my "Synopsis of the Ceremonies of a Plain Celebration of the Holy Communion." The Synopsis was published about twenty-five years ago and has gone through many editions and has been widely distributed. I do not know how much it has been followed. Three seminaries have used it, and may still. I also do not remember how I first came to compile it, or who asked me to do so. It was submitted to a number of liturgiologists, including Dr. Gummey, Dr. Muller, Dr. Jones, and Bishop Frere. Unfortunately, the correspondence has disappeared.
At ordination we solemnly promise to conform to "the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America." This is much like the English promise "to use this Book and none other", for we do not intend "to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine, discipline, and worship; or further than local circumstances require." To substitute any other book, no matter how excellent that book may be, is a grave breach of Catholic discipline. The bishop's jus liturgicum is limited in "Concerning the Service of the Church": he can set forth little as the normal use of this Church. He has no authority to allow any of the unauthorized, privately-compiled "Missals" to remain on our altars. No liturgical commission anywhere in the Anglican Communion would recommend any one of these "Missals" for day by day, Sunday by Sunday, use.
It is an amazing fact that, except for some Roman Catholic publications, there is no detailed guide for the Celebration of the Holy Communion in print in the United States today. Yet there is certainly a great need for one on Anglican principles, as may be seen in the confused way in which some of our priests commonly celebrate.
I attempt in this book to bring together some of the traditions underlying the "Order for the Administration of the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion." The attempt is only to interpret the rubrics and traditions behind the service exactly as the service is printed in the Book of Common Prayer without additions, subtractions, juxtapositions, or the addition of a single word. It is a "Western Use." It is not Sarum, or Eastern, or Roman, or Gallican. It is an attempt to be "Anglican." Interest in preserving the integrity of the rite by making the ceremonial conform to the rubrics, and to the liturgical principles which underly them, seems to be much more widespread today. The new churches that are being built (in the way in which they provide for the architectural setting of worship) seem to emphasize this more than the Victorian Gothic ones to which most of us are accustomed. There is nothing more incongruous than the use of Roman ceremonial with a free-standing altar. This incongruity is as apparent in the Basilicas of Rome as it would be if used in St. James the Fisherman on Cape Cod. Roman ceremonial is Renaissance to the core. Prayer Book ceremonial should be neither mediaeval nor Renaissance. It should be exactly as the Prayer Book states: "Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish, Ceremonies or Rites of the Church ordained only be man's authority, so that all things be done to edifying." When this is recognized, we are on sound authority, and we can always give a reason for the faith that is within us. People are always saying the "Church says this and the Church says that", and generally the Church says nothing and leaves it to the underlying traditions of Prayer Book worship. "If the rite is wrong then the Church is wrong." That is a truism. We all need to be loyal to the underlying principles and traditions of the Book of Common Prayer.
1. Extended hands--the "orans" position. This is commonly used by the celebrant in saying prayers while standing. It should not be exaggerated, the elbows are held loosely to the sides, and the hands should be seen. The rule appears to be, extend while praying for the people, join while praying with them. The exception is the Prayer of Humble Access which is said with joined hands because the celebrant is kneeling. It is dreary in the text to-be continually saying, extend, join, but there seems to be no other way.
2. Reverences. These are of two or possibly three kinds. There is the simple bow at the Holy Name and to the altar. There is the profound bow at the Incarnatus clauses in the Nicene Creed, at the Sanctus, and after the Prayer of Consecration. Genuflection is sometimes substituted for the profound bow. This is the Renaissance gesture and is not reserved for the Eucharist in the Pian ceremonial of the Roman Use of 1570, but is also used as an act of respect to bishops, relics, empty altars, &c. No one particular act of reverence has ever been prescribed as an exclusive acknowledgment of the Eucharistic presence of our Lord. There have been many outward signs used, including, a slight bow of the head, profound bows, genuflections (genuflectio as found in ancient books means kneeling rather than the rapid dropping to one knee and immediately rising), kneelings, touchings, breathings, arrangement of fragments, putting the host to the eye, entombments, &c: There also have been no outward signs of reverence at all used and the concentration has been on the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving rather than on the real presence which is an incident amongst others in the sacrifice. The profound bow is more in accord with the best liturgical tradition. The bow to the altar is always directed to the altar, never to the cross. There should be no bow when passing from side to side. The less authoritative Canons of 1640 suggest reverence at "coming in and going out of said churches, chancels or chapels." This is sensible, and, if observed, would do away with much fussiness.
3. The Sign of the Cross. This gesture, sometimes, used as a seal, sometimes in conferring absolution and blessing, sometimes to recall the passion, may be used and is used. Until the revision of 1928, the Baptismal service declared that "the Church knoweth no worthy scruple" for its omission. The Canons of 1604 also prescribed its use in Holy Baptism and defended it against Puritan prejudice. The solemnity of the use is lessened by too frequent employment. The word "may" is used in the text, and the wise words of 1549 still have force: "As touching kneeling, crossing, holding up of hands, knocking upon the breast, and other gestures: they may be used or left as every man's devotion serveth him without blame." In 1549 the use of the sign of the cross was limited officially to the Invocation in the Eucharist and the Exorcism in Holy Baptism. Since 1552 the Sign of the Cross has only been officially prescribed in the reception into the Church in Holy Baptism. Since 1890 the Scottish Church has allowed its use in Confirmation. To use it only in the Invocation, and possibly at the Absolution and Blessing would add to its impressiveness and go a long way toward avoiding fussiness.
4. The Silk Chalice Veil. There is little or no authority for this veil so commonly used. It was never used in England before the Reformation, and is not included in the "Ornaments Rubric." It also, was never used after the Reformation until the late Victorian era. Its origin is obscure and it may have developed from the Sudary used by the Clerk in handling the sacred vessels. It is much better to omit it and to have the unveiled chalice and paten on the credence table before the service begins. A veiled chalice, according to the Prayer Book, is one containing the consecrated species, as the rubric on page 83 of the Prayer Book shows.
5. The Stiff Pall so commonly used is a development of the Palla Corporalis, the "fair linen cloth" of the rubric on page 83. It was introduced in the late Victorian era, and is unnecessary. We do not have the elaborate coverings and uncoverings of the Latin Rite. The unfolded second corporal is the pall and should be so used, as a cover for the chalice from the time of the offertory to the beginning of the Prayer of Consecration, when it is removed at the ordering of the Bread and Wine. The chalice should not be covered again until after the Communion of the people when this second corporal or pall should be unfolded and used as a veil over the consecrated species.
6. The Chalice, Paten, and Burse should be on the credence table before the service begins. The pro-Anaphora and the Anaphora, the Missa Catechumenorum and the Missa Fidelium, are two distinct services. Nothing pertaining to the Anaphora should be on the altar until the Offertory.
7. Cautions. Care should be taken never to walk sideways from the midst to the book. The turn to the people is from the right. Never back down the steps. Observe the punctuation marks.
The priest, preceded by the server, and any other assistants, goes to the altar the shortest way. All bow to the altar. The celebrant ascends the steps, goes to the book and opens it to the Collect of the Day. He goes back to the midst, and, with extended hands, and no "let us pray", says the Collect for Purity. The introductory Lord's Prayer may be omitted to avoid duplication, and because it should come as the climax after the Prayer of Consecration rather than at the beginning of the Liturgy. He turns and recites the Summary of the Law with joined hands, turns back and leads in the three-fold Kyrie. On one Sunday in the month the Decalogue should be said according to the rubric. The custom of saying both the Commandments and the Summary of the Law seems to be obsolete. The Collect for Grace to keep the Commandments may be said after the recitation of the Decalogue, though it had better be omitted at other times.
After the Kyrie (or Collect for Grace), the celebrant turns from the midst, or from the book, and there is ample authority for both, extends his hands, and says "The Lord be with you." He walks to the book or turns back to it as the people respond. He then says "let us pray", facing the book, and reads the Collect or Collects of the Day with extended hands. He bows his head slightly at the holy Name.
"The minister appointed" then reads the Epistle. This may be the celebrant, another priest, a deacon, or a lay reader. Whoever reads should turn and face the people. It is unseemly, and unliturgi-cal, to read the Epistle with the back to the congregation. The celebrant would read from the top step at the Epistle end; and other reader from the pavement, at the entrance to the choir, or even from his place in the congregation. Care should be taken in announcing the Epistle. Other portions of Scripture appointed "for the Epistle" are announced as the Epistle. The cumbersome phrase, "The portion of Scripture appointed for the Epistle", a sop to the Puritans at the time of the Savoy Conference, disappeared at our last revision. All in the sanctuary and congregation except the reader should sit while the Epistle is being read. This would include the celebrant, if another reads, and he should go the shortest way to the sedilia after the Collect.
"The minister appointed" shall then read the Gospel. This may be the celebrant, another priest, or a deacon. If a deacon assists he should always read the Gospel. If another reads, the celebrant may stand at the sedilia, or go back to the altar, either to the midst or to the Epistle end, and face the book. If the celebrant reads, he goes to the Gospel end, takes up the book, and faces the people. He may sign the book and himself as he announces the holy Gospel. Another minister may read from the Gospel end, on the pavement, at the entrance to the choir, or from the pulpit, always facing the people. "Glory be to thee, O Lord" is a response and should not be led by the reader, nor should there be any turning toward the cross. All reverences at the time of the Gospel are toward the Gospel book itself as representing our Lord himself speaking to his people. At the end of the Gospel there is a congregational response, "Praise be to thee, O Christ." Care should be taken in announcing the Gospel, and the word "Gospel" should not be repeated. "The holy Gospel is written in the second chapter of St. Matthew, beginning at the thirteenth verse."
The hands are extended in invitation to the people to join with the celebrant in the recitation of the symbol at "I believe in one God" and then joined for the rest of the belief. A bow is made at the holy Name. A reverence of some sort is common at the Incarnatus clauses. Possibly the best would be from "And was incarnate" through "and was buried." This was the use of the Diocese of London. In Sarum there were four inclinations, at "was incarnate", "was made man", "was crucified", and "the life of the world to come." These were rather fussy, the other is the better and includes the whole life of humiliation, rather than just the birth. The Nicene Creed is, however, a triumphant hymn of praise, and possibly the best use of all would be to stand upright for it as is done in the Eastern Uses. There is little authority for a bow at "worshipped and glorified." At the end in Sarum and Westminster, a bow is directed. In the Use of Lincoln, the sign of the cross is directed. In German Use, the sign of the cross was made at the mention of the crucifixion. The sign of the cross is sometimes used as a seal, and it could be used as such at the end of the creed.
The Creed may be omitted if a Creed has been said in Morning Prayer immediately before. The Apostle's Creed may be substituted for the Nicene except on certain days. This substitution seems to be obsolete.
These should be said after the Creed. Great care should be taken that they do not become a set form added to the Liturgy every Sunday. The prayers from Family Prayer are good for what they are intended. They are sentimental and have become hackneyed by constant repetition in a place where their use was not contemplated. The "Bidding of the Bedes" is a time honored-custom. Biddings to prayer are better than set prayers. We are still in the pro-Anaphora so these prayers may be for those who are not technically "of the faithful." The congregation should be instructed to stand for these, whether prayers or biddings to prayer.
"Then followeth the sermon." This is sometimes called the "indicative" rubric. It is not ordering a sermon at every celebration of the Holy Communion, but stating that this is the place when there is a sermon. The rubric was changed in 1928 from "Then shall follow the sermon" to the present tense. Occasionally, a short sermon is preached at a plain celebration of the Eucharist, but it takes a genius to say anything in a few sentences, and few are geniuses. This may be done from the altar, the entrance to the choir, or from the pulpit. It should be most informal and would require neither inscription nor ascription.
