Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music adds fish to Eucharist for trial use

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The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has officially released a supplement to the Eucharistic rite, approved for trial use beginning on Easter Sunday, 2017. The supplement allows for the addition of fish to the usual Eucharistic elements of bread and wine.

 

“Jesus clearly intended not only to break bread with his disciples, but also to give them fish,” says a representative of the Commission. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus reveals himself to two disciples in the breaking of the bread and then immediately confirms his bodily resurrection to all of his disciples by consuming some broiled fish.

 

In John’s gospel, the Biblical description of a fish breakfast with his disciples echoes the wording of our Eucharistic prayers: “Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish” (John 21:13). Since most congregations celebrate the Sunday Eucharist in the morning, the Eucharist should recall not only the Last Supper but also this First Breakfast.

 

Congregations may wish to use fish during particular seasons of the church year, or on special feast days. The use of fish in Jesus’ post-resurrection meals makes fish an especially appropriate addition to the Eucharist during the Easter season.

 

In developing the precise words for the new additions to the Eucharistic prayer, members of the Commission relied on documents from the medieval and early church, where available. Scholars drew extensively on a complete eleventh-century Latin rite for blessing fish:

 

And after his resurrection, Jesus was seated with his disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and he took bread and fish, broke them, and gave them to his disciples, and he said, “This is my fish, consumed in the flesh. Do this in remembrance of me.”

 

The Commission has also released guidelines for dealing with the practical matters of introducing fish into the Eucharist. In trial liturgies, members of the Commission observed that tuna chunks held together more firmly than some other types of fish.

 

Locally-raised or -caught catfish are an ideal choice for some parts of the United States. In all cases, congregations will want to consider guidelines for purchasing sustainable seafood. The Episcopal Church hopes to develop a supply chain for liturgically-appropriate fish very soon.

 

Members of church altar guilds should be prepared to remove fish oil stains from the altar linens very quickly. Finally, the Commission strongly recommends censing the altar immediately after setting the table for the Eucharist in order to reduce any distracting fish odors.

 


 

Reported by Lora Walsh

Image: Archbishop’s Chapel, Ravenna, public domain

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Eric Bonetti
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Eric Bonetti

I'm all for incense!

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George Nagle
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George Nagle

Our rector is going on sabbatical, and in her absence I would like to introduce fish to the Eucharist. She is careful to have both male and female participants in the liturgy so in loyalty to her it's important that I include both male and female fish. Unfortunately I don't know how to tell the difference. I wonder if there are any fish venders who sell by sex. If so, it would simplify the work of the altar guild.

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Seán O'Dubhtaigh (Eire)
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Seán O'Dubhtaigh (Eire)

Westminster Standards: "The sins forbidden by the third commandment are....any way perverting the word or any part of it to profane jests..."

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Gloria Price
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Gloria Price

Was caught on this hook yesterday. What fun.

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Pierre Whalon
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In France, an April Fool's prank is called "un poisson d'avril ". An April fish! This is literally one...

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Ruth arnold
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Ruth arnold

You went phishing and I got caught! I actually was upset enough to send the article to one of my priests who was only too happy to laugh at my guppybility!

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Roberta
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Roberta

[Roberta: please add your last name as per our guidelines. Thanks for commenting. Editor]

I have visions of altar guild mutinies! Happy April 1st.

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Gloria Rousseau
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Gloria Rousseau

Who will throw the first stone? You will be glad to hear I have reached my limit of comments.

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Howard Titus
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Howard Titus

Perhaps a nice shrimp scampi served over properly prepared Eucharistic linguine in place of the wafers would be good. Serve everyone a plate which they may carry out with them to coffee hour.

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AM Pace
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AM Pace

Goldfish crackers would kill two birds with one stone.

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Gloria
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Gloria

[Gloria - thanks for commenting - please add your last name next time as per our guidelines. Editor]

I have long been of the opinion that our sacred meal was far less than Jesus intended. Jesus fed 5000 with only two fish....so this really should not present a significant problem for most of our churches.

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Bindy Snyder
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Bindy Snyder

Time to study Polycarp

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Elizabeth Wrona
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Elizabeth Wrona

Poisson d'avril!

