A post on this blog that has received a lot of traffic and generated a lot of contacts from readers is the one I wrote on PYX PROBLEMS a little over a year ago. Many good people had already noticed some of the problems I highlighted and shared my concerns; others have been enlightened by what I shared and have updated their own practices.
In this regard, I want to encourage pastors to take up a collection of pyxes in their parishes. Given the ease of acquiring pyxes nowadays from any religious catalog or store, as well as the way that many parishes hand them out to anyone who wants to bring Holy Communion to the sick (often with little to no instruction on how to do it), it is certain that in many if not most parishes, several people have pyxes at home.
This means that many people have pyxes at home which have not been purified. Those visible particles that remain are the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ! Thus, these people are effectively reserving the Blessed Sacrament in their home unawares! And this, of course, is not permitted.
Pastors can try to address this problem and improve the general situation by making an appeal to parishioners to bring any and all pyxes that they have at home back to church as soon as possible to be purified. (Be sure to say: Do not open the pyx, simply bring it closed and as-is and Father will take care of it!)
In the case of pyxes that have push buttons, spring actions, and other little crevices where particles can become lodged (see my prior post), I recommend soaking them in a container of water for at least a week, carefully pouring that water down the sacrarium, giving everything (including the container) another rinse into the sacrarium, then letting everything air dry. This will likely render those pyxes unusable (which is fine – they shouldn’t have been used to begin with, being of inferior design) and then they can be buried. The same fate should await those with plastic linings (be sure to soak etc. then bury). In short, this is a good opportunity to take some problematic pyxes out of circulation. It is also a good opportunity to educate people about this important topic, since the integrity of the Holy Eucharist (and therefore, of souls!) is at stake.
Those who have a well-designed pyx and who are not willing to surrender it can then at least have it purified and receive instruction about the proper use of it in the future.
Fathers, if you have people who regularly help you bring communion to the sick, you should instruct them to bring their pyx regularly for purification. It says right in the ritual for visiting the sick that the purification is done after Holy Communion is given. Yet so many never have their pyxes purified. When I can’t purify my pyx right away, I put it in the tabernacle.
We really have a catch-22 situation right now: lay people can use pyxes and bring holy communion to people who need it, but lay people are not permitted to purify sacred vessels; meanwhile, many priests have not thought this through and taken concrete steps to remedy it. One hopes that some day, something will be done to address all of this… Until then, hopefully we can at least improve the situation somewhat.
O Sacrament most holy! O Sacrament divine! All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine!