Eucharist

Jesus said to them,
“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.
John 6:35

The Lord Jesus, on the night before he suffered on the cross, shared one last meal with his disciples. During this meal our Savior instituted the sacrament of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages and to entrust to the Church, his Spouse, a memorial of his death and resurrection.

As the Gospel of Matthew tells us:  While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mt 26:26-28; cf. Mk 14:22-24, Lk 22:17-20, 1 Cor 11:23-25)

Recalling these words of Jesus, the Catholic Church professes that, in the celebration of the Eucharist, bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the instrumentality of the priest.  Jesus gives himself to us in the Eucharist as spiritual nourishment because he loves us.

Living the abundant life Jesus came to give us, is receiving the Eucharist with the knowing of the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  Receive the Eucharist sharing in the gift and the sacrifice made for us.  Receive the Eucharist and allow it to lead us to the life God has called us to live.  We have the opportunity to receive the Eucharist at daily Mass, take that step to be closer to Jesus.

Eucharist or Holy Communion?

You may hear the Eucharist referred to by different names and each name evokes certain aspects of what the Eucharist is.  A deeper explanation can be found in the Catechism at CCC 1328-1332.  In brief, we reference Eucharist here because it associates the action of “be thankful to God” and Communion because it is when we “unite ourselves to Christ”.

When we receive the Eucharist knowing that Jesus is now in you in the fullest of communion and you are in communion with your faith community.

Preparing for the sacrament of First Holy Communion/Eucharist?

The Sacrament of First Holy Communion/Eucharist is available to any baptized person who participates in the Catholic faith or is part of becoming a catholic.  The journey to Eucharist can begin as young as 3rd grade, if the student is baptized and has participated in Reconciliation (Confession with a priest) but is not restricted to a certain age group.  The time for preparing can be 1-2 years depending on current participation in the catholic faith.  As part of the Restored Order  process, St. Bernadette’s curriculum teaches about both Confirmation and Eucharist in order for the student to receive both Sacraments at the same ceremony.  Please see our Learn page for more information on classes.

How do I receive Holy Communion/Eucharist at Mass?

Image of two people in prayer

Recommendation as we prepare for Communion:

 

To receive such great a gift, each person should be have fasted for at least one hour.  Immediately before Communion, saying a short prayer helps you prepare for this gift.   An example:

Dear Lord, may I receive you in this Communion
With open arms,
And a loving, contrite heart,
So that I may be filled with Your grace,
For my good and Your glory! Amen

Receiving Communion:

Image of a couple receiving communion

In the United States, the body of Bishops determined that Communion should be received standing, and that a bow is the act of reverence made by those receiving. These norms may require some adjustment on the part of those who have been used to other practices, however the significance of unity in posture and gesture as a symbol of our unity as members of the one body of Christ should be the governing factor in our own actions.

At St. Bernadette, we approach the altar to receive the Body and Blood of Christ.  As we approach the minister with the hosts, the minister presents the Body of Christ and states “the Body of Christ” we give a slight bow, respond with “Amen” and receive either by opening both hands with one placed on top of the other to receive the host or open our mouth and stick out our tongue to receive host.   We then can approach the minister with the chalice, the minister presents the chalice and states “the Blood of Christ”, we give a slight bow and respond with “Amen”, take the cup, take a taste of the blood and return the cup to the minister.

After Receiving Communion:

Take a few moments in silent prayer of Thanksgiving.

As St. Cyril of Alexandria once wrote:
“The Eucharist heals the maladies of the soul.   It strengthens it against temptation.”
And the more often you receive Communion lovingly and reverently, the more good Jesus can do in your soul!

LEARN MORE

In the Restored Order, Eucharist is the final sacrament of Initiation as it was the third mystery revealed to us in Jesus life.

As God has given us the gift of his sacrifice so that we may have an abundant life, he asks us to receive this gift often so that we may chose that abundant life.

Learn More
BustedHalo.com’s fantastic introduction to the Sacraments series. Join Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP, as he explains the do’s and don’ts and rights and wrongs of receiving Communion…

Questions About the Eucharist?

Pic of Michelle Bauer - Director of Religious Education

Michelle Bauer

Director of Religious Education

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