The Offertory Sentence should be said at the altar, either facing east or west. The Sarum Missal simply says, "Item sacerdos ad altare dicat." The sentence should be varied, e.g., "While we have time" could be used in Advent, "Lay not up" in Lent, "Not everyone" after Trinity, "Thine, O Lord" (not necessarily a presentation sentence) on great feasts. A sentence should be said whether there is a collection or not.
The order for the presentation of the alms and oblations is quite clear in the rubric. The meaning of the word "oblations" was settled in our revision of 1928 to refer to the bread and wine. The word was inserted in 1661, and may have been intended to refer to the bread and wine as an integral part of the offertory, or to "other devotions of the people." "Alms" would refer to money for poor relief, and "oblations" to money offerings for the support of the Church or to special gifts, such as a new chalice. We often reverse the order of presentation, and the Prayer Book is right and we are wrong. Offerings in kind were made in ancient liturgy and the bread and wine were taken from this offering for the Eucharistic oblation, or sometimes the bread and wine were brought up separately after the other offerings for the clergy, the poor, and others. We seldom have offerings in kind today, but we do have the equivalent in money, and the Prayer Book order of "present and place" for the alms, and "offer and place" for the oblations should be respected. Luther, who said, "Away with that abomination called the offertory", would not have been pleased with this important rubric restored in 1928.
There are many places for the preparation of the elements. There is the long service of the Prothesis in the Eastern liturgies. They were sometimes prepared between the Epistle and Gospel in Sarum and other mediaeval uses (especially at high mass). The Caroline Divines often prepared them just before the Prayer of Consecration. The Roman use prepares the bread in the sacristy before the service and mixes the chalice at the time of the offertory. In places inspired by the Liturgical Movement, the elements are often brought up from the back of the church, especially at a sung service. Bishop Seabury found two traditions in the Scottish Church, before the service and at the time of the offertory, and he introduced the second of these into Connecticut. In Ordo Romanus Primus the bread and wine were selected from the current offerings. In 1549, 'then shall the minister take so much bread and wine" at the offertory. We are on sure grounds when we follow Ordo Romanus Primus, 1549, and Bishop Seabury and prepare the elements at the time of the offertory. The priest's wafer, if used, should be in the bread box along with the people's wafers. The symbolism of the "one bread" is ruined even more when, after the Roman custom, it is on the paten before the service begins.
After the Offertory Sentence, the celebrant will receive the burse from the server, remove the two corporals, and spread the first in the center of the altar, making sure that it does not hang down over the front. The burse will be put down in some convenient place, possibly flat on the altar on the Epistle side toward the back. The second corporal, still folded--the "palla corporalis", the "fair linen cloth" of the rubric on page 83 of the Prayer Book--should be laid on it until needed to cover the chalice, folded as the pall, unfolded as a veil after the communion. He will then go to the credence and the server will pour water over his fingers for the Lavabo. He will then take sufficient breads from the bread box, and put them along with the priest's wafer on the paten or in some other comely vessel (a ciborium) if there are many communicants. He will then pour sufficient wine in the chalice and dilute it with water. With our modern heady altar wines, it could be one-third water and two-thirds wine. The water need not be blessed. The blessing of the water is a bit of mediaevalism, the wine was consecrated, the water was not, so it had to be blessed. He may, however, follow Ordo Romanus Primus and pour the water in the form of a cross. The paten is placed on the top of the chalice so that both may be offered as one act. He goes back to the altar, carrying the purificator with him. He turns, receives the alms, and presents them with a slight elevation, saying nothing, and places them to the right of the corporal, where they remain until after the Prayer for the Church. He then offers the oblations by elevating them to the height of his breast, saying nothing. He places the elements on the Holy Table; the chalice on the back third of the corporal and the paten on the middle third. The chalice is covered with the second corporal, still folded, and the paten with the front third of the corporal. Any other vessels containing elements for consecration should be on the back third of the corporal. He is now ready to begin the Prayer for the Church.
THE PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH
Special intercessions may be asked before this prayer, but they should be in the form of biddings to prayer rather than prayers. Strictly speaking, such biddings in this part of the service should only be for the faithful, i.e., the baptised, and not for all sorts and conditions of men. The Prayer for the Church is a part of the offertory, and contains the verbal offering of the alms and oblations. To interpolate prayers of offering, including "All things come of thee, O Lord", destroys the massive dignity of our use.
The celebrant turns to the people, extending and joining his hands, as he bids them join with him in this prayer, of, for, and by the faithful. He turns back to the altar, not completing the circle. The old rule is "reversus ad altare." The prayer is said with extended hands. The left hand may be dropped to the altar, and one sign of the cross made over the elements at "oblations." The punctuation should be duly observed, and a slight pause made after each paragraph, but there should be no noticeable pause at "trouble, sorrow, need, &c." The hands are joined for the conclusion.
THE PREPARATION OF THE COMMUNICANTS
The short exhortation is said with joined hands, facing the people. The priest turns back to the altar, kneels, and, with joined hands leads in the confession. The capital letters are intended as markers to keep the congregation and priest together. He stands and faces the people for the absolution, and may make the sign of the cross over them as he says, "pardon and deliver." The hands are rejoined and kept joined for the comfortable words. The pronunciation of the word "travail" seems to be a stumbling block. The accent should be on the first syllable and the diphthong "ai" is weak.
THE EUCHARISTIC PRAYER
The Sursum Corda is the introduction to the Prayer of Consecration. It is said facing the people. "Lift up your hearts" is said with extended hands, and they are joined at "Let us give thanks". The celebrant turns back to the altar and says the Preface with extended hands. They are joined as he bows profoundly for the Sanctus.
The Benedictus qui venit is no part of our rite, and presents a liturgical problem. The use was forbidden at the time of our last revision for sound reasons. A paraphrase of the first Hosanna remains attached to the Sanctus as "Glory be to thee, O Lord most high". The Prayer of Consecration takes its cue from this "glory", and "All glory be to thee", knits the Sanctus and Prayer of Consecration together. That is good liturgics.
The interpretation of the ceremonial of the Prayer of Consecration appears to be vexed, but the vexation is more apparent than real. The directions are simple. There is a rubric before the prayer about the ordering of the bread and wine. There are rubrics about mimetic acts in the margin. There are two titles, "the Oblation" and "the Invocation", also in the margin. These last two, along with the "Let us give thanks" in the Preface to the Prayer of Consecration, contain the ideas found in all Prayers of Consecration, including the Roman where the "Supplices te rogamus" is now treated as a relic of a more full Invocation. "Eucharistica" in the Preface, "Anaphora" in the Oblation, "Epiclesis" in the Invocation are the three important words in the classic form of the Liturgy.
Some accept the late mediaeval theory of consecration by the Words of Institution; others accept the need of a definite Invocation of the Holy Spirit; others that a definite Eucharistic Prayer, with or without the Words of Institution, with or without an Invocation, is necessary; but all agree that the prayers must clearly ask the Father that the elements may be so blessed that they may be unto us the Body and Blood of Christ, and that he may accept our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.
The least tenable position is that the Words of Institution are the form of the consecration. Our Lord's consecratory prayer, his Eucharistic Prayer, has not been preserved. "When he had given thanks" would imply the blessing of the name of God over the elements. That was the common Hebrew blessing at table, where bread was broken with some such formula as, "Blessed by thy name, O God, King of the universe, who dost bring forth bread for the sustenance of man". The words, "Take, eat, this is my body" were not his words of consecration, but his words of administration. There is no liturgy in use in any part of Christendom calling itself "catholic" that, in the official text, in the words of the rite, makes the consecration depend on the Words of Institution. Remove the rubrics, the ceremonial directions, and the capital letters, and read the prayers, including the Gregorian Canon, in plain literal language and you will find that all consider the consecration to end with St. Paul's great Eucharistic Amen.
The essence of good ceremonial is simplicity. Details should not be multiplied beyond necessity, and that is good scholastic philosophy. The ceremonial of the Roman Missal of 1570 is not mediaeval but Renaissance. No single aspect of the truth should be allowed to obscure any other part. Any Eucharistic Prayer is credal in form; it is the work of the Father, consummated by the Son, and applied through the agency of the Holy Spirit.
The celebrant uncovers the chalice and paten and any other vessels containing bread and wine to be consecrated. He then raises his hands to the normal prayer attitude, orans position, above and beyond the shoulders, but not exaggerated or in modum crucis. He joins them and bows at the holy Name, and re-extends them. He continues until he comes to the explanatory section, a sort of interpolated lesson, giving the Dominical reason for this strange service. There should be no change of voice, position, attitude, or interpretation. At "he took bread", the paten is taken into the hands, raised slightly and replaced; at "he brake it", the large wafer is broken in two or more fragments; at "this is my body", the right hand (left hand resting on the corporal) is laid lightly on the paten and any other vessel containing bread. The hands are placed on the corporal for "Do this in remembrance of me." At, "he took the cup", the chalice is taken in the hands, raised slightly and replaced; at "this is my blood", the left hand is used to steady the chalice as the right hand is laid on the chalice and any other vessel containing wine. The hands are placed on the corporal for "do this, as oft as ye shall drink it in remembrance of me". There should be no pauses, elevations, or reverences. He continues, "Wherefore, O Lord and heavenly Father" with hands extended in the orans position. At the Oblation, following non-Juror custom, introduced by them from Eastern sources, and brought to Connecticut by Bishop Seabury from the Scottish Church, he may elevate the paten in his right hand and the chalice in his left to the height of his breast to give ceremonial meaning to "these thy holy gifts which we now offer unto thee." Before the Invocation, he may bow profoundly, following universal Invocation ceremonial, and during it may make two signs of the cross over the elements at "bless and sanctify", following Cranmer, who was so often right, and his suggestion in the Invocation of 1549. The hands may be spread over the elements, palms down, for the rest of the Invocation. There should be no pause or reverence after the Invocation. He may cross himself at "filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction", and also lightly strike the breast at "And although we are unworthy." The hands are extended for the rest of the prayer, and joined for the conclusion. The people respond with their "Amen", and the consecration is complete. The celebrant may now make a profound reverence.
He stands upright and says, without turning, the introduction to the Lord's Prayer with joined hands, extending them in invitation at "Our Father", and rejoining them. After this he kneels, and with joined hands, says the Prayer of Humble Access. He then stands, as directed by the General Convention of 1832, receives the Holy Communion standing, and he may make a profound reverence after reception in both kinds.
THE COMMUNION OF THE PEOPLE
The celebrant turns and offers the Sacrament to the people. He then goes to the Epistle end of the rail and puts the consecrated wafer into the hands of the people as he says the words of administration. He may, if there are few communicants, say the whole form for each, or he may say the first half to one and the second half to the next, or he may divide the sentence into parts as he goes along the rail. He will be followed by the one who administers the chalice, if there be one, or he may have to return to the altar, get the chalice and administer it himself. The sentence of administration of the chalice may be used as above. The line should be kept moving, and each communicant should go back to his place after he has heard the whole form of administration.
Communion by intinction has been authorized by the General Convention, but no rubric was put in the Prayer Book as to method. The normal Prayer Book method is to administer each kind separately. There are many ways of administering by intinction. The communicant may keep the wafer in his hand, the one administering the chalice may take it, dip it lightly in the chalice, and place it between the lips of the communicant, or the communicant may dip himself. The normal Prayer Book way is the better way, and the one most likely to survive.
After all have communicated, the chalice and paten are returned to the altar. The celebrant makes his reverence, and veils the remains of the consecrated elements with the palla corporalis, the second corporal, which is the fair linen cloth of the rubric. He then proceeds to the thanksgiving, remaining in the midst of the altar.
The post-communion section of our Liturgy consists of the Prayer of Thanksgiving and the Gloria in excelsis or other hymn. The Prayer of Thanksgiving has been a fixed post-communion since 1549, possibly suggested by a private prayer of the celebrant in the Sarurn Missal. There is no turn for "Let us pray", and the prayer is said with extended hands in the midst, and they are joined for the conclusion.
