Pope Francis: Communion can be received as preferred, in the mouth or where permitted, the hand

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'The smallest ones, the smallest ones.'

Normally, when the weekly Audience takes place in the square, the pope always tries to entertain the children present by offering them a ride in popemobile.

There was an intense excitement in the square this particular Wednesday, perhaps because of the arrival of spring. The pope at least took it that way.

'Today is the first day of spring. Happy spring! But what happens in the spring? Plants blossom, trees flourish. Yet, can a tree or a plant that has had its roots cut or has no roots flourish?'

The pope thus began his weekly catechesis. It was a lesson that was occasionally hampered by wind gusts.

Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the Mass, this time focusing on communion.

'Every time we receive communion we are more like Jesus; we are transformed more in Jesus. Because when you receive the Eucharist, you become the Body of Christ. This is beautiful, it's very beautiful.'

He also recalled measures that exist during the Mass in order to receive the Eucharist with respect and prudence.

'According to ecclesial practice, the faithful approach the Eucharist in procession, as we have said, and receives it standing with devotion, or on his knees, as the Episcopal Conference has established, receiving the sacrament in his mouth or, where allowed, in the hand, as preferred.'

Finally, the pope announced his participation in an expected trip to Ireland for the other great world meeting of Catholics, after that of World Youth Day.

'On the occasion of the next World Meeting of Families, I intend to go to Dublin from August 25 to 26 this year. I thank the civil authorities, the bishops, the Bishop of Dublin, and all those who are collaborating to prepare for this trip. Thank you.'

In fact, the official icon for the World Meeting was present during the Audience. It displays the Holy Family and was delivered to the pope during the audience.

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