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Christine Gilson
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Christine Gilson

This is liturgical reform of the highest odor. I have informed my congregation of this addition, and have promised to give sterling fish forks to all the baptized.

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Father Anthony C. Dinoto
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Father Anthony C. Dinoto

Before it dawned on me that this was obviously an April Fools post, I was already to start CARPING about the revisionists who are destroying the Church! Ha ha!

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Leslie Marshall
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Leslie Marshall

Gefilte Fish! <

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Suzy McCall
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Suzy McCall

Our children.will opt for sardines with hot sauce!

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Alan Christensen
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Alan Christensen

I'd think monkfish would be preferred in monastic communities.

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Mary O'Sullivan
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Mary O'Sullivan

Except the pizza fish will leave a definite smell and once taken in the hand, will leave a stain on any cloth that it touches!!

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Anthony Christiansen
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Anthony Christiansen

I made it halfway through, a cacophany of "no"s bouncing across my scull, before realizing it was April 1. Good one! 🙂

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sarash swart
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sarash swart

And censing the altar would not work for me! I have a chemical poisoning reaction and can't be near it! Could result in a coma!

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Ernest Heard
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Ernest Heard

I have it on good authority that God will sanction the use of Gold Fish crackers to use in the Eucharist. This would solve the problem for anyone who has a fish allergy while also solving the problem of a fishy smell or a communion cloth getting soiled. 🙂

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Gerardo Romo +
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Gerardo Romo +

Yum!

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Chuck Kramer
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I suppose Goldfish crackers are not liturgically correct...

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Maxine Appleby
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Maxine Appleby

Time to get stronger incense

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Peggy Riethmiller
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Peggy Riethmiller

How about Pepperidge Farm Fish? : >

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Cynthia Katsarelis
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Dear People of God:

Yes, I fell for it, at first. My spouse is a medieval scholar and we've spent a lot of time looking at mosaics and manuscripts that include fish in the eucharist. One especially splendid one at St. Vitale in Ravenna (with Malchiesadek "doing" the Eucharist, prefiguring Christ).

Good one! Better than the organ one going missing from King's Chapel.

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Philip B. Spivey
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Philip B. Spivey

I must confess that I was 'hooked' for a moment, laughing uncontrollably until I began reading the comments. Then I realized that this was a fish tale and at that, I started to feel a little blue around the gills. Worry not, said I, I can be forgiven for having risen for the bait of this red herring.

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Jim Naughton
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Jim Naughton

Nicely done. A worthy addition to the Cafe's April 1 tradition.

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Joanne Hayes
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Joanne Hayes

April Fools, just for the halibut!

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Amy DuBois
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Amy DuBois

Excellent. Will be searching the church supply catalogs today for an appropriate vessel for the tartar sauce.

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Gay Cooper
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Gay Cooper

I don't think we need worry too much about sustainability as no more than 2 fish will be needed to feed each congregation - certainly for congregations numbering up to 5,000.

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Philip B. Spivey
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Philip B. Spivey

A fitting solution, at last!

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David O
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David O

[Welcome first time commenter. Note for the future - we ask for your first and last name. -eds.]

So how will we handle the reserved sacrament and eucharistic visitations?

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Gloria Rousseau
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Gloria Rousseau

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish solves all problems by combing the bread and the fish. Easily transported, windextor spoilage, and windextor cooking.

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Gloria Rousseau
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Gloria Rousseau

Excuse Windextor the genie in my spellcheck that changes all my nos to windextors.

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Paul Woodrum
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Finally, we being very English, some fish fried in a nice beer batter to go with those tasteless chips, all served up in the multi-page Sunday bulletin. There will be no longer be any excuse for using fair-linen-staining red rather than white wine. Will the rubrics specify high church vinegar or low church tarter sauce on the side?

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Jay Croft
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Jay Croft

Paul, it has to be malt vinegar for fish and chips. Served on old newspapers.

And none of this panko bread crumb foolishness. That's playing hanky-panky with the divine liturgy!

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Joe Tatnall
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Joe Tatnall

anchovy flatbread should fill the bill nicely

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Jeremy Bates
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Jeremy Bates

What about non-kosher fish?

Historically inappropriate?

Or do we take our piscine permission from Peter's vision of animals?

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James Pratt
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James Pratt

Is salt fish acceptable, or does it have to be fresh?
(important distinction in my former parish, where salt cod was a staple)

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Bob Henderson
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Bob Henderson

Me thinks "The Onion" has invaded The Episcopal Cafe

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Juliana Sadock Savino
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I say go interfaith with lox. Of course that means defending the liturgical significance of cream cheese (introduced at Sinai, lost at Galilee, alas).

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Jane Miller
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Jane Miller

Very funny! (I hope)!

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Michael Cudney
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I suggest getting the economy-size: http://www.walmart.com/ip/16940089?wmlspartner=wlpa&adid=22222222227009850870&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=40888999112&wl4=&wl5=pla&wl6=78818701592&veh=sem

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Joan Rasch
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Joan Rasch

Well, since wafers have been called "fish food", the least we could do is used fish *shaped* bread....

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Rayelenn
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Rayelenn

[Welcome first time commenter. Note for the future - we ask for your first and last name.]

Holy mackerel!

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jean
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jean

[Welcome first time commenter. Note for the future - we ask for your first and last name.]

How refreshing to know the "church " has a great sense of humor!

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Carolyn Cline
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Carolyn Cline

Please let it be an April Fools joke! I am highly allergic to fish and seafood; even when bread comes in contact with seafood I break into a rash and have trouble breathing. I am not alone in this.

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Rev Wendy Huber
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Rev Wendy Huber

Well since we are catch and release people... Flyfishing Eucharist will not include eating any fish. Kind of a fishy post for April 1......

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George Werner
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George Werner

You forgot the #1 argument:
ICHTHUS!!!!!!!

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Paul Walton
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Maybe clownfish?

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Pamela Behrens
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Pamela Behrens

Surely it will be Monkfish?!

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Brian Foster
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Brian Foster

There is so much madness in the CoE that I took this to be true. At first.

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Ted Thomas Martin
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Ted Thomas Martin

The place will smell lovely.

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David Allen
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David Allen

Poached or pan fried?

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James Mackay
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James Mackay

The piece of cod which passeth all understanding . . .

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Carolyn Cline
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Carolyn Cline

The single best response. How else do you deal with an April Fools prank than by a serial pun? Anyone have a cereal pun?

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JC Fisher
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JC Fisher

Points!

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Priscilla Ballou
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Priscilla Ballou

*groan*

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Elaine Breckenridge
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Elaine Breckenridge

Thank you for providing me with a wonderful opening for my Easter 3 sermon. Jesus asks, "Children, you have no fish, have you?" Wait for 2017. The SCLM will provide. Blessings abound. Thank you, Ann Fontaine for this fresh post.

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Lisa Fox
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Cynthia Katsarelis, kindly note this was posted on April 1. 🙂

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Simon Lomberg
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Simon Lomberg

I think Cynthia may be pranking you all. At least, I hope so.

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David Musser
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David Musser

Now this is pretty funny. Thanks for the good laugh!

Best Fishes,
David

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Bronwyn
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Bronwyn

April Fools?

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Cynthia Katsarelis
Member

There are people who have deadly allergies to fish. They can't even ingest food that has been on the same surface or used with the same utensils as fish.

I think it's cool. But there could be problems with it. It would be prudent to ask. People have died from this allergy.

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Cynthia Katsarelis
Member

Oops! It was an early April Fools!

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JC Fisher
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JC Fisher

NPR got me earlier today (re a reality show about "DIY Permits", where the participants have to cut through bureaucratic red-tape to make their home improvement possible), so you're not alone Cynthia. ;-p

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Lisa Fox
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Brilliant! Happy April 1!

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William Dunn
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William Dunn

Is this for real? Or are we being prepared for an April Fools surprise?

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Dave
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Dave

LOL ????

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Dave
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Dave

???? LOL

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Mike Feinerman
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Mike Feinerman

Something's fishy about this piece, that's for sure.

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Sewanee Scrapbook
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Sewanee Scrapbook

Happy April 1st!

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Paul Powers
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Paul Powers

Catfish are ok, but the most liturgical appropriate species is the poisson d'avril.

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dpouzts
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dpouzts

Good one. Happy April Fools' Day.

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