The Gloria in excelsis has been a part of the thanksgiving since 1552. It should be said on all Sundays (apart from Advent, pre-Lent, and Lent), feasts, in Eastertide, and greater octaves. Nothing is gained by the substitution of a metrical hymn, and the constant repetition of "O Saving Victim" is banal to the extreme. In Advent, pre-Lent, Lent, and on ordinary week-days the Gloria Patri, a metrical doxology, or a hymn may be substituted for this great "private psalm." There are two hymns in the Hymnal, both of which come from similar places in older liturgies, "From glory to glory advancing", #492, and "Strengthen for service, Lord", #201, that seem more fitting than most of the Eucharistic hymns.
The Gloria in excelsis is said in the midst. The hands are extended in invitation at the opening words and joined for the rest.
There is little authority, if any, for a last collect ordinarily, and such collect should never be spoken of as a post-communion. A post-communion collect is a prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of holy communion or one about the fruits of the sacrifice in the soul. Both of these ideas are taken care of in our fixed prayer of thanksgiving. Intercessory prayer should be after the Creed. The prayer in the Ordination Rites is a "super populi", and not a post-communion. We have none, and we should let the Liturgy end as it is intended to end.
One of the great strokes of genius found in the Book of Common Prayer is our dismissal. The pen was boldly drawn through "Ite missa est", and the peace was added to the blessing that was commonly being added to the liturgy at that time. It is said facing the people, the hands joined for the first part, and the left lying lightly on the breast, and the right hand raised at "the blessing of", and the sign of the cross may be made over the people. There is no great authority in ancient liturgy for this, but it is the common practice today.
THE DISPOSAL OF THE REMAINS OF THE CONSECRATED SPECIES
There is not one word in the Book of Common Prayer about the ablutions. However, rubrical directions and the English language cannot be more accurate than the directions for the disposal of the consecrated elements. The rubric on page 83 states, "When all have communicated, the priest shall return to the Lord's Table, and reverently place upon it what remaineth of the consecrated elements, covering the same with a fair linen cloth." The rubric on page 84 states, "And if any of the consecrated Bread and Wine remain after the communion, it shall not be carried out of the Church; but the minister and other communicants shall, immediately after the Blessing, reverently eat and drink the same." They first appeared in 1637, and were inserted in the Book of 1662. They have nothing whatsoever to do with reservation or Eucharistic adoration. The Book of Common Prayer is a part of the Constitution and Canons of this Church. Positive rubrics have the force of Canon Law. Anything in Liturgy or Canon Law that has 300 years behind it is not to be passed over lightly.
The custom of cleansing the chalice immediately after the communion of the people apparently grew up in the time when no one except the priest communicated, and there was nothing remaining. Ordo Romanus Primus directs that the sacrifice shall remain upon the altar from the time of the first offering until after the dismissal of the people. The Eastern Uses have various prayers, hymns, and psalms to be said after the communion of the people and before the consumption of the remains of the Eucharist. Our rubrics appear to point to the more ancient, logical, and "catholic" custom.
After the blessing, the priest will turn back to the altar, uncover the chalice and paten, make his reverence, and consume what remains, calling upon others to help him if necessary. He will then make the ceremonial cleansings of the vessels.
a. (Roman) The server will pour in a little wine which the celebrant will consume. Then a little wine and water will be poured over his fingers which he will consume.
b. (Sarum) This is as above with the addition of a third ablution of water only.
c. (Probably the best). The server will pour considerable water into the chalice over the priest's fingers which he will consume.
The priest will then wipe the chalice with the purificator and assemble the vessels as they were at the beginning. The two corporals will be folded and replaced in the burse. On the chalice will be the purificator, the paten, and the burse. The vessels will either be returned to the credence table, or the celebrant may carry them out with him.
He goes to the foot of the altar, bows with the server, and goes back to the sacristy the shortest way.