The liturgical life of the Church revolves around the sacraments, with the Eucharist at the center (National Directory for Catechesis, #35). At Mass, we are fed by the Word and nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ. We believe that the Risen Jesus is truly and substantially present in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is not a sign or symbol of Jesus; rather we receive Jesus himself in and through the Eucharistic species. The priest, through the power of his ordination and the action of the Holy Spirit, transforms the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus. This is call transubstantiation.
By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity. (CCC 1413)
The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. (CCC 1324)
The New Covenant
I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever;…Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and…remains in me and I in him. (John 6:51, 54, 56)
In the gospels we read that the Eucharist was instituted at the Last Supper. This is the fulfillment of the covenants in the Hebrew Scriptures. In the Last Supper narratives, Jesus took, broke and gave bread and wine to his disciples. In the blessing of the cup of wine, Jesus calls it “the blood of the covenant” (Matthew and Mark) and the “new covenant in my blood” (Luke).
This reminds us of the blood ritual with which the covenant was ratified at Sinai (Ex 24) -- the sprinkled the blood of sacrificed animals united God and Israel in one relationship, so now the shed blood of Jesus on the cross is the bond of union between new covenant partners -- God the Father, Jesus and the Christian Church. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, all the baptized are in relationship with God.
The Catechism teaches that all Catholics who have received their First Holy Communion are welcome to receive Eucharist at Mass unless sin a state of mortal sin.
Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance. (CCC 1415)
The Church warmly recommends that the faithful receive Holy Communion when they participate in the celebration of the Eucharist; she obliges them to do so at least once a year. (CCC 1417)
Receiving the Eucharist changes us. It signifies and effects the unity of the community and serves to strengthen the Body of Christ.
Understanding the Mass
The central act of worship in the Catholic Church is the Mass. It is in the liturgy that the saving death and resurrection of Jesus once for all is made present again in all its fullness and promise – and we are privileged to share in His Body and Blood, fulfilling his command as we proclaim his death and resurrection until He comes again. It is in the liturgy that our communal prayers unite us into the Body of Christ. It is in the liturgy that we most fully live out our Christian faith.
The liturgical celebration is divided into two parts: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. First we hear the Word of God proclaimed in the scriptures and respond by singing God’s own Word in the Psalm. Next that Word is broken open in the homily. We respond by professing our faith publicly. Our communal prayers are offered for all the living and the dead in the Creed. Along with the Presider, we offer in our own way, the gifts of bread and wine and are given a share in the Body and Blood of the Lord, broken and poured out for us. We receive the Eucharist, Christ’s real and true presence, and we renew our commitment to Jesus. Finally, we are sent forth to proclaim the Good News!
Communion Policies & Procedures
The following policies and procedures were put in place on January 3, 2015 with regards to Communion to the Homebound, Hospitals and Care Facilities as well as to the Gluten Intolerant.
COMMUNION TO THE HOMEBOUND, HOSPITALS AND CARE FACILITIES
In carrying this Blessed Sacrament to hospitals, care facilities, and to those homebound, we are commissioned by guidelines defined by church authorities to reverently present Christ for the spiritual well-being of Catholics facing limitations.
These guidelines are closely defined in order to avoid potential abuses. With this in mind, homebound ministers of the Eucharist with a pyx will not receive consecrated hosts during mass for the purpose of taking those hosts to the homebound. Those commissioned and desiring to carry communion to the homebound will meet in the parish chapel following mass to document their communion call and receive their needed consecrated hosts through a designated sacristan or their representative.
Why are we doing this?
- To better document and track the sacramental and spiritual needs of our brothers and sisters who cannot attend mass.
- To allow the opportunity of other sacraments such Anointing of the Sick and Confession to be celebrated by the priests of our parish with these documented Catholics.
- To assure that only properly trained Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist are visiting and distributing Holy Communion to the homebound or Catholics in adult care facilities.
- To identify and expand our sacramental ministry to include those Catholics who are not being served because of mobility concerns through better tracking and accountability.
- To stop potential abuses of the sacred hosts by persons either through ignorance or by specific intent.
If you have any questions concerning these changes, please contact the parish office.
COMMUNION FOR THE GLUTEN INTOLERANT
There is an option of receiving the consecrated host for those who currently abstain because of sensitivities to gluten. This host only will have a trace of gluten (.01%) in order for these breads to be considered valid for purposes of communion. Please visit the US Catholic Bishops website to find out more information on the Church’s response and requirements concerning gluten intolerance and liturgical norms.
This low gluten alternative will only be offered at the communion station which the priest presider occupies (directly in front of the altar). Please orient yourself near this station in preparing to receive communion; as you approach the priest during communion, very briefly tell him of your desire for the low gluten host.
If you have further questions, contact the parish office at 989-732-